Catholic Social Teaching tells us that all people have a right to participate in the economic, political and cultural life of society. It is a fundamental demand of justice and a requirement for human dignity that all people be assured a minimum level of participation in the community.
Our mission is to serve those most in need AND to advocate for justice in the community. In an election year like 2020, a critical piece of our advocacy includes voter outreach with our clients and staff to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in our democracy.
In 2020, our advocacy team partnered with peer leaders – clients and residents within our programs to reach more people and connect them to voting resources. One peer leader is so dedicated to helping others vote, she brought her signup sheet with her everywhere to reach her goal of registering 100 people to vote.
Voter outreach gives a voice to those who are often voiceless. As our peer leader tells us, voter outreach has been a catalyst for powerful conversations about the issues that impact those we serve; “they have some amazing things to say,” she said.
She tells us that the insight of those we serve is not included enough in our public discussion; “there’s a lot of overlooked people, and they don’t have the opportunity to become known, to be known… in public life,” she said. “There’s a lot of intelligent people on the sidewalk going about their business every day, like we don’t exist – and you do exist.”
I drive the development of Catholic Charities’ key stakeholder outreach strategy, manage oversight of public messaging, media relations, external web and social media development and content, and agency-wide materials.