DC Non-Profit Trains People to Speak at DC Council Meetings

Posted: April 24, 2013 by thehomelesspage in Activism, Events, Government, Interviews, Organizations, Original Stories, People, Policy, Politics
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By Lauren Hodges

Elizabeth Falcon spent the past five weeks getting concerned citizens ready to testify at the DC Council. As campaign organizer for the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED), Falcon is responsible for leading the organization’s educational workshops and maintaining an informed community when it comes to housing issues.

“It’s very rewarding to watch these people become more and more comfortable and experienced in advocating for themselves,” says Falcon.

Every winter, CNHED runs the five week Housing Advocacy Training workshop to prep people for town hall meetings, council meetings and the like. “We start at the beginning with these folks,” says Falcon. “We teach them who are the key players in DC, who makes decisions, who is who’s boss, and all that.” The result is an educated crowd, with practiced questions directed at those who would best answer them.

But most importantly, says Falcon, the training teaches people how to tell their stories. For many, this is their chance to get active, talk about their experiences and put a human face on the policies being debated. “It’s very easy for politicians to get disconnected from the reality of these laws,” she says. “This way, the people affected by the policies can talk about how things are going for them, what needs to be addressed.”

The final week was organized through Bread for the City and planned to address Mayor Vincent Gray’s recent budget promise of $100 million for affordable housing. Falcon was pleased to report a regular attendance of 20-25 people each week. She feels it’s important for the community to hold politicians accountable. “Government needs to understand that people are watching them, that this is an educated electorate,” she says. “That is a crucial part of crafting legislation that works for the people.”

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  1. […] DC Non-Profit Trains People to Speak at DC Council Meetings […]

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