On Wednesday April 11th, I hopped on a bus to Baton Rouge, headed to the State Capitol for a day of networking, training, organizing, and lobbying with our coalition partners! I represented the New Orleans Abortion Fund and met with other interns & staff members of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Lift Louisiana, Women with a Vision, and others. I took a tour of the Capitol Building, learned about the Committee hearing process, had lunch, heard from different speakers of participating organizations regarding specific bills that were up for a vote or a hearing, including bills covering comprehensive sex education to HIV decriminalization, voting reform, LGBTQA+ rights, abortion restrictions, and many more. Finally we received a crash-course in lobbying, which covered how to use & fill out comment cards and how to get these cards to our senators and house representatives on the floor.
The day culminated in a mass movement towards the Capitol building where we filled out comment cards and requested face time with our local senators / house representatives using the information we had just learned. Although I just filled out a little yellow card with my opinion (urging my senator to oppose SB-181, a bill up for vote on Monday in the Senate which would ban abortion procedures after 15 weeks), I felt good knowing that I knew more about how to navigate the legislative process. I loved the “advocacy toolkit” (pictured) that we all received, which outlined a lot of the bills and highlighted a lot of the organizations that were present.
I look forward to finishing up these last few weeks with NOAF and graduating soon!! Thanks for following my journey 🙂