by Jonathan Williams, Peace Action national staff
Last weekend, activists from across the country converged on Washington, DC to mark the 8th anniversary of the war in Iraq by making their voices heard in Congress.
Over 130 attendees, including students, veterans, and military families, participated in the Spring Lobby Weekend to demand an end to the war in Afghanistan, proper care for our veterans, and cuts to the Pentagon budget.
The weekend featured two days of lobbying training before a day of lobby visits. Participants learned how to effectively communicate with Congress from experienced lobbyists, Congressional staff, and even a visit from a Congressman.
Congressman Jim McGovern, a long-time Peace Action ally on the Hill, delivered the keynote address on the first day of trainings. The Congressman spoke of his worries with this Congress. He noted that as he spoke, the U.S. was dropping bombs on Libya, perhaps entangling our military in another open-ended engagement. He noted that no one was talking about Afghanistan, to the extent that he suggested many new members of Congress had never even been asked a question about Afghanistan on the campaign trail.
Representative McGovern called on us to keep the pressure on in Congress. Our calls and correspondence make a real impact. Public pressure will be what forces Congress to address Afghanistan.
Following a day of lobby visits, many participants made plans for future visits with their Congress members at their district offices. Furthermore, many set goals for writing Letters to the Editor in their local paper to keep up the pressure.
Overall, the weekend was a major success and brought forth a new generation of skilled young lobbyists eager to make their voices heard. Together, we can bring the war back into the debate.
Check out photos from the weekend on FCNL’s photo album.