On Saturday, May 27th, Fostering Change allies connected for a productive strategy workshop facilitated by Organize BC's Anna McClean. The goal of the workshop was to develop strategy and tactics to ensure that the 41 MLAs who signed our pledge for youth aging out of care honour their commitments.
To start the day, workshop participants introduced themselves and grew acquainted by sharing some of the first times they were involved in activism. Reflecting the diversity of experience in the room, examples included everything from speaking at a city council meeting, to school-aged protests against ‘inside’ days mandated during rainy weather.
Once participants had grown familiar with each other, Fostering Change’s Kris Archie and Natalie Ord discussed the history of the initiative, including the provenance of the #Supportthe700 campaign to increase awareness and action in service of youth leaving foster care. Throughout their presentation, Kris and Natalie emphasized the importance of building relationships with like-minded youth, adult allies, and organizations.
Following the campaign overview, workshop facilitator Anna McClean highlighted several cases of effective activism. One particularly notable example was the Montgomery bus boycott, which saw an expertly coordinated and implemented campaign bring an end to bus segregation in the United States.
Examples like this made it clear that effective campaigns for change begin with a focused picture of the issue being encountered. Workshop participants were encouraged to start their campaign planning by asking questions such ‘Who are the people?’, ‘What is the problem?’, ‘What is our goal?’, and ‘What is the timeline?’.
A talk on the nature of power followed, and groups then applied the questions and concepts they’d discussed to a hypothetical campaign. Through this exercise, participants became increasingly comfortable linking theory and practice, and they now had the tools to think in more nuanced ways about generating change.
A delicious lunch break brought a halt to the proceedings, but groups eagerly reformed to start on the final portion of the workshop: developing strategy and tactics for the #Supportthe700 campaign.
Drawing on the knowledge they’d acquired through the day, participants analyzed the issues, actors, goals, and timelines, and, with these in mind, brainstormed ideas to help turn the pre-election campaign pledges into post-election action.
The brainstorming proved to be fruitful, generating several promising ideas that will now be pursued. These touched on, among other things, last minute outreach to MLAs who pledged to attend a BC Child and Youth in Care Week celebration (June 5th-11th), and how to help citizens more forcefully speak up for youth aging out during budget advocacy sessions.
The workshop concluded after each group shared their ideas, and participants left feeling connected, enlightened, and determined to ensure that young people in and from care receive supports which will enable them to thrive. They're an amazing group, and it’s time their elected representatives stood up for them.