The Power of Spirit-Filled Organizing
Tools for Advocacy
September 6, 2022
NETWORK has worked for justice in our federal policies since 1972, and the Advocates Team model of uniting justice-seekers around the country has been with us since NETWORK’s inception. Today, NETWORK has more than 100,000 members and supporters across the country with a presence in nearly every congressional district.
Every time you make a phone call, send emails, sign petitions, attend town halls, or participate in lobby visits, your action increases NETWORK’s power on Capitol Hill. NETWORK’s work would not be possible without the commitment and persistence of our Spirit-filled advocates for justice.
NETWORK Advocates Teams
If you live in a strategic building state, we invite you to join an existing Advocates Team or work with us to start a new team composed of people united by a shared passion for justice, desire to learn, and commitment to advocacy.
Advocates Teams welcome people with all different levels of experience and backgrounds. Some team members have been involved with NETWORK for decades, while others are new to advocacy.
With support from NETWORK staff and one another, team members grow in their understanding of federal policies that support the common good. They participate in strategies that have a national impact—at a level far beyond individual or uncoordinated efforts. Much of this impact can be attributed to the meaningful relationships team members develop with their Members of Congress and their staff.
Living Out Sister-Spirit
Since 1972, the NETWORK community has grown far beyond only those who are Catholic Sisters. Whether you are a Catholic Sister or not, everyone can live out Sister-Spirit, the radical, joyful, and inclusive energy that motivated NETWORK’s founding and continues to animate NETWORK’s political ministry today.
We live out Sister-Spirit when we…
- Listen with curiosity and humility and are open to learning.
- Root our understanding in encounter, not ideology.
- Approach situations and people with hope and welcome.
- Act out of a grounded spirituality rooted in contemplation and reflection.
- Pursue Gospel justice with joy and persistence.
- Prioritize the well-being of others, especially those at the margins.
- Work collaboratively in community, not “presiding over.”
- See everyone as people first, not just roles.
- Trust our instincts, are bold, and are willing to do the unpopular.
Celebrate together, use humor, and are feisty.
Centering Racial Justice
Because racism is embedded into our society’s systems and structures, we intentionally prioritize dismantling systemic racism and white supremacy in our political systems as well as our economic and social structures. To do this work for racial justice effectively, advocates must engage in ongoing development and learning about racial justice and regular self-reflection. NETWORK resources are available to equip you to do the work of racial and economic justice, organize in solidarity with people of color, and educate yourselves and others in your community about racism.
Pope Francis often speaks of the importance of creating a “culture of encounter” to bridge divides and Catholic Social Justice instructs advocates to be and act in solidarity with those who are most marginalized by our systems and structures. In other words, the best solutions to problems will not come from the outside but from those who are most directly impacted by the injustices.
Lived experiences are the most important component of the meaning-making that informs our advocacy, therefore, we strive to center the voices of those most directly impacted by the injustices we seek to end.
- Look first to resources, skills, and perspectives held by impacted communities.
- Reject a deficit-based approach; instead, recognize the assets already existing in communities.
- Center peoples telling their own stories and sharing their lived experiences in our advocacy.
- Involve impacted communities in devising solutions to the challenges they face.
- Recognize that impact is more important than intent and approach each situation with intentionality and a commitment to recognizing and addressing unintended consequences.
The Power of Organizing
The goal of organizing is to get other people to join us in working for a more just world. When we grow our community of justice-seekers, we strengthen our power. Organizing tactics include conducting one-on-ones, planning effective meetings and conference calls, canvassing, hosting a house party or site visit, holding town halls, planning a demonstration, organizing a group to contact elected officials, speaking to the media, or spreading your message online.
As we work for justice, how do we continue to learn and grow? Through feedback and reflection. NETWORK staff are available to help you debrief any meeting, event, or campaign so you can continue to improve your organizing skills. Whether it is talking through a challenge you have encountered or exploring training needs, we are here to help.
NETWORK also has a number of organizing workshops, and we are always working to add more. We offer both topic-based and skill-building workshops including:
- About NETWORK
- Catholic Social Justice
- Intro to Faith-Based Advocacy
- How to Lobby/Prep for Lobby Visit
- Build Anew Policy Briefing
- Racial Wealth and Income Gap
- Human Bar Graph on Income Inequality
- Town Hall for Tax Justice
- Transformative Conversations to Bridge Divides
- Tax Justice for All: Unveiling the Racial Inequity of the U.S. Tax Code
We encourage you, our members, to share your passion for justice by learning a new organizing skill or revisiting ones that you have used in the past, especially as we approach the 2022 midterm elections. This is a critical time to mobilize fellow justice-seekers to vote for candidates who will advance racial equity and economic justice.
Whether you live in a state with a NETWORK Advocates team or not, we would love to brainstorm ways to multiply the effects of your advocacy with you. Contact the NETWORK staff by emailing email@example.com. We look forward to talking with you!