"Lobbying for Human Rights and Social Change"

Facilitator: Shelley Moskowitz

Shelley Moskowitz is the manager of the Public Policy and Mobilization at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a nonsectarian organization that advances human rights and social justice in the United States and around the world. She is based in Washington, DC where she provides strategic guidance and direct lobbying to advance UUSC’s human rights priorities in the areas of economic and environmental justice, civil liberties and post-humanitarian crises recovery.

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The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects free speech and assembly as well as the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. Lobbying is an advocacy tool to raise issues and influence policies at the local, state and federal level. While some dismiss this activity as nothing more than a corrupt business for the monied few, lobbying can also be seen as a patriotic expression of First Amendment rights for all. Public interest advocates are a less well known breed of lobbyist who work on behalf of impacted communities, educate policy-makers on emerging issues and help create legislative vehicles to increase government oversight and accountability. Against the odds, public interest advocates have contributed to social and economic change throughout US history.
This training will demystify the world of lobbying and highlight the role it can play to advance human and civil rights. Participants will learn the basic steps of effective lobbying and explore the attributes of successful advocates. Case studies and experiential learning will be used to teach the opportunities and the challenges of public interest lobbying.

More about Shelley Moskowitz:

Shelley Moskowitz has 25 years of experience as a public interest advocate. Her most recent victory was passage of AB685, the Human Right to Water bill in California which was signed into law after a multi-year advocacy campaign by the Safe Water Alliance. At the federal level, she is a leader within the Haiti Advocacy Working Group which brings faith-based, development and human rights groups together with Haitian civil society leaders to influence US foreign aid accountability and to improve protection of vulnerable populations in post-earthquake recovery.
Shelley began her career as a public-interest advocate in 1987 working with Neighbor to Neighbor, a California-based national grassroots organization. During the Campaign to Stop Contra Aid in the 1980s, she lobbied congressional swing votes. Later, she helped build a bloc in Congress to support a negotiated peace in El Salvador. Moskowitz’ focus shifted to domestic health-care justice issues during the 1990s where she played an important role in the grassroots movement for national health insurance. In 2011, Shelley was honored with the Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Vision award by Jews United for Justice, a DC-based organization where she is a volunteer leader.