The North Dakota Women’s Network, in collaboration with Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund and others, sponsors a FREE Advocacy Training and Lobby Day for women and other attendees.

The events are meant to give participants insight into the legislative process, such as meeting with local lawmakers, training on how to lobby, and so much more. In a world where women are the minority in many political scenarios – whether on a local, state, or national level - WE Rise aims to educate women about the political process so they are better able to participate – whether that means voting, testifying, trying to create/change a bill, or even running for office.

This year’s events were held March 12 and 13, 2017 in Bismarck.

March 12 was the Advocacy Training. This included sessions such as “The Legislature and You,” (guided by Planned Parenthood’s North Dakota’s Manager of Advocacy & Development, Amy Jacobson), where attendees learned about committees, testimony, bills, and rules of engagement. “Stories as a Tool for change” (led by the Women’s Devising Project) aimed to help participants master their own stories and see the real life impact of policy. The final session of the day was, “Speed Dating the Issues,” during which participants got the “101” on bills that were on the agenda for the next day in the following four areas: economic security, education, freedom from violence, and civil rights. After the Advocacy Training, a social was held in order to have participants meet their legislators in a less formal setting.

March 13 was Lobby Day, a jam-packed morning full of committee hearings and capital tours. Some participants were inclined to provide testimony regarding certain bills, which they were able to do with the help of some leaders. For those that were interested, there was an optional exhibit on suffrage in North Dakota at the Heritage Center. After the busy morning, attendees and their legislators had lunch together at the capital. Following lunch, women elected officials were invited to come speak briefly to participants about their experiences, as well as to offer advice to anyone considering running for office. To complete the day, participants were invited to attend either the House or Senate floor sessions – some were even able to sit on the floor with a legislator!

This event is an amazing, FREE opportunity available to local women, allies, and legislators from across the state. The next WE Rise: Women Empowered event will be held in 2019, during the next legislative session. We hope to see you there!

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