Turning community engagement into big outcomes
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Remember the 2018 midterm elections? Once all the ballots were counted, the results were touted as historic, and for good reason. In addition to the highest voter turnout rate for a midterm in a century, we saw a number of milestones for women in federal office.
While we know there’s still a long road ahead for achieving truly equitable representation across the board, there are real, living, breathing history makers holding federal office that we can point to as evidence that the efforts of many, over many years, to empower women to step into leadership have borne fruit.
A critical detail in that statement: the efforts of many. Not just one galvanizing leader. Not just one Oprah-caliber endorser. And definitely not one moment or event. Leaders trying to effect positive change at any level of society know that success truly takes a village. They also know that achieving results is a long game.
Kimberly Peeler-Allen is no stranger to the amount of time and effort that goes into building movements and leadership. For 20 years, she has worked to empower Black women to step into positions of power (with a track record of noted successes, no less…check out her bio to see for yourself). This November, she’ll be presenting the Upswell Chicago workshop, “Community Movement to Public Policy.”
Kimberly’s workshop is a prime opportunity for you, dear changemakers, to learn how the community engagement work you may already be doing can evolve into big, measurable outcomes in the forms of policy, leadership, and government accountability (check out our Q&A with Kimberly). We caught up with Kimberly for a preview of the workshop and to learn what inspired her to pitch it during our Co-create campaign back in March.
Q: What made you decide to pitch your idea for an Upswell workshop?
KPA: I was intrigued by the opportunity to share my experience inspiring and organizing thousands of Black women and allies across the country to step into their leadership in whatever way they are most comfortable and how that experience connects to larger movements and work in the social sector.
Q: What sector need or concern will your workshop help address?
KPA: When there is heightened awareness and engagement of the general populace around issues of justice and equity, it is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. How to channel that energy into something that helps advance the cause in an effective way is always a challenge. Looking at how other movements have used that momentum to move their issue forward by growing their grassroots support in an effective way, we will share best practices for future movements.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about presenting your workshop?
KPA: I am looking forward to the exchange of ideas with attendees. One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the last eight years is that when there is meaningful dialogue that is open for real collaborative thought, great ideas flourish. I hope that between our presentation and the experiences of the audience there will be some magical moments that will spawn impactful change far beyond Upswell 2019.
Community Movement to Public Policy, is happening Wednesday, November 13 from 3-4pm.