Inspiration & Impact in Olympia: Lobby Day!
by Bobby Kirl
On January 20th, I and members from the 6th Legislative District participated, alongside PJALS and Washington CAN members from many Eastern Washington Legislative Districts, in an exciting and highly effective lobby day in Olympia. Our PJALS delegation of 16 people was our largest to date! The atmosphere and mood of the delegation was more than this aspiring activist could have hoped for right from the start.
My first lobby day began with an inspirational rally. Several highly motivated organizers and activists shared heart-felt personal stories of their struggles and triumphs on important legislative issues like the Washington DREAM act–which has since been signed into law!– as well as increasing access to dental care, paid sick days for all workers and health care reform. The rally left the congregation with no doubt of the importance of the agenda. Shortly after that inspiration the entire group, nearly 200 strong, took to the streets for a multi-block march from the Capitol Theater all the way to the steps of the State Capital building.
It wasn’t long after the march that the 6th Legislative District delegation, led by Jackie Vaughn and myself, was face to face with Representative Parker in a rigid discussion on the Washington DREAM act and other important topics. The representative did his best to elude responsibility for his vote against the DREAM act and his lack of support for the important issues we presented, but the delegation kept the pressure on. In the end we left satisfied that he had gotten the firm message that we were ready and willing to hold legislators accountable for the legislative progress necessary to establish true unity and equality for every one of us who call Washington State our home.
Oh yeah… The Chief organizer of our delegation, Washington CAN’s Organizer Mariah McKay, was requested to attend an impromptu meeting with the Governor himself to talk policy for over 30 minutes. Spokane people power must have impressed someone in Olympia.