January 31, 2024
By Corin Bauman, NOW Program Coordinator, Vital Village Networks
Contributions and edits from Diana Rivera, NOW Program Manager at Vital Village Networks.
“Advocacy is empathy, compassion and community at work.” ― Janna Cachola
In 2024, the Networks of Opportunity for Child Wellbeing (NOW) is bringing together opportunities for shared storytelling, peer learning, and skill building around this year’s theme, Imperative of NOW: Community Power and Healing-Centered Advocacy.
Together we will explore answers to questions such as…
What does it look like to harness, activate and build community power?
From voter education, birth equity, food systems, early childhood education and more -- What can we learn from different resident-led advocacy movements?
What strategies can be used for self-advocacy, collective action, and legislative change?
Local residents and grassroots community leaders have long been at the forefront of transformative systems and policy change, and they have done so by centering the voice, leadership, and power of those most impacted by structural inequity. With 2024 being an important election year that will shape decision making and power structures across the country, we hope you will join us as we learn together from coalition leaders, resident leaders, and social change agents who are centering healing, power sharing, and narrative change in their advocacy efforts to create thriving, healthy communities.
Throughout the year there will be a number of ways to engage in our leadership learning series, including additional stories through the Vital Village Networks 2024 Leadership Article Series, hosted on the NOW blog, a central space for communities to share their wisdom about their on-the-ground systems and policy change. We will also have a four-part webinar series which will feature community leaders sharing tools, including how to activate healing-centered advocacy strategies and build community power, which we hope can inspire and strengthen local community efforts around the country. Additionally, Season 3 of In the Arena with NOW, premiering in late spring 2024, will dive deep into first-hand accounts of transformative community-driven and resident-led movements across sectors, and continue to be a platform for building connections and ideas for best practices.
As 2024 unfolds, we invite you to contribute your stories, ideas, lessons, and wisdom. What does healing-centered advocacy look like in your community? What strategies have been effective in helping your community build and sustain power for transformative change? What have been some of the more impactful “ah-ha” moments of your experience with community and civic engagement?
If you are interested in being a contributing author to the VVN 2024 Leadership Article Series, you can complete the online interest form found here. Or if you have ideas to share for our other engagement opportunities you can contact our team using the online “Contact Us” Form found here. Thank you for being part of NOW, and we look forward to learning together in the year ahead!