Some of my favorite things in this world are, in no particular order, grassroots organizing, feminism, and badass women. Getting the opportunity attend Platform’s convention, which strategically combines all three of those things, felt like a dream come true.
Unfortunately, I had to miss the first of three days, as I was scheduled to work (gotta love a side gig) but day two did not disappoint. We started the morning off with a bang and a presentation from multiple organizers in the District. We heard what their experiences in the grassroots are like and the work they do.
Next came a lobbying 101 crashcourse, where we learned the importance of following up and power posing (among some other useful tips).
And my fave, Melissa Harris Perry spoke. While this wasn’t the first time I’ve heard her speak, everything she says feels like a breath of fresh air. No one cuts through the bullshit like MHP. More than simply ‘telling it like it is,’ she brings nuance and humor to such heavy topics.
And then we broke out into our issue groups. There were six groups we could self-select to be a part of: ending racial profiling, immigration rights, ending gun violence, ending sexual violence, economic justice, and reproductive justice.
The intended goal of breaking into these groups was to come together and decide what issues within the issue we thought was most pressing to bring to the full delegatoin in the room. Then, we would take a vote to adopt our ideas into the Platform agenda to take to the Hill.
Though there were some technical snafus and a small breakdown in communication, this process is a fairly stunning one. I have been incredibly lucky to lobby frequently on the Hill, thanks in part to being in proximity to Congress, but I have never seen an organization do something quite like this.
Previously, an org would already have the agenda set for what we were going to advocate for. They had specific bills to support or language to adopt. There were one-pagers on the issues. And those lobbying had no say. And while I’ve never lobbyied for something I didn’t agree on, I’ve never had direct input in what was being asked.