Take action for meaningful change on MLK Lobby Day, 1/19/15!

Greta Carlson is a Communications Intern with Solid Ground.

People of all ages and backgrounds can have a voice in Olympia on MLK Lobby Day!

People of all ages and backgrounds can have a voice in Olympia on MLK Lobby Day!

Traveling to Olympia with the Statewide Poverty Action Network on Monday, 1/19/15 for their annual Martin Luther King Lobby Day is sure to be a powerful and enriching experience. We encourage as many people to attend as possible to help advocate for legislation that will make a positive impact on low-income families in Washington state.

MLK Lobby Day facilitates people in meeting with their lawmakers to share their stories, which promotes the protection of resources necessary for thousands of people to meet basic daily needs. 

How to register:

Visit Poverty Action’s website today to fill out our short registration form. We’ll send you a confirmation email, and you’ll be set to go!

Plan of the day:

On MLK Day, Solid Ground will provide free transportation both to and from Olympia. Shuttles will depart at 7:30am on 1/19/15 from the headquarters building (1501 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103) and return in the afternoon after the events have concluded. There will also be a bus available leaving from Kent and a van leaving from Yakima.

Additionally, complimentary breakfast and lunch will be served with Vegetarian & Non-Vegetarian options available. (If you have any additional dietary needs, please bring your own food along to the event.) Childcare and language interpretation services are also provided for attendees as needed. And you can engage even further with the Poverty Action team as a volunteer to help with extra support needs for the event.

How to talk to your legislators:

During the morning, Poverty Action staff will provide an engaging, in-depth 1½-hour training session for all attendees on how to talk with legislators. After practicing, attendees will be divided into small groups by your home legislative districts and head out together for meetings with your legislators. Most districts will have three, 15-minute sessions scheduled with their state representatives and support staff. These meetings have an influence on our lawmakers, and their support of policies deeply impacts our local communities.

Top talking points:

There are three main issues that Poverty Action members have identified as top legislative agenda priorities this year: 1) Legal Financial Obligation (LFO) reform, 2) a greater TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) grant, and 3) consumer protections. These major topics affect many people living on low incomes across Washington state. MLK Lobby Day is an opportunity to tell your own stories and/or advocate for others in need of change and improvements at the state legislative level.

After all of the speeches, discussions and conversations that fuel MLK Lobby Day, the Poverty Action team will follow up with attendees via email about any progress made on the issues and topics brought up during their meetings with legislators.

The Martin Luther King Day holiday is a day off for most employees and students, however we hope you’ll consider coming and joining people all across the state to ensure that people have access to the basic resources and fair policies needed to reduce poverty in Washington state. Instead of taking the day OFF, join us for a powerful day ON: In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, let’s take action for meaningful change!

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Students submit bill for civil rights education

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Editor’s Note: One of Solid Ground’s staff members forwarded this note about the efforts of her 5th grade daughter, Kate, and her classmates to further education about civil rights and social justice. Makes you proud! She writes:

“My daughter is in a group at her school which studies the Civil Rights Movement and related topics during recess and lunch, and puts on an annual assembly. Their group is sponsoring a bill to encourage instruction in the history of civil rights in the state. The bill, SB 5174, is having a hearing today (before the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee) and they are participating by teleconference.”

Here is the letter the students sent to committee Chair Rosemary McAuliffe:

Dear Senator McAuliffe,

We are the MLK group at Madrona K-8 school in Edmonds. Our group formed in December 2009 to create an assembly for our school. Since then, our group has expanded. In learning about the Civil Rights movement, we researched Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, and we watched the movie of the Children’s march in Birmingham, AL. Then we listened to his “I Have a Dream” speech, and we wrote our own speeches and decided which ones would go into our play. Next we made a play with a news broadcast, and we shared this with the whole school at an assembly in Dr. King’s honor.

We took time outside of class to make this all happen, and we are sponsoring SB 5174 [Encouraging instruction in the history of Civil Rights].

Senator Chase introduced SB 5174 for us because we want to make sure kids know how to treat other people. We believe that people should know who changed the segregation laws in our country. We think we are lucky that we live in this time, and we have freedoms here. We think it is important to learn about places and times that don’t have the freedoms we share. If people don’t learn about the Civil Rights movement, people could take it for granted. This might lead to the same things happening again. We also learned that kids can make a difference, and we want other kids to know they can, too.

We would like a hearing for this bill and the opportunity to testify. If for some reason the hearing is at a time we can’t attend, we would like to watch it on TVW or perhaps a remote connection to the committee hearing from our school or Edmonds City Hall.

~Signed, Madrona School MLK Group, Judi MacRae, advisor,
and 32 4th through 6th graders

The bill would encourage school districts to “prepare and conduct a program at least once a year to commemorate the history of civil rights in our nation … and the importance of the fundamental principle and promise of equality in our nation’s Constitution.”

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