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Trauma-Informed Advocacy (CTIPP CAN Nov 2023)

How do we support a trauma-informed approach to advocacy? What are the most effective ways to engage, navigate, and build relationships with policymakers?

Our November CTIPP CAN call aimed to answer these questions and more to build trauma-informed advocacy efforts. We started the call by sharing our efforts to urge Congressional support for two bipartisan, bicameral bills that would significantly help prevent, address, and mitigate the negative impacts of trauma through community-based/led initiatives. And we concluded the call with an opportunity for folks to share their thoughts on how CTIPP can better support advocacy efforts in the future.



00:00:06 So welcome everyone to the November 2023 CTIPP CAN call where we are going to be focusing on trauma-informed advocacy talk, taking some time to advocate around the RISE from Trauma Act and Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act, and connecting with one another to learn from each other, share our experiences and discuss what we hope to see more or less of as we move forward and continue to build the trauma-informed movement together. Before we dive into the slides for the folks that were on here early, you already heard me say this, but you can access our Spotify playlist using the QR code on this slide. It's filled with lovely music that's been curated for the trauma-informed movement, and if there are any songs that you would like to suggest that we add, please send them to for consideration. Know that we don't include any songs with explicit language, but we love the code construction and the continued co-construction of this playlist together. For those who don't know me, my name is Jesse Kohler, and I have the privilege of serving as the executive director for the CTIPP.

