AGM 2015 – Action and Advocacy – Saturday September 26, 2015

The day started with Geeta Desai, WG – USA Advocacy Convener, making a presentation on Globalization and our connection to the poorest people in the world. She spoke about the fact that in our global society, American issues are international issues and the solutions to these issues are necessarily domestic and international. She said that there is an urgent need for ordinary Americans like us, to engage in global citizenship and that global citizenship requires us to become meticulously knowledgeable about economic, social and political issues and to work with the citizens of other countries to look for equitable and fair resolutions.

The Advocacy Committee presented a workshop on Women, Peace and Security and the Art of Everyday Advocacy. The purpose of this workshop was two-fold: 1) To raise awareness about the urgent need for women to participate in all aspects of peace processes and foreign policy decisions here and around the world; 2) To use role playing and audience participation to discuss a blueprint for the practice of grassroots advocacy. Audience members interested in raising awareness with family and friends regarding the importance of women’s inclusion in peace talks, learned by example how to become informed about the issue, identify appropriate opportunities for broaching the subject, language skills for describing the issue, dissipating conversational tensions and driving home the point.

During the business meeting on Sunday, September 27, 2015, the membership voted to adopt the following four resolutions:

WG – USA resolves to research the issue of the backlog of untested rape kits in the USA and to devise a practical plan of action to involve members in addressing it.

WG- USA resolves to advocate to end the public sexual harassment of girls and women in India

WG – USA resolves to advocate for affordable post-secondary education that enables students to choose the option of a college education, successfully complete their education and beyond graduation become economically independent on a sustaining basis

WG- USA resolves that members urge the United States government to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

After dinner, Julie Arostegui, a human rights lawyer and a gender and security advisor spoke about her experiences in engendering women’s rights across three continents. Her presentation was titled “Postcards from the Edge of the World: the Fall and Rise of Women’s Rights in Africa, Asia and Latin America”

The WG-USA Advocacy Theater Players

Four friends, who haven’t seen each other for a while, meet for lunch. One member of the group is all excited about a rally she had just attended and wanted to discuss it with her friends. The ensuing discussion was both hilarious and informative as each member of the group displayed different characteristics: the ‘resistor’ who was fearful of doing advocacy, the ‘detail person’ who wanted to know more about the issue before acting, ‘the shallow enthusiastic advocate’, and the ‘mediator’. The purpose was to teach us how to address issues for advocacy in a social situation. A discussion after the ‘play’ revealed some of our discomforts about talking about issues with friends. [click on an image to start the photo viewer]