How Women of Vision Austin made Mother’s Day about more than mimosas
by Amanda Mootz, World Vision Advocacy Mobilization Specialist
A few women from Women of Vision in Austin, TX, recently took their advocacy to the next level by submitting an op-ed piece to their local paper, The Austin Statesman, which was published on May 9th, 2015.
A week prior to the op-ed, Fiona McNally, WoV Austin’s Advocacy Chair, and Debra Coe, joined with a small group of local advocates from other organizations to meet with their elected congressman, Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10), to ask for his leadership on forthcoming bipartisan legislation that will seek to reduce preventable maternal and child deaths for those living in extreme poverty around the globe.
They followed up their successful meeting by publicly thanking Rep. McCaul in their op-ed, educating their local community about the health challenges mothers and children face globally, and calling on other members of Congress in their area to also support the legislation.
While it may seem foreign to most of us, submitting an op-ed to your local paper is, in fact, an extremely effective form of advocacy. Members of Congress diligently track whenever their name appears in the paper, and will take note if you publicly thank them or ask them to support particular legislation. Beyond this, utilizing local media can not only increase awareness of your chapter – it can also educate your local community about global poverty concerns and cultivate other potential advocates who will, in turn, make your chapter’s advocacy more effective.
To increase their chances of being published, WoV Austin followed a few simple guidelines:
- Make it personal: They connected the topic of global maternal and child health to their own stories or losing children, which in turn helped readers to relate to the message as well.
- Make it relevant: They connected the topic to the Mother’s Day holiday, to peak reader interest and align their message with current conversations in the media.
- Make it a community effort: They collaborated with other organizations in their area who were actively advocating for similar concerns, amplifying their voice and making their advocacy more impactful.
Check out Debra Coe and Lora Williams’ beautifully-written op-ed piece here, and consider having a few ladies from your chapter write one this year to advocate for global maternal and child health. If you have questions about how to get started, check out our tips at http://beyond5.org/writing-an-op-ed, or email Amanda Mootz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Way to go, Women of Vision, Austin!