CTIPP was founded in 2015 by a group of national leaders in the trauma-informed movement for two main reasons. One was that there was a lack of a comprehensive vision for what a truly trauma-informed society looks like. There was incredible work that was happening in a number of sectors to become more trauma-informed, as well as other work being done at the state and local level. But while there was some work and lots of theory going on, there failed to be sufficient macro level work, particularly at the federal level, to continue and coordinate and align systems toward a truly trauma-informed society. We know that trauma creates fragmentation, whether at an individual or systems level. So our organization came together to support the development of a working theory to heal trauma across micro, mezo, macro and primordial levels throughout our society in order to work toward and ultimately someday, hopefully achieve this vision. The other focal point in which our organization is rooted is that there was a missing advocacy voice for the movement at large early in CTIPP’s history when Dan Press, who, for those of you who don't know, is CTIPP’s late co-founder and really the main muscle behind our federal policy efforts, especially early in our history when we were unfunded, would advocate to members of Congress, and most of them had never heard of Aces. And to them, the concept of trauma didn't extend far beyond the physical trauma of, say, a car accident or the impacts of war. This narrow understanding impacted the types of policies that were being introduced and often failed to address the root causes of the problems our country faced and is still facing today. As we know, that patchwork policy is not going to turn the tide sufficiently toward a better future. Awareness of trauma as a root cause driver, as well as the need for trauma-informed, prevention oriented and healing centered approaches has certainly increased since then. However, there is still a massive need to improve investment and meaningful implementation of truly trauma-informed policies and practices. Be enabled. Thank you. Molly. Um. So while we must look back and celebrate the progress that has been made and continues to be made. For instance, you can look at our policy report from last year to see the growth in trauma-informed policy. And we're going to have a new report looking at policy that passed this year out by March of 2024. And we'll have a CTIPP call on that then. We must also recognize the need to continue growing the movement to prevent trauma and foster resilience and embed that within our systems. That is what we hope to facilitate and what our call will revolve around today. Just want to acknowledge everyone saying hi in the chat and hope that if you haven't done so, you please do share where it is that you're calling in from. It's so great to see folks from all over the country. The outline for today's call will begin with an introduction to integrating trauma-informed approaches into our advocacy, discussing and taking collective action on trauma-informed policy that has been introduced in the current Congress that we are working to advocate for, and diving further into core concepts about trauma-informed advocacy with videos from our Trauma-Informed Advocacy series, which you can find the full asynchronous series for free on our website. And then we will engage in breakouts for you all to connect with peers across the country promoting this work, as well as help us understand how we can continue to better support you all as we build this movement together. As we will discuss throughout this call, trauma-informed advocacy looks like doing with rather than just doing four. And as we continue to grow, though we may not have the capacity to do everything immediately, we want to be sure that we engage our network so we can be as planful as possible to meet the needs of the movement at large, and help to coordinate and support other organizations in doing the work to support grassroots activism and advocacy in places that we cannot. It is a core belief of mine that in transformative change and movement building, we need to be congruent with the model that we are working to promote in the world. In other words, we need to practice as we preach, so we will dive deeper into what it means to be trauma-informed advocates to those that we are advocating, to those we are advocating alongside and for and of course, ourselves, as this change will take time and we must take care of ourselves and others to support continued growth as we move forward in this advocacy process. CTIPP aims to play a key role in facilitating this change through society, co-creating and supporting a variety of advocacy strategies that bring about a more trauma-informed and healing centered society, and develop an infrastructure that connects national, state, and local efforts to facilitate work throughout the grassroots of this country. As we know that healing happens in the context of healthy relationships over time, and these connections most often take place in communities where people live, learn, work, and play. I was recently introduced to the Hero's Journey as a concept for structuring the story and purpose of an organization. In CTIPP, you all are the heroes in our pursuit to change policies and practices with the hope of transforming society for the better. Those who come to this movement, whether it's because of their direct lived experiences of trauma or secondary and vicarious experiences, or for many of us, like myself, a combination of them and contribute their voice to efforts to facilitate and propel change toward a better future. That is why CTIPP exists, and why we will continue to build upon the foundation of work to promote trauma-informed advocacy, cross-sector coalitions and education and resource development. These six principles from Sam's trauma-informed framework can help us align our efforts with a trauma-informed approach. We need to recognize that when we are advocating to politicians, their staff, business leaders, and other community members and potential partners in this work, they face a tremendous amount of stress. Knowing the power of parallel process. Remaining regulated in meetings will also support coregulation, which could help create openness and greater receptivity to those that we are advocating to. This does not mean that we don't hold them accountable to their constituencies, as that is the work of the position. We need to remain firm and open about our commitments to what we know would create a stronger society and promote healing, but meeting them where they are is a wonderful way to show the power of trauma-informed approaches as we mobilize to get there partnership in this work. Recognizing that you're meeting may be one of more than a dozen that they will have that day, taking time to build relationships and see how they are doing and remaining regulated throughout the meeting. While holding firm ground in our commitments are all ways that we can model the model in individual advocacy meetings. Following up asking what you can do to support them in following through on the on the things that have been discussed, continues to build a relationship and offers opportunities for collaboration. These strategies, along with many others described throughout the advocacy series developed by our wonderful colleague Whitney Maris and who is currently engaged in ongoing professional development this week. So couldn't be here, but otherwise she would be the one speaking with all of you today. Remote and integration that creates conditions of safety, trustworthiness and transparency. Peer support, collaboration and mutuality. Again, you will hear a bit more from Whitney about strategies for this meeting. For these meetings in a bit, from a segment of C Tip's trauma-informed advocacy series. Another key consideration that integrates trauma-informed approaches into our advocacy is how we collaborate and build partnership with other advocates. Advocacy alone can be isolating and can lead to burnout. Many advocates feel this way, so there is tremendous opportunity for connection and relationship building that can reduce these feelings of loneliness. But the intentional ways in which existing power structures work to promote division and disempowerment, to maintain the status quo can be undone through intentional work and partnership building. Partnering with others helps to build power as we are generally stronger together than we are apart. Engaging with people with diverse lived experiences helps to ensure that we are promoting strategies that are best for the variety of communities that the policies that we advocate for ultimately impact. In addition to enlivening the trauma-informed principles described above, this also helps to create conditions of empowerment and uplift voice and choice, as well as take into account cultural, historical and gender issues. We will also hear a segment from Whitney in our advocacy series around building power and momentum and engaging in anti-oppressive frameworks. In addition to the six principles on the screen which broadly describe trauma-informed approaches, cultural humility helps us recognize that different values are also critical to different communities and cultures. We live in a big and diverse country, so there are likely values that will also be integrated into different trauma-informed approaches in different areas. This is not an ending point. The questions on the screen help us consider ways to integrate trauma-informed practices into our advocacy work. And of course, we also recognize that in addition to integrating trauma-informed principles into our advocacy meetings and partnership development, we also need to take care of ourselves as advocates. Different people have different strategies for collective care and self care, and we encourage you to take care of yourselves through the advocacy process. To many folks in the trauma-informed movement are so generous that they may leave themselves in vulnerable positions. I know that I can be guilty of this myself. The passion that drives this is admirable, and we will continue to work on generating support at interpersonal and interpersonal levels to maintain our well-being throughout the process toward transformative change. Just a note this slide starts with heavy conversations about the current state of the world, but will lead toward hope of what our movement is working toward. We have needed trauma-informed approaches for a long time. This growing movement is gaining strength and has emerged because of unmet needs that have failed to be addressed otherwise. While this work has been necessary for longer than I have been alive, we need it now more than ever. Global conflicts leading widely to trauma, to traumatizing and that are traumatizing and terrifying in their own right are leading to increasing ostracism and oppression amongst various groups elsewhere in the world. Cascading extreme weather events and other climate related disasters have taken so many lives, destroyed so many communities and homes, and threatened to continue for the foreseeable future at least even if more sufficient action is taken. All the while, we are falling further into debt. At the current moment, we are nearing $34 trillion in national debt. Without a strategy to see our way out of this in the future. At the same time, in the United States and elsewhere, our two parties continue to become more divided, which can make it difficult to communicate across party lines. It's important to note here that the trauma-informed movement is one of only a few truly nonpartisan movements, as trauma impacts all communities, regardless of political preference. Right now, there is increasing rigidity and a nationalization of local politics. In the future, we will discuss these issues at greater length. But this increasing fragmentation and its rigidity are indicative of systemic trauma that continues to go unaddressed and be further inflamed. This all illustrates why our modeling the trauma-informed model in our efforts to achieve transformative change are necessary. We are bringing about healing that is otherwise not happening, and opening up opportunities for new ways of thinking, being and doing at all levels of our society. City believes and has believed for a long time that we need to focus national and state efforts on creating conditions of empowerment and safety so that communities can truly thrive. Localizing efforts while coordinating and aligning systems that sustain and support work to relieve the community fabric across our country is a more trauma-informed approach. True democracy is an antidote to trauma in that it relies on regulation, skills and being able to really listen to people from varying perspectives and value diverse lived experiences. It also integrates the lived experiences of people who have been impacted by systems to support the continued improvement of those systems, which both makes bioclimatic systems stronger and brings meaning to harmful life experiences, which is why advocacy itself is a tenant of healing centered engagement, working toward trauma-informed policies, engaging diverse lived experiences and cultural wisdom for community action and broader governments. Creating