An Arise tradition: the member-led agenda

Something interesting is happening in the world of policy organizations. After years of many think tanks working behind the scenes to set their policy agendas with little transparency or buy-in from regular people, many of our peer organizations are now realizing the best policies are those informed by the people closest to the problems.

Research and data analysis have important roles to play in any new policy formulation or advocacy campaign. But they alone can’t tell us what needs to happen to improve conditions on the ground.

Thankfully, Alabama Arise is ahead of the curve. Thirty-five years ago, Arise’s founders knew we couldn’t truly work to advance people-centered policies in Montgomery without actually working with and talking to, well, regular people. That is why we are unique among many of our peers in having a policy agenda driven and guided by our membership and directly impacted people across our state.

Driven and guided by the people

I’m proud that with your support, we’ve invested over the years in listening, fostering community conversations and seeking answers to address economic and social justice from everyday Alabamians. Our Annual Meeting and voting process are an important part of this tradition.

Public policy should not be only the purview of the wealthy, white, well-connected or well-heeled. That kind of thinking has created the problems and inequities we are fighting. Instead, the best policies to address economic hardship and poverty are those driven and guided by the people who are struggling just to get by, and by those working on the front lines to advance justice. Every year we invite you, our members, to vote on our annual legislative agenda to ensure our policy goals align with those of everyday Alabamians.

If you have not yet joined us in this process, I hope you will. Join our 2023 Annual Meeting on Sept. 30 to hear from volunteers and leaders across our state. Then participate in voting to select our 2024 legislative agenda!