Fairness Coalition offering lobbying training tonight

Shantel-Ann Pettway

WKU students and Bowling Green residents will have the opportunity to be trained in lobbying legislative officials on Tuesday at The Foundry Christian Community Center beginning at 6 p.m.

The Bowling Green Fairness Coalition, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and the Coalition for Social Justice came together to host the event “Creating Change: Citizen Lobbying and Non-Violent Direct Training.”

“This event is to show everyday people like me and you how to have their voice heard effectively,” a KFTC member said.

Participants will learn how to send emails, arrange meetings and make calls to legislative officials on the state and local levels.

Bowling Green senior Kate McElroy will be a co-facilitator for the event. McElroy will be helping participants in a brainstorming activity that covers the topic of renters’ rights.

McElroy said she is excited to engage other people about the ins and outs of lobbying.

“I’ve been interested in knowing my rights for a while, so I think I have some knowledge to share,” McElroy said.

McElroy has been a member of the Student Coalition for Renters Rights and believes her knowledge on the issue can help others become empowered activists.

McElroy isn’t the only one concerned about the empowerment of the community. Dora James, regional organizer for the Bowling Green Fairness campaign, shares similar sentiments.

“I hope people leave [the event] knowing that this isn’t hard to do,” James said.

James said she thinks the facilitators of the event, including herself, will do a good job of explaining what lobbying and how it helps people become proactive.

“It’s important for people to be involved in the democratic process,” James said.

James is expecting college students to attend and thinks the event is very beneficial for that demographic.

“They are the crowd who really doesn’t take part in things like this, so I believe this will empower them to have another way for them to change the things around them,” James said.

The creators of this event have hosted events of similar nature before. Similar events were offered during the fall 2015 semester on campus but were canceled due to winter weather conditions.

James said the reason the events are hosted around this time of the year is because this is the time the General Assembly happens and issues can be presented to local officials.

Louisville junior and political science major Indygo Ray said she is looking forward to the event.

“Lobbying not only shows you how to stand up and voice your opinion about an issue that needs to be fixed, but it allows you to make a difference in your community,” Ray said.

Ray said she believes participants will leave the event with confidence.

“You have the power to change policies, and this is a way to know that they’ll listen, so you have to feel good about that,” Ray said.

McElroy also expressed excitement about the event.

“This is my first time being a facilitator, and I’m just excited to get back into this area of my life,” McElroy said. “I’m nervous and pumped; it’ll be really empowering and informative.”