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Policy and Advocacy Committee Progress

By Delicia Hand and Frankie Robertson

Policy and Advocacy Committee Update

     This summer, in partnership with our 501c3 sister organization, Moms of Black Boys United, Inc., the Policy and Advocacy Committee of MOBB United for Social Change, Inc. (MUSC) has focused on outreach to congressional and state representatives. Revamping #MOBBUnitedGetInvolved, we reached out to and organized meetings with key stakeholders, congressional representatives in particular. We kicked off the initiative with outreach to members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). The objective of these meetings was to:

  • Introduce Moms of Black Boys United as a resource to members and their constituents.
  • Introduce MUSC as a new but critically important voice for moms of Black boys nationwide who want to secure policy changes to ensure that our sons thrive and survive.
  • Learn about policy makers’ legislative agendas and identify ways in which we can partner with them.

     Our meetings were a great success. We reached out to more than 20 CBC and congressional members; attended approximately 12 meetings and August recess town hall events; and had one meeting with a state legislative representative in a member’s home district. For MUSC’s first effort at congressional outreach, this indeed was a positive start to building our range and reputation as an organization. Our work resulted in many suggestions and opportunities for partnership, including discussions about partnering with Sen. Kamala Harris to provide support for a bail reform proposal.

     Pivoting from these meetings, a small delegation of members attended the CBC’s Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) in mid-September. As the country’s key policy conference on issues impacting Blacks in America and globally, participation in the ALC provided key learning, advocacy and networking opportunities. Founder Depelsha McGruder and MUSC members attended several sessions on criminal justice reform and Black boys and men, interacting with legislators, professors and organizational leaders. Sessions included:

  • The History of Policing Black America and its 13th Amendment Roots
  • Preventative Strategies for Black Youth in the Juvenile Justice System
  • Criminal Justice Reform: Making America Accountable for Black Lives
  • The Resistance: An Intersectional Strategy Session
  • Policing Black Men and Boys: Are the Odds Against Them?

     Depelsha also co-hosted the 'Taking it to the Screen' Short Film Screening and Panel Discussion on September 21st in partnership with the Social Cinema Project. With an audience of more than 90 attendees, the panel discussion covered media images, police/community relations, restorative justice and violence in our communities. The event, also a Woke Mom meetup, was held at Busboys and Poets Restaurant in D.C. MUSC thanks Ralph Scott of Social Cinema for the great partnership. Depelsha was pleased to meet and introduce Congressman Hank Johnson (D - GA) from her home district in GA, and she was excited to meet 15 local D.C. members of MUSC. Check out the press release from the event to learn more about the films and participants.

     The week was a powerful opportunity to get re-engaged, meet with policy makers and identify future partners for our important work.

     Moving forward, we plan to make the ALC one of our cornerstone events where we will have even greater presence. We also will seek organizational meetings with policymakers while we are there in Washington, D.C. For now, as Fall begins, MUSC’s Policy and Advocacy committee is planning for the 2018 legislative sessions and the 2018 midterm elections. Prior to the start of the legislative season, MUSC will develop a platform to guide the organization’s legislative advocacy work. The platform will outline key issues that MUSC will support in its state, local and federal campaigns. Having this platform will allow MUSC proactively to identify opportunities and policy initiatives that improve outcomes for our sons, and we will organize our campaigns in support of these initiatives. Currently, the committee is conducting research to develop the platform. Are you aware of policy initiatives that MUSC should or could support? Make sure your voice is reflected in our legislative platform by contacting us at [email protected].

     Since the 2018 midterm elections are approaching, this is the time to make sure you and your sons -- and all your eligible family members -- are registered to vote. Make sure you are aware of any elections in your communities. Educate yourself about local candidates. The Policy and Advocacy Committee soon will begin executing a plan to ensure that moms’ voices are present and accounted for in the upcoming elections. If you are interested in getting involved in our electoral advocacy work, email [email protected] for more information, and join our bi-weekly policy update calls Thursdays, 10pm ET.