capacity and conditions for this to take place is not a fantasy. In fact, it has been proven to be some of the most effective policy that we have ever seen introduced. The work of Washington State's Family Policy Council from 1994 to 20 oh. I heard Molly. Thank you for the quick note in the chat. Can I get a quick thumbs up if that works better and the slides are no longer cut off on. My bad, everybody. I'm so sorry. We're all still learning how to do zoom, I suppose. Thank you so, so much. All right. Back to the slides. So like we said, these policies that embed true democracy, that create conditions at a community level are not are not a fantasy. We have seen them work. The work of Washington State's Family Policy Council from 1994 to 2011 has become known as self-healing Communities, made famous by a report out of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation highlighting its process and outcomes. They sustained community investment in several dozen communities across the state that opted into layered learning processes, driven by what they called general community capacity. Leadership expansion does not only refer to those who are traditionally seen as leaders, but recognizing that so many community members have the capacity and want to lead in a variety of ways. There were multiple outcomes that the state mandated a focus on, but the true focus was on addressing the common root causes among all of them, which boiled down in many ways to trauma in all of its forms. There were regular educational and networking opportunities that shared how stress and adversity impacted the human mind, body, and spirit. Strategies to remain regulated in ongoing work and learning. What was working from different communities. The ongoing focus to generate common strategies within communities, follow through as best as possible, and learn from what worked and what didn't work. Continue generating new ideas, action, and momentum, as opposed to traditional short-term grants that prescribe outcomes rather than processes, was transformative in systems thinking, positive outcomes are a result of a good process. While it took time to develop, Washington communities engaged in this work eventually saw the rates of multiple problematic outcomes fall around the same time and continue to improve for the duration of the initiative. Ultimately, as you can see by just some of the outcomes that were generated on the right side of the screen, the communities that opted into this work far outperformed those that did not, in a variety of categories in one county over the course of 10 to 15 years. These improvements included a 98% reduction in youth suicide and suicide attempts, a 62% decrease in birth to teen mothers, and a 43% reduction in infant mortality, a 53% reduction in youth arrest for violent crimes, and a 47% decrease in high school dropout rates. There were similar results seen in other counties and improvement in other areas as well. In addition to the improvements that we saw in social outcomes, there was a tremendous cost avoidance achieved by state systems. As a result of this work, more than $1 billion in cost avoidance was achieved over the life course of the initiative, which equates to greater than a 35 x return on investment. Additionally, if the initiative had expanded to 20, 25 or 30 years and beyond, when children born into these communities started to have children of their own, we would have expected to see even greater exponential return on investment as the intergenerational transmission of trauma itself reduced. This policy was not just trauma-informed because it used the word trauma. I don't know that it did at all. It's not enough to be trauma-informed, to just say the words trauma or trauma-informed. This policy, in fact, began years before the study was even published. Rather, the work of the Family Policy Council was trauma-informed because it was oriented around a trauma-informed process that created conditions of empowerment, voice and choice that supported safety for communities to explore and innovate new ways of thinking, being and doing was transparent and earned community trust over time, rather than simply demanding it. Recognize that different cultures and communities would do work differently based on their own histories and traditions, and supported collaboration and peer support throughout the process. CTIPP is a small organization today, so we don't have the capacity to lead on all the policy areas that we want to, and we hope that we are able to do more as we continue to grow, which we will discuss later in the breakout sessions as well as in next month's CTIPP CAN call. But the benefits of a holistic approach are why our capacity at a federal policy level is focused on initiatives that promote and support cross-sector, trauma-informed community coalitions. The two main pieces of legislation that have been introduced in this Congress that do this are the RISE from Trauma Act and the Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act. Section 101 of the RISE from Trauma Act, creates a new grant program that would fund cross-sector, trauma-informed community coalitions. There's an additional grant program to reduce hospital readmission rates. The bill also includes training for a variety of frontline service providers, such as educators and first responders, as well as reauthorize as elements of the Support Act of 2018 that have sunset after five years, such as the Inter-Agency Task Force on Trauma Informed Care, which for those who were at the CTIPP CAN call. Last month, you all heard about the work that they've done so far. The Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act creates a different grant program that supports community led coalitions in generating population level resilience through public health approaches to prepare for extreme weather events. As discussed earlier, extreme weather events are becoming more predictable and our government's approach to supporting communities around widely traumatizing events is overwhelmingly reactionary. Right now, the CMWRA would generate upstream approaches to generate capacity, including connections, resources and skills to get through and rebuild communities following disasters more effectively and efficiently, thereby further reducing harm than traditional efforts. And of course, we hope that there is not a widely traumatizing event that impacts a community. But these investments still better position these communities to deal with existing traumas. The QR code that you see on your screen will lead you to a blog post that includes easy ways to reach out to your senators and representatives about both of these bills, which you will see as orange buttons in the blog post, as well as a communications toolkit and other resources that support advocating for trauma-informed policies and generating work around cross-sector, trauma-informed community coalitions. I'll say that again in a bit, because we're going to move on to this slide, and this is going to be a main part of our CTIPP can call today. We are going to take five minutes together to call our federal legislative offices in support of these bills while we're on this call together. I know that this can be scary, but we are here together as a community of support. As discussed earlier, we are not alone in this work, and we hope that makes this process easier. For those of you who may be nervous about this, for those of you who prefer not to call, we totally understand that, and you can still take action on that blog post from the last slide, which Laura is going to put the link to in the chat again, where you can quickly and easily send messages to your members of Congress. In that blog post, there are the two orange buttons for easy action. One is for RISE and one is for CWMRA. For those who want, please feel free to call and send messages. You're welcome to do all of the possible advocacy opportunities in this, and we encourage you to share these opportunities with your networks as well, which you can do with the communications toolkit. You can find that communications toolkit in the same blog post under related below the main text. The toolkit is the first link and you will see other relevant links for you to explore there as well. We know that some folks are wary about the difference between lobbying and advocacy. So before we jump into calling our legislators, we just want to sort of pad that it is only considered lobbying if you actively ask someone to vote in a particular way. If you want to just educate a staffer or elected official about what a bill says, that would be considered advocacy. So if you're worried about lobbying for any reason, but would still like to call where the script says, I'm calling today to ask you to support the RISE From Trauma Act in the Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act. You can instead say, I am calling to inform you about the RISE from Trauma Act in the Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act, and that should ensure that this doesn't cross the line and you are just advocating for these bills. Also, as individuals, we generally don't have the restrictions on advocacy versus lobbying. We recognize that for some folks in our network, there may be contractual obligations that do restrict us. But these restrictions generally exist for certain organizations and are more around dollar allocation. Nonprofits, for instance, have lobbying restrictions where they cannot spend more than a certain amount of their budget on lobbying. This amount depends on the size of the organization. But for an organization like CTIPP with an operating budget under $500,000, this amount cannot exceed 20% of our annual budget or what is deemed a significant portion of the budget. So if you're worried about lobbying restrictions, you can also not mention your organization, which you'll see as an optional line in the script, and make this call while not on the clock, and reflect your time as a constituent rather than your as a as an employee of your organization, which I hope also helps to alleviate any anxiety around this. If you want to engage in this action, we don't want you to feel pressured to call if you don't want to. So no worries if you don't want to. Now you can send messages or share with the communication toolkit with your network. If you speak to a staff member, they may ask you to verify that you are a constituent with your address or zip code. Remember, their job is to represent their constituency, which is why we are working at CTIPP to build a grassroots network across every legislative district. Because you will be the strongest advocate for your own district or state offices. Also, remember that you may be speaking with someone who answers a tremendous number of phone calls every day. A likely outcome of this call is that they will take a note that a constituent called about the bills we discussed. They will do the same thing if you leave a voicemail. Both of these are very positive outcomes if you would like to. You can also ask to have a meeting with a legislative staff member. There's no pressure to do this, but you're welcome to ask this as well if you'd like. You will find these and other notes to support this outreach in the QR code on the screen, which Laura will also put a link to in the chat if that is easier for you to access. At the end of these five minutes. Regardless of whether you call, send a message, share with others or any or all of the above. We hope that you see that you can do this, that you are supported by a national network of advocates, and hopefully that it is perhaps easier and more exciting than you expected. We are grateful for everyone who uses this time to advocate in any way. When we come back together, we'll play the videos from our advocacy series, where Whitney will share more about the engagement pyramid. And at any level of engagement, know that you are helping to make a difference. We will start the five minutes in very, very shortly. Keep yourselves on mute during this time. Feel free to write done or anything of the sort in the chat when you are finished. And when we come back together, we will dive deeper into trauma-informed advocacy concepts. If the call takes longer than five minutes, feel free to keep engaging in your conversation. We'll be here when you get back and know that all can calls are recorded if your conversation does not take five minutes, we encourage you to read the blog post and associated links, or just take the additional time for self-care or anything else you want to. You either need or want to do right now. Okay, I'm going to go on mute now and make my call. I hope that you all do the same. Just want to recognize that a lot of people had some very wonderful comments in the chat as they got off the phone that, you know, they were they were grateful that the script was there. They had good positive responses. And again, if you had no response, that is okay as well. Again, those easy action links can be helpful. Very, very much appreciate all of your action around this. And so we'll go into the second half of the call. I was told that there was some form of like a sticky note or something that was blocking part of the screen. Is that still there or can you see the whole screen as well?

