Recess for Miami Students successfully advocated to restore daily recess in all Florida elementary schools in July 2017. This incredible accomplishment was the result of over a year of hard work and grassroots community engagement.
We sat down with Angie Gallo, Florida PTA legislation chair, and Kate Asturias, a Miami-Dade parent and member of the Recess for Miami Students group, to get their tips on how to make your next advocacy campaign a successful one.
Check to see if your county council, state or National PTA has adopted a position statement on your issue
If your issue is clearly endorsed by the PTA, ask your state or county council for assistance. In Miami-Dade, there are over 50,000 PTA members, and this made a huge audience for potential recess supporters.
Clearly articulate your issue
- Do your research! Find out how the issue affects students, teachers, school operations and the budget, and figure out solutions.
- Speak to parents, teachers, administrators, district officials, and school board members. Chances are if there is an issue you are passionate about, others are as well.
Find a subject matter expert
You can start by asking around to see who shares a connection with your school and PTA. Recess for Miami Students’ expert is a pediatrician, a nationally-recognized expert in developmental-behavioral pediatrics, and a PTA dad.
Two extremely talented designers and PTA moms created our adorable logo; however, never underestimate the power of a child’s drawing and its ability to immediately convey strong emotions associated with your cause.
Social media is key
Using your logo and your verbiage from your petition, create your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and email address—all free of charge. Post links to your petition, news articles about your issue, and other relevant information. In many instances, social media is where major newspapers and studios will find you.
Spread the word
Social media posts are a great place to start, but they only go so far. Start gaining ground by writing and posting a petition. This is where your research pays off. People will support your issue and your solutions if they are well-researched, logical and feasible.
Brush up on those public speaking skills
You’ve got to practice, practice, practice. Give your spiel to your fellow group members, your family, your dog. Record yourself and to see what works and doesn’t work. Then, attend as many district and school board meetings as possible to speak about your issue. Major bonus points for bringing along other parents, teachers and supporters.
Always practice the Golden Rule
Conduct yourself in a professional manner. Disagree respectfully. When you look back at your social media posts and interviews will you be proud or embarrassed?