1. Washington Newsletter

Washington Newsletter: Growing and Deepening Our Lobbying Around the Country

September 30, 2019


FCNL constituents visited local congressional offices across the country this summer while Congress was home for the August recess. Working with staff from our Washington office, volunteers organized more than 129 lobby visits or in some cases just dropped by congressional offices.

They lobbied on the most pressing legislation that will come to a vote in the fall, including ending forever wars, requiring background checks for gun purchases, and supporting a price on carbon to address the climate emergency.

More than one-third of the people who lobbied this summer had never visited a congressional office as part of the FCNL community. FCNL volunteer lobbyists made three times as many lobby visits as the average for the previous three years.

The big lobbying push this summer is part of our work as a community to accomplish the ambitious goals set out in FCNL’s Five-Year Forward Plan. The plan sets goals for doubling the number of grassroots advocates we bring into congressional offices. It also aims to develop the structures and tools to deepen our individual relationships with members of Congress and their staff.

We do this work not to add numbers on paper but to increase the power of our Quaker-grounded advocacy in Congress. The Forward Plan notes, “FCNL’s relentless advocacy on Capitol Hill and in congressional districts throughout the country will strengthen constituent voices and offer a compelling narrative for peace and social justice, empowering civil dialogue for policy change by Congress.”

Judging from the stories of advocates, FCNL's approach works.

You can read more of this article, and the rest of the July-August Washington Newsletter, below.

Update Lobbying and Advocacy During Summer Recess 

FCNL constituents visited local congressional offices across the country this summer while Congress was home for the August recess. Working with staff from our Washington office, volunteers organized more than 129 lobby visits or in some cases just dropped by congressional offices.

Update With Grassroots Voices, Change Can Happen in Congress 

I got my first in-depth education on the Yemen crises at a panel featuring Shireen Al-Adiemi, a Yemeni activist and contributor to the magazine In These Times. Beyond the humanitarian catastrophe and the complex history of the Yemen war, Shireen’s description of Saudi Arabia’s use of Al-Qaeda fighters and Sudanese child soldiers in their war against the Houthi army really disturbed me.

Update Ten Young Fellows Join FCNL for 2019-2020 

Ten new college graduates recently joined FCNL staff as the 2019-2020 Young Fellows. During their fellowship, they will work as program assistants with FCNL staff to build their advocacy expertise.

Update Cultivating Young Social Justice Advocates 

Returning from the 10-day Washington Summer Intensive, FCNL’s 20 Advocacy Corps organizers knew they would be faced with the difficult task of advocating for legislation to end gun violence. But they didn’t know that within days the issue would tragically return to the front pages after a terrible round of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

Hoping to Heal a Wounded Nation 

Minute of Concern

Minutes are faithfully discerned messages that powerfully communicate concerns weighing heavily on the hearts and minds within the Meeting. Minutes can also help Friends convert faith into action with members of Congress. We encourage Friends to consider forwarding Meeting Minutes as advocacy tools, as we lift concerns for peace and justice. For more information, please visit fcnl.org/minutes. North Carolina Fellowship of Friends offers this prayer, read aloud during their August 10, 2019, gathering in Quaker Haven Camp, NC.

Update Directors Agree to New Management of William Penn House 

For more than 50 years, FCNL and William Penn House have worked to advance Quaker witness on Capitol Hill. After several months of discernment and worship, the boards of directors of both organizations agreed that the FCNL Education Fund would assume governance and management of William Penn House effective Sept. 1, 2019.

Background End This New Arms Race 

Question & Answer with DeAnne Butterfield

DeAnne Butterfield spent this summer as a Friend in Washington, a program where seasoned Friends share their experience. She is a member of FCNL’s General Committee and the Intermountain Yearly Meeting.