What does authentic coalition building look like? What would a racially just education system look like? And how are two collective advocacy movements working to advance racial equity for Oregon children?
These are just a few of the questions that came up in the latest episode of The Early Link podcast, which took a deep dive into the work of the Oregon Partners for Education Justice and Oregon’s Early Childhood Coalition. With the 2021 Legislative Session now in full swing, the wide-ranging conversation explored the essential role of community vision, wisdom, and leadership in advocacy.
“No one person can accomplish change alone, a change that is effective and sustainable at a system level,” explained Amanda Manjarrez, FBO’s Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, on the podcast. “We’ve seen so many situations where folks move change without including those who are most impacted, and are confused when [the solutions] don’t work. You have to engage folks at the center of the impact or the folks who are most likely to be left behind.”
Dana Hepper, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Children’s Institute, agreed. “Coalition building is a tried and tested strategy,” said Hepper. “It's very hard to accomplish things all on your own in the Legislature. It's especially hard for communities that have historically been disenfranchised from political processes and political power to do that. So working together is a critical strategy.”