Hi, I’m Lani Habrock, Director of KIDS COUNT at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. In this role, I have the privilege of heading up our advocacy efforts for our Institute. I’ll be honest, I was a little overwhelmed at the thought. Advocacy and lobbying, from afar, can be an intimidating beast.
When I was in the first grade I had a golden retriever named Brandy. One time I had the great idea of taking her for a walk while wearing my sweet new roller blades. It did not go well. The moment a flock of birds flew overhead she hit a full-speed run, dragging me across the street bouncing like coke cans behind a vehicle with “Just Married” shoe polished across the back window. My coolness quotient slid from a 10 to about a 3 that day. I’m still recovering.
That story best exemplifies the feelings I had toward advocacy. Excitement at the thought of working side by side with our lawmakers, tinged with a fear of getting pulled in too far and too fast, unable to keep pace with those around me. Having spent the first two weeks of the 56th legislature at our State Capitol. I now see that, though things move quickly and there’s a lot of work to be done, they’ve got nothing on Brandy.
I am starting this blog because I want to empower and encourage you in your own advocacy efforts, sharing my experiences and what I learn along the way. Maybe you don’t see yourself charging up the steps of the capitol with an issue in hand, but at the very least, I hope this blog will help you understand the beast.
The most intimidating part isn’t the actual work. It’s the lack of clarity around the systems and processes in place. We all had that government class in school, and many of us feel we should have some inborn instinctive understanding for how things work at the capitol just by merely being an American citizen. This is a fallacy, and it will silence your voice if you believe it.
I hope you’ll join me in this adventure into advocacy over the coming weeks. Together, we can amplify our voices and truly make Oklahoma the state it deserves to be.
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Lani Habrock is the director of KIDS COUNT at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. As a former contender for the State House of Representatives she believes legislative advocacy is an important work we must all take responsibility for in order to create positive change for all children in our state on a population-wide level.