00:30:39 Yeah, we can see the screen is something that's. Or maybe it's a plant that's slightly there. Oh.

00:30:46 Gotcha. Is that better? Yeah. Perfect. Thank you. Mac. Yes, I do have a tiny tree. Not that anybody needs to know, but as our little brain break, it's my. It's my little tree bringing a little bit of greenery to D.C. that sits right behind the computer. So to the extent that that gets in the way of the script or call my sincere apologies, I think that I just did more harm than good by showing that. But our little brain break of the of the day was the introduction to Money Tree, who was growing very nicely. We hope that that brings continued monetary success to the entire trauma-informed movement as well. Which is which is why we put that there. But moving forward, again, thank you so much to everyone who participated in that activity. We greatly appreciate it. And again, believe that advocating in partnership with all of you, as we continue to build this movement is necessary to achieve policy and practice, change at every level, coordinate and align efforts and truly trauma-informed ways. And we promise to continue to work to create conditions of empowerment and generate resources that support you all as we continue to move and grow forward. Before we get into our activity for this, call for all of you to connect and share your advocacy experiences and share what you feel. CTIPP can do more of moving forward to better support the movement and or what things we are already doing well that you would like to see more of. We are going to take some time to watch a few clips from our trauma-informed advocacy series that support trauma-informed approaches to advocacy. After these four clips that will outline a few considerations around approaches and engagement, we will share the link to the full series, which is free on our website that you can watch to develop your own strategies, strengthen work around policy and advocacy, and hopefully help to increase confidence as we continue to grow this movement in the future. The first two videos are Whitney discussing different ways to bring trauma-informed approaches into our own advocacy practices.

00:33:02 So many resources about trauma-informed approaches. On a theoretical level, however, there's a lot of confusion as to what it entails in practical terms. Many people associate a trauma-informed approach with individual level or clinical work, yet that's only one part of the broader framework. So we hope to demystify what trauma-informed praxis may look like in the context of policy advocacy. On this slide, we've adopted a chart created by the Institute on Trauma and Trauma Informed Care, containing system and relationship dynamics that are often experienced as being retraumatizing. As we do our advocacy work, it's critical to remain attuned to these themes because it informs what we are looking for when we notice problems and devise solutions to propose. The fact of the matter, though, is that so many of us are brought to this work because of our own experiences with trauma and adversity. So paying attention to how these themes can also show up in the organizations and groups through which we advocate is vital. We each are accountable to ourselves and others for how we choose to respond, and modeling the model of being trauma-informed and trauma-responsive means that we intentionally act in ways that acknowledge the prevalence of trauma and seek to use that framework to avoid retraumatization. This slide provides information on how that actually happens. The core values and principles of a trauma-informed approach each serve a purpose in neutralizing the environment so we can, at the very least, not make things worse. When we interface with people, groups, organizations, and communities that have been impacted by trauma.

