In the winter of 2017, Dr. Katharine Hill began to facilitate casual but focused 1-hour conversations in peoples' homes and community spaces to help others figure out how to advocate effectively with their elected officials and make their voices heard. She walks through questions such as, "how do you figure out who represents you? how can you engage with them? how can you learn more about what they are doing? and, what are some good resources for advocacy?" She found that these small, intimate gatherings were an extremely effective way to help people make the move "from anger to advocacy," with concrete steps and "live" examples (such as making a group conference call to a legislator). Hill has been amazed at the community interest in this type of training; since January, she estimates she’s done 9 or 10 of these sessions that she now terms, "Use your voice: conversations for engaged citizenship."
In addition to personally hosting these community conversations, Dr. Hill has been actively sharing her expertise with others who are interested in creating similar dialogues in their own communities. On March 30 Hill, along with Dr. Lisa Kiesel and Dr. Sarah Ferguson, led a “Train-the-Trainer: Advocacy 101” session aimed at helping participants prepare to host these mini-salon sessions in their own communities. (Find some of their advocacy resources at: stthomas.edu/socialwork/advocacy)
Last spring, Dr. Hill took her message on the road and presented "Moving from anger to advocacy: concrete steps for making your voice heard (and not losing your mind)," to the Social Work Depatment at Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. She also presented, "Advocacy 101: Taking it Forward," to a senior seminar on environmental advocacy at Macalester College in St. Paul.