Advocacy

zontawalk2016

What is advocacy?

Advocacy is the expression of support for, or opposition to, a cause, argument or proposal. Advocacy actions may include influencing laws, legislation or attitudes.

What is Zonta advocacy?

Zonta advocacy is an action taken in “the public interest” or for “the greater good” with respect to empowering women and girls and their human rights.

The Zonta Club of Milwaukee has implemented strong advocacy initiatives in recent years.  Currently, we help organize and participate in a number of local and state-wide efforts and events.

International Women’s Day – March 8th of each year – is a worldwide day to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women

For the past several years, Club members from Milwaukee and Madison received advocacy training through the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. Prior to training, packets of position papers were developed so that after training, Zontians could meet with their State legislators or their aides to discuss issues of importance to women and girls and/or pending legislation.

On or near March 8th, the Club has participated in an IWD celebration at the Performing Arts Center in partnership with a coalition of Milwaukee women’s organizations.  In 2015, we had an exhibit of Club and Zonta International goals and achievements.

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Women’s Equality Day – August 26th of each year – to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment granting national women suffrage on August 26, 1920.

This year Zontians were invited to attend two community organized events, one on August 27th that is a screening of Iron Jawed Angels about women’s role in the suffrage movement and the other on August 29th featuring Ellen Bravo as the keynote speaker.

The Human Trafficking Task Force of Greater Milwaukee – grew out of a need to make recommendations to improve local responses to human trafficking.  It now has four sub-committees: public awareness, service provision, education, and legislation.

Club member Diane Lindsley attends the policy & legislation committee meetings.  This year, Zontians signed petitions for the Governor and Legislators in support of pending legislation and funding for anti-human trafficking efforts by Wisconsin.

Club member Donna Conant was able to obtain free Clear Channel billboard space for the Task Force’s Unlucky Thirteen campaign to spread awareness of human trafficking in Milwaukee.  Thirteen is the average a child begins being trafficked for sex.

Club advocacy service and training is ongoing at Neu-Life Community Development. In 2014 and 15, Zontians participated in Neu-Life’s Career Day.  Secondly, the Club piloted and implemented  a self-sustaining Youth Anti-Violence Project (age 10+) focused on human trafficking and sexual violence prevention.  It provided participating youth the skills to help keep them safe as well as the opportunity to make an impact in the larger community through awareness-building, peer advocacy, and/or service. We utilized (and customized) a curriculum called ARTREACH and TIPS, developed by Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships (www.htap.org), a Zonta-driven effort in west Florida by Nola Theiss, to implement this program. Six Zontians (Donna Conant, Joann Harris Comodore, Diane Lindsley, Cheryl Lucas-DeBerry, Donna Neal, and Joni Reese) and 15-20 Neu-Life staff and alumni attended the training/brainstorming session conducted by Claudyne O’Leary.ArtReachCollage

“Zonta Says No to Violence” – 16 Days of Activism from Nov. 25th ( International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to December 11th (Human Rights Day).

During this time, anti-violence messages were posted on the Club’s website as well as facebook and Twitter.  Similar messages were posted on Zontians’ personal social media sites.

Monday, September 28, 2015 was the date of our 1st annual Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women Walk sponsored by Zonta Club of Milwaukee. This annual event will drew the attention of people in the Milwaukee/Waukesha County area to the ever present and growing issue of domestic violence.

The Zonta Says No to Violence Walk was a silent vigil/walk around the Milwaukee downtown area, beginning and ending at City Hall, for the purpose of remembering those Wisconsinites who have died this past year as a result of domestic violence.

Following the walk several community leaders including Carmen Pitre, Executive Director of Sojourner Family Peace Center,  briefly commented on the issue of domestic violence, and we read aloud the names of all who have perished this past year.  It was a very powerful event with media presence.

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If you would like to join us in serving in these opportunities, please contact us at zontamkeclub@zontamilwaukee.org