00:35:00 I hope that the sound was okay for all of you. Were you able? Wonderful. Very, very glad. So, building upon that last point in the pre. That's one I always get nervous with zoom and technology. So very, very glad that that is working well. So building upon the last point in the previous slide, we skip forward a bit in that same module to explore what the intersection between trauma-informed and anti-oppressive approaches look like.

00:35:29 Learning about oppression is a lifelong personal journey through which we can strive to learn about issues and perspectives we aren't aware of ourselves. We all have biases that we aren't necessarily always mindful of. Trauma arises not only as an experience of isolated violence, but also from compounding hardship, systemic oppression, discrimination, and significant hardships that people who've experienced trauma face. Understanding the intersections of these issues is tremendously important, and a part of being trauma-informed is acknowledging and seeking a deep understanding of the communities that you work with, including sociocultural and sociopolitical history, along with current context, intersections of oppression, and various forms of trauma, including cultural and historical trauma and other forms beyond interpersonal and individual experience. If you're able to do so, we invite you to offer support and express solidarity without colonizing your campaign. Although no population is immune to experiencing trauma, some types of trauma are disproportionately experienced by certain groups. Because of these deeply entrenched structural inequities that constrain agency, civic participation, and progress made to support those whose lives who have been impacted by trauma. In order for social justice to be achieved, it's vital that our institutions and our structures acknowledge the past and the impact of colonization, the ongoing intergenerational harm, the loss of cultural practices, the tokenistic approach to inclusion, the continued overrepresentation and the disproportionality related to systems involvement. Ideally, the advocacy work we all do together will fundamentally change communities and their structures nationwide, such that resources and power are more equitably distributed. This is a lens to look through for every single bill we advocate for or against.

00:37:46 And as we discussed before, we are stronger together. So this next segment is going to highlight strategies as we work to build grassroots momentum to promote a more trauma-informed society.

00:38:01 Really helpful to know that groups can do much more than one person. There are methods to tap into public awareness that grow power themselves by uniting you with like-minded partners with similar values and goals. Under these organizing frameworks, you save resources and demonstrate to the public and to policymakers alike that there's consensus on an issue. And policymakers, they like consensus. It helps them feel much more confident that they're receiving credible and complete information from experts when there are multiple people talking about a particular issue. A balanced perspective is an important piece of this. For example, if you wrote your legislator a letter, a local pediatrician wrote their own letter saying something similar, a parent wrote a similar letter and a community-based behavioral care provider also submitted similar letters. The sum is greater than the parts and it provides some political muscle. It greatly increases your chance of being heard along with broad public participation. Grassroots engagement as well as building coalitions are often dual strategies to tap into the larger network of advocates that are just essential to getting legislation passed. Let's first talk about grassroots organizing. Grassroots organizing invites community-based advocates to get deeply involved and provide a real pathway to become active, grassroots voices and leaders. Not only does engaging the community align with a trauma-informed approach, as mentioned in the Modeling the Model module, but involvement of the community surrounding the impacted individuals and families also generally tends to lead to the best outcomes. If you can engage people nationally across constituencies, wow, that can be really powerful. Grassroots groups generally are started from scratch and involve community members and stakeholders engaging in self organization to build power and take responsibility into action in their own communities. You may consider joining an existing grassroots movement around your issue to increase your power, and if there isn't one in your community, you might even think about launching one yourself. The aim of creating and mobilizing a grassroots base is to create a rapid groundswell that has the potential to spread the word about your issues among themselves and other like-minded folks. Likewise, grassroots advocates are anyone who'll take an action for you, donate to your cause, join your organization, volunteer, and so forth. While members of a grassroots network generally share a common interest in your organization and your issues, people will have different reasons for taking action. Still, big issues call for big action. So a big tent approach where diverse members are aligned in action toward a common solution, really can advance advocacy causes. Grassroots works great for educating lawmakers about a new issue and showing strength in numbers. It's also very helpful to show lawmakers that there's support for their districts. In particular, if, for example, a bill is introduced and your legislative priorities fit in, so you've set a goal to get more co-sponsors, you could send out a grassroots action alert to cover a lot of bipartisan ground across the entire country. This model that you see here is adapted from a group called Community Catalyst found in the references, and it provides a look at how different levels of engagement might show up in grassroots advocacy work. People move up from the bottom of this pyramid by first becoming aware of an issue, then coming to understand its importance and relevance to their lives, then deciding to participate in a campaign and only over time developing leadership status within that movement. This process may or may not be linear and everyone continues to move up the pyramid. Some people will find the spot that's comfortable for them based on their skills and strengths, and they'll stay there, which is absolutely okay. And their choice. There's no level of engagement here that we would say is quote unquote better than another, because a strong base needs, needs people at all levels of this pyramid for maximum impact. In short, awareness indicates that someone has knowledge of an issue or cause. Folks who are in the intersection understand the cause and are interested in learning more and perhaps participating someday, which is on the next level. And that indicates that someone contributes time, money, or social capital to the group. Commitment indicates that someone is fully invested in the mission and success of the organization or campaign. Finally, leadership implies that someone is a decision-maker or a thought leader and engages and leads others in the movement or in general.

00:43:18 And then the final segment that we'll share from our advocacy series for this call is one that walks through some strategies and tips while in a meeting with a lawmaker or staff member to promote an issue that is important to you.

