Highlights From Graduate Tacoma Advocacy Day 2020

by GrAdTaComa

Over 25 Graduate Tacoma representatives spent the day in Olympia last week meeting with members of the Pierce County Delegation and state agencies. This was our first-ever advocacy day and the goals were simple; introduce the work of this partnership, learn about our delegation’s priorities and gain experience as new advocates. Representatives met with legislators and their staffs to discuss issues around investments in early learning, student homelessness, access to education, and workforce opportunities.

We were pleasantly surprised to hear that many legislators, including Rep. Melanie Morgan and Rep. Jake Fey, were not only familiar with our work but also passionate about the issues we have prioritized this session. Rep. Mike Pellicciotti shared a particular interest in education outcomes and investments for children ages 0-5.

Time and time again, legislators shared with us their support for education policies and wrap-around services like counseling and mental health support. We learned that they are strong advocates of data transparency and believe that to build a strong economy, we must prepare the next generation of our workforce.   

Thank you to our allied partners for meeting with legislators and advocating on behalf of our community. We are grateful for the privilege to have had such genuine and productive conversations that ensure success for Washington children throughout their educational career – and beyond – is not determined by their zip code, family income, race, or ethnicity. 

Advocacy at its best connects policy makers to evidence and the voices of those impacted in their districts. I was excited to join leaders from Tacoma at the capitol and see how much the work to connect local partners for shared advocacy results has blossomed.

Christian Motley | Senior Manager of Policy and Partnerships, StriveTogether

Participating in Advocacy Day was such a rich experience. The hill climb with our legislators was effective in sharing our successes and advocating for STEAM support. I highly recommend other partners join in future advocacy days!

Monique Valenzuela | Executive Director, Tacoma Youth Marine Foundation

It was an incredible privilege to share the experiences of children and families in Pierce County, when there are so many folks in our community who aren't able to take time out of their work day, find child care, or have the means of transportation to do so. While we want, and sometimes expect our elected leaders to be experts in all topic areas, they aren't, and can't be. Therefore, it is our role as organizations, individuals, colleagues, community members, parents, and partners to elevate the experiences and issues that are top of mind, and to be a resource for our leaders as they navigate a very important decision making process.

Rachel Haas | Project Child Success Manager, First 5 Fundamentals

The sense of accomplishment and agency I got through Advocacy Day is unlike anything I can get by following and obsessing over national politics through the news or social media. Going down to Olympia, getting an up close perspective, and advocating with colleagues really did make me feel like our collective voices matter.

Ben Mitchell | Project Manager, Foundation for Tacoma Students

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