“Child Advocacy Day” Set for March 21, Make Your Voice Heard
February 14, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – “For the Children” Weekly Column
Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: (405) 833-1117
The importance of using your voice as an advocate is as important today as it has been throughout the history of the world. Those elected officials who represent “We the People” in every political office should hear from those they serve.
Oklahoma legislators could consider as many as 2,300 new measures in committees over the next few weeks. Another 2,500 bills and resolutions were carried over from last year and are available for action.
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is tracking the legislation which would impact children and families. While it is easy to argue that all legislation will impact Oklahomans in some way, we are directly responsible for monitoring and encouraging people to speak up on critical issues impacting the youngest of our state’s residents.
Our mission charges us with “creating awareness, taking action, and supporting policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.” Our mission is not something we take lightly; we recognize the more people who speak up, the more likely action will be taken that is in the best interest of Oklahoma’s children.
OICA annually holds “Child Advocacy Day” at the Oklahoma State Capitol as part of that effort. On this day, each session, we encourage youth-serving organizations to take a break from their work inside their communities and take their mission to Oklahoma City. By doing this, these dedicated advocates can visit with lawmakers about what they do for children every day. By taking time to come to the State Capitol, advocates can give lawmakers a chance to see through advocates’ eyes what is essential in communities across the state. Child advocacy day also is a chance for advocates to invite local lawmakers to stop by their office back in the districts and see what these crucial organizations do for children.
By building this connection with those who represent us, better lines of communication are developed, and those working in the fields impacted by legislation can reach out directly to voice support or concerns before the idea moves too far in the process.
Child Advocacy Day this year will be on Monday, March 21, the Monday after the first significant deadline for the Oklahoma Legislature, so that will allow for a bit more relaxed conversation with lawmakers.
We also decided to make it more fun for advocates and those who work at the State Capitol. We held a luncheon with speakers to discuss critical issues in previous years. We decided to do it differently this year and hold our annual chili cook-off in the State Capitol parking lot. This way, officials and staff members will be able to visit the organizations competing for the best chili and best theme.
We are hoping this will “break the ice” for some and make it easier for advocates to share their work with those who work in the State Capitol as they sample the always-delicious chili entries. Judges for the chili competition will be actual judges and justices from the Oklahoma court system.
To sign up to attend Child Advocacy Day, and should you want to enter the chili competition, please go to https://oica.org/event/2022-child-advocacy-chili-cookoff/ and submit your information. We also encourage schools to consider taking a field trip to the State Capitol that day if it does not fall during Spring Break. Having young Oklahomans who benefit from the efforts of these organizations present allows the voice to be that much stronger.