00:43:35 Shares in their staff are incredibly busy, and it's important to know going in that they may need some flexibility when scheduling your meeting and your meeting could end up taking place in an office, in a hallway, for a walk in talk, or going into their next meeting as they're on their way in the hall. So it's always good to be prepared for the unexpected, and we offer some tips on this slide to help you ensure that your meeting runs smoothly, pretty much no matter where it ends up happening, when it ends up happening for how long it ends up happening. Things like being concise and respectful of your legislator's time. Just some really key considerations here and a great way to start. In general, even if you don't agree with your legislator on much of anything. By the way, when you're at the meeting is to start by thanking them for something they did recently that aligns with your advocacy work. And once you get past all of those sort of cordial formalities of meeting, this is where you get to tell your story. And we have a module on storytelling available to help you think about this, because telling stories really has been demonstrated to increase the impact of your advocacy efforts than if you were just using data. Right? And so listening carefully and actively and taking clues from the people with whom you are engaging and listening to can increase the quality of your conversation and potentially deepen your relationship with your legislator and their staff as well. Upholding honesty and transparency is perhaps the most critical part of this slide. I really want to lift that up. Essentially, don't lie if you don't know, because just like with anyone, trust is critical and it's built over time. And since trust is key, be sure you're presenting your evidence accurately using facts, and that if you don't know something, you say so and that you just commit to finding out and following up. Which you know, in fact, if I'm being honest here, not knowing in the moment can sometimes be a gift because it gives you an excuse to continue the dialog, right? And being able to consistently provide useful information to be an inroad, to be constantly here, I'd like to share this with you, or I'd like to follow up with you on this to your legislator and their staff. That can only be an asset to you as long as you're certainly not, you know, spamming them all of the time. Every single time something even more minute comes out. And as you build that relationship in that trust, with that trust comes more credibility and salience for the policymaker when it comes to your proposed policy solution. So all of that interaction, that trust, it really works in your favor to be upfront and honest about all sides of the issue and advocating for your solution in that context. And once you've told your story, you get to make your ask right. And so it's best when this is a specific action, rather that you're asking them to take. So to share with their two colleagues who chair the committee, they're on this information or potentially to file a bill integrating your policy solution. Those are really concrete asks and if your legislator says, yes, I'm willing to file a bill. First of all, that's fantastic. Congratulations. And second of all, ask how you can help. Do you need to reach out to other legislators to ask them to co-sponsor? Does the legislator need additional data to file the bill that you can help with? And just really continuing to stay engaged and presenting yourself or your group of advocates as that go to resource when it comes to this policy solution that gives you a lot of power.

00:47:27 Like I shared before, you can engage with this advocacy series on our website for free at any time. It was designed by Whitney as an asynchronous course, something that she is very skilled at and does in one of her other jobs as adjunct faculty at the University of Buffalo School of Social Work. And also there are corresponding activities with each advocacy workshop that will help you and others engage with with each of the lessons as you go through the series and build your own advocacy strategies, so you can use the QR code on the screen right now or the Bitly link to get there. The nine sessions, helpful together or individually depending on your needs, include an introduction to the series and to trauma-informed advocacy processes of policymaking and legislative action. Developing an agenda. Identifying and preparing to engage with targets, how to build power and momentum building and sustaining relationships with policymakers, storytelling for advocacy. Meeting the moment and modeling the model. You heard some snippets from a few of those workshops here today, but across these nine sessions, there's about four hours of total content. Each session is about 20 to 30 minutes. I know Whitney would have loved to be here today if she could have been, but she really does an amazing, an amazing job of breaking down the advocacy process in these videos. I have found it helpful to go through this series multiple times that have helped to develop strategies around different goals and outcomes, and also helpful for reflection as I move forward in actualizing the strategies we set out with. You saw the result of some of that on the call today. We hope that this series will be helpful to you and please share it with others. We will share more updates in next month. See tip can call, but we will continue to come out with more resources and supports to engage advocates across the country as we continue to work to build the movement. Now, for those who are willing and able to stay for breakouts, we want you to connect around two central themes. First, like we always say, we know that healing takes place in the context of healthy relationships over time. We certainly hope your advocacy experiences earlier on this call were enjoyable, but want to offer time and space for you all to debrief in smaller groups with one another. Second, we want to know your thoughts on ideas for what resources and supports you feel like you need to continue to build the movement. We want to acknowledge that our current capacity constraints make it hard to do a lot of things at once, but we are committed to building our own capacity, as well as facilitating capacity development for the movement at large, and want to get your input on ways you feel that we can be helpful. If ideas come to you after this call, know that we have forms on our website where you can offer feedback as time moves forward, as well as just emailing us if that's easier. One area that shows this ongoing commitment to your feedback is in the optional breakout sessions for the last half hour of the can calls themselves at first, earlier this year, we shorten the CTIPP CAN calls to an hour. When we heard that an hour and a half was just too long for many people, we know that zoom fatigue is also real. And then we made this adjustment when others said that they missed opportunities for connection with other activists and advocates. And so we included this optional half hour for those who wish to stay and connect longer. Very genuinely. We value your input for each group. While you're in the breakouts, please assign a note taker to report back on some key discussion points. When we come back together as a full group, we don't need to know the minutia of the discussion, as we want to hear key notes from each of the groups, but please have someone from each group who will be ready to share some of the key points that are discussed in your breakout rooms. Before we go into the breakout groups, we ask folks to remain mindful to these community agreements as we look to create conditions of empowerment and safety for all participants. Everyone has a right to participate as well as pass on any topic demonstration. Demonstrate mutual respect by actively listening to those who speak. Respect various perspectives, even if they differ from your own. Share the floor so everyone has a chance to participate. Engage with curiosity and compassion rather than judgment and shame. This process is about connecting with one another, not convincing others toward our way of thinking. Necessarily be inclusive in our language and how we take and make space for each other. Speak from our own experiences, engage in ongoing self-reflection and self-care. And as we have discussed throughout this presentation, do our best to model the model with one another. I'm going to go ahead and open up the zoom rooms. I'm going to need to reformat them. As we have seen very frequently in the last half hour of the can cause a lot of people drop off. And so I'm going to go ahead and recreate these rooms. So there should be, um, you know, 4 or 5 folks in each room. And we're going to have 15 minutes for these discussions. And we look forward to being back together before the end of the call. If you have any questions or concerns while you're in your breakout sessions, feel free to message us or come back to the main room. We're going to be here to support you as best as we can. I'm going to go ahead and open the breakout rooms now. For those who are just joining us, I hope you had a wonderful conversation. We were just talking about how ending breakout rooms on zoom is like the least trauma-informed thing in the world. Like, people are mid-sentence and you just snatch them away. There is there is not voice choice empowerment. It's just not a great process. But we really welcome you back. Now is the time for report outs and so want to hear from each group what you talked about a how the advocacy process was today. For those of you I know you were snatched. I'm so sorry Marisha. And to everybody how the advocacy process was today. What did that feel like if you want to share and then if you had any feedback to us as key tip things that we can continue to do that you think we're doing well, things that you would like to see more of in the future. We want to hear all of that. And so I know I don't know if folks assigned like folks to report out, but if someone from each breakout session wouldn't mind sharing, we really look forward to hearing from you. And if you want to. Oh, Andrea, please. I see her off mute.

