Advocacy: Raising your Voice and Taking Action

January 20, 2021 marks a historical moment as the 46th President, Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are sworn into office.

This administration takes office during a time when many are looking for strong leadership across a broad spectrum of topics. As the new administration and the 117th Congress work together to create and pass legislation, advocates across America will speak out to focus attention on their priorities.

Advocacy drives change. Advocacy educates legislators, informs decision-makers, mobilizes communities, inspires through stories, and motivates voters. Advocacy is everywhere and anyone can be an advocate. Tweeting to your elected official about a policy you support is advocacy, writing a letter is advocacy, peaceful protests is advocacy, making a phone call to an elected official is advocacy, or facilitating a meeting are all advocacy actions.

SOPHE works to educate decision-makers on national and state legislative issues related to a healthy society. SOPHE advocates for prevention, public health and health promotion policies. It supports tobacco cessation and control policies, specifically policy action to remove flavored e-cigarette products from the market.

We promote health equity policies, programs and practices that address health, social, economic, environmental and other factors to improve health. We seek opportunities for health reimbursement for health educators, promote policies that increase health literacy, and advocate for health education in schools. We work with coalitions, congressional offices, and SOPHE members to further our priority areas across local, state and federal levels.

SOPHE’s advocacy and resolutions committee impacts our advocacy initiatives. SOPHE hosts an annual advocacy summit that brings people together in Washington, DC, to learn about current public health issues, grow advocacy skill-building, and incorporate advocacy in the classroom. The advocates then take part in a Hill Day where they meet with their congressional offices to advocate!

In the fall of 2020, we were still at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was not safe for the 2020 Advocacy Summit congressional visits to take place in person, so SOPHE pivoted to virtual meetings.

SOPHE advocates were able to connect via zoom or conference line meetings to advocate for CDC’s climate and health program and the REACH program. Advocates continued to engage with the offices through social media and email.

Building a connection with others with shared priorities creates strong advocacy action. As a new administration takes office, advocates have the opportunity to come together to bring their priorities to the forefront to create change. Be “the change” and advocate today.

Eryn Greaney
SOPHE Staff

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