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NJ Communities of Practice Speaker Shares How to Get Your Voice Heard

June 21, 2016 | Community News, Community News and Media, Statewide

monifabandeleYour voice can be a powerful tool in pushing for social changes around the world. That’s according to Monifa Bandele, senior campaign director for food justice and children’s nutrition at MomsRising. Bandele gave advice about getting your voice heard above the noise in today’s super-connected world to 40+ local residents, nurses, and child obesity advocates during the “How to Use Your Superpowers and Get Your Voice Heard!” Workshop on June 1st at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, NJ. The event was sponsored by the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network as part of its Communities of Practice series.

During the meeting, Bandele explained how MomsRising takes on the most critical issues facing women, mothers, and families by educating the public and mobilizing massive grassroots actions to:

  • Bring the voices and real world experiences of women and mothers straight to our local, state, and national leaders;
  • Amplify women’s voices and policy issues in the national dialogue and in the media across all platforms (print, radio, blogs, social media, and more);
  • Accelerate grassroots impact on Capitol Hill and at state capitols across the country;
  • Hold corporations accountable for fair treatment of women and mothers and for ensuring the safety of their products.

Bandele also explained that MomsRising brings attention to the most pressing issues across the nation and New Jersey that affect women and their children, like equal pay, clean water in schools, immigration, job security and food access.

“It’s important to know that you have a voice and can be heard,” said Bandele, “We don’t just listen, we act immediately.” The organization is an online force, bringing together women nationwide to advocate for equality by hosting social events, utilizing both social mediums (like Twitter, Facebook and blog posts) and petitions, and gathering at local government buildings and attending meetings to protest for fairer legislation in the workplace. Combining