00:54:46 Thank you. I'll just quickly. My partner in the breakout did not make it back. Think her internet. Oh, there she is. Kristen. So. Kristen. Hi. Welcome back. I'm so.

00:55:00 Sorry. My laptop died. I had to run and get my charger. I'm so sorry. Back.

00:55:07 That's all right. We was just going to report out for us briefly. Most. We spent most of our time getting to know each other. She's in Austin. I'm in Florida. We did compare a little bit of notes about. The political climate in both of our states. Uh, one of the things I wanted to ask you to think about, Jesse. And maybe this has been done, and I haven't been at Cannes for a while, so if you could tell me if I'm repeating. But. Those of us in fairly conservative states. Um. Are there some new advocacy tips, tools, practices that people organizations are starting to recommend? You know, we. I've been an advocate of health advocate for probably 30 years now, 35. So I've done a lot of advocacy work, but a lot of what you all shared is so important and so great. And we're finding. At the local level here, at least that some of those things aren't making a difference. Um, you know, building grassroots coalition very effective in the past. And my past work just ignored here at the local level. Um, so I just want to throw that out if there's something. And then, Kristen, you may have something to add about what we discussed. Don't want to hog the time.

00:56:56 To have a think. I guess for me it's being able to appeal, like she said, in a new way, knowing that perhaps the legislature's vested interests are elsewhere, but. Being able to appeal in a way that. Demonstrates the betterment of the entire community, not just as they may see asking for a handout or something like that. Do you know what I mean?

00:57:33 Yeah. Appreciate both of you sharing that. And that's so powerful and important. We saw the one funny chat comment, right when someone was listening to Whitney's piece about, I don't know what I can even thank my representative for, and there was some good content around. Well, you know, it might be around social media protections. There's probably something, but we know that not all districts are created equally. Right. And again, that growing political divide can be so challenging for us as advocates to initial thoughts. And then we will do more. And I want to hear from other groups as well. But appreciate this one is that we had Iowa Aces 361 to say was like December of 22, but there was a hand call where they presented out on a communications guide that they developed to better talk about these issues to their representatives. And Iowa is a more conservative state as well. And so that may be a helpful resource in Iowa. Aces 360 can even expand on that. Maybe we have them back on. And then the other thing that we'll be doing more work on. We traveled out to Iowa. Wendy was where Jared and I were, but we did a de-radicalization campaign session where we were, um, we are working on strategies around radicalizing the two polarized sides. And so we hope to be able to do more of that. And so appreciate that feedback. Again, needs some capacity to make sure that we're doing that in a thoughtful way, but will absolutely try to bring more of that content to the network at large. I know that I've already talked to Jared about doing a broader webinar, as well as doing more of those events, and so appreciate that feedback. Just wanted to give those two resources that might be helpful and something to look out for. So appreciate that very much. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Is there another breakout room sharing what you all discussed, what your thoughts are?

00:59:48 Okay, okay. Well, well, besides, Ashton and I doing a little bit of chatting about who we were, um, right on point with what Andrea and Christian were just talking about is, um, understanding that maybe our congressional representatives don't have an open mind to what we might want to propose, or they don't know and haven't chosen to learn more. And that may be an approach. Could be. Um, if you can't find something positive to say about what they did is to say, did you know we have this program in our area? And we would love to invite you to our organization to take to meet with your constituents and see what they're doing. I know when I live in Michigan now, but when I lived in Florida, we were blessed by having Senator Nelson, and he loved our area. And when I met at his office with National Council of Family Court judges days on the Hill, his folks listened. But then he sent people to our area to attend meetings. And if somebody isn't of your ilk, they may want an opportunity to take a picture or something in your group and maybe learn something, and at the same time you're getting some message across and this is what we're doing and this is why we need it. And as Ashton was pointing out, who doesn't think that the wellness of our community matters that are that your constituents should be concerned about health and wellness, and we can try that that approach particularly and move on from there as to the things that are that are going on. But everything you put in the to help us, guide us in making calls spot on. Thank you. And just keep doing these monthly meetings. We like them and the breakouts very helpful. Ashton, did I cover it? Okay.

01:01:39 So glad. Thank you both very much. Thank you, Chaplain James.

01:01:45 And it seems to be a lot of people from Iowa here. Uh, they know of the situation there. Uh, because, yeah, there was a person in our group. Um, and she talked about what was that Iowa 360 thing you talked about? And how well that it was doing and things like that. But one thing I saw that is, um, she feels that they need to be laws in effect, to do things right. And you know how I feel about that. I feel the people doing right first, then pushing the laws would be the best way to go. Because like laws will take forever to get in effect. What are you going to be doing while you're waiting for them to come into effect? You do the right thing starting now, and you begin and then inform the people. Then everyone start doing right. Then the laws will change. That's just such my personal insight into it.

01:03:00 Appreciate that, James. Yeah, like. Oh, Linda, did you have something to add on?

01:03:05 No, I was I was going to agree with what chaplain said. Because it does the we need the people. The people have to be a part of it before we can do anything else. And so we can move on that. But it's not that easy. And we're in my environment to pull those folks together.

01:03:24 Oh no, it's never easy. It's always difficult, but it's still must be done.

01:03:31 I know, I totally agree, I totally agree and see Wendy up is here. So Wendy, can you kind of speak to that?

01:03:42 Speak to what part of the. Yeah. Slowly.

01:03:45 Close together. Oh, folks. Together?

01:03:48 Yes. Pulling folks together. Well, the person who spoke about how the grassroot coalition used to seem to be helpful or good or, you know, would gain momentum and have some power, but now it feels like it's ignored. I did I heard that that made my heart hurt a little bit. I can relate to that. And I can also. Relate to feeling like the gap between what my community is doing and the standards that are the translation of the SAMHSa standards for a trauma-informed workplace or a trauma-informed culture environment are a long ways away. And if you have anything to say about that, Linda, you I'll let you chime in on that. Um, it feels like a lot of lip service is done, but genuine, um, lifting up of lived experience, you know, true diversity and not just tokenism. Uh. Feels like a long ways away.

01:04:51 That's yes, but that doesn't mean we're going to stop. We continue on, and we just can't envision different kind of ways of doing that.

01:04:59 True, right.

01:05:00 And people are going to be receptive to.

01:05:03 I'm glad you said that, Linda, because I'll say one more thing. It seems to me then, that grassroots coalition that we're going to try to do again.

01:05:11 Yes.

01:05:12 Okay.

01:05:14 It's for.

01:05:14 Self care. It's for us.

01:05:17 Yes.

01:05:18 As much as anything else.

01:05:20 Right? Yeah.

01:05:24 It's always helpful to be in a group. I know that I feel that each month when we have these calls, um, for folks, I am genuinely curious if these breakout rooms do help to create a greater sense of connection and just create those opportunities for engagement that at least reduce the amount of burnout as we continue to push toward transformative change. I see a lot of heads nodding. That's wonderful. Thank you. Thank you, Linda. Chaplain James Wendy, for sharing all of that. Are there other groups that want to report out? Yeah. Please, Sue.

01:06:00 Okay. Yeah. We had a group that a lot of us are advocating in different ways or learning about advocacy. One of the things that I'm doing and have permission to share from the young man, but he was labor trafficked. Missouri has 112 church based reform schools in southern, in the southern part of the state, and there's no oversight and he was labor trafficked. And basically we have been able to connect. We've been working with the FBI and the Division of Social Service in Missouri, hopefully to prosecute. And basically what we're getting is it's a parental rights state. And guess that means the parents had the right to labor traffic. And so we're hitting some roadblocks with that. We are working with the state House. One of the people that is there and hopefully is running for attorney general. But we're hitting a lot of roadblocks just because we're not finding that we can advocate. I've also got since then, my son asked me to take this young man in. I've had seven more and I've had five from other countries, and we've got a lot of young adults from other countries here on internships because their country doesn't have work, and just figuring out how they can get support as they're coming into our country with no credit history, with a salary that looks really big in their country and nothing when they get here. Um, or not a lot just to support them as they're coming in as well.

01:07:31 Really speaking to a lot of the complex needs that exist as we continue this advocacy work. Yeah, coming continuing to come up with supports and solutions and resources as you develop what is undoubtedly a very complex advocacy process is is certainly something that we hope to continue to do. Thank you for sharing. And for all the work that you shared that you're doing to thank you. Are there any other thoughts from the breakout rooms or things that anybody else wants to share before we wrap up for today?

01:08:17 Um.

01:08:19 Oh, I have one question. How often? How often is this like every month on the same time.

01:08:27 What a wonderful question, Linda.

01:08:29 The answer is yes. It is the third Wednesday of every month from 2 to 3, that same same zoom link. So you can use the same zoom link that you use to join today, next month, which I believe is December. 20th. I should have known that off the top of my head. Had to do a little bit of mental math there. But before we go, I just want to share the final slides for the good of the group. Again, we appreciate everyone. To Linda's question. So a wonderful transition. This is a QR code for the link to the next tip can call which will be about what? See a look back at what KTP has done, as well as a look forward at what we are planning to do, where we continue to hope to engage with your ideas about where we can grow. I can tell you that we'll share more during that call, but a lot of the things are in line with what was discussed today, so we're looking forward to that. We have a feedback form. Again, we value your input about how our calls are working, where we can continue to improve. Believe that being trauma-informed is a commitment to an ongoing process of learning and growth, and that inclusion and genuine inclusion from your all experiences are huge. We don't expect to be perfect, and we know that there is always room for improvement. So we love your feedback. And of course, we love positive feedback when it comes as well. So we'll end there. Don't hesitate to reach out to the email that you see there on your slide, I'm going to go ahead and stop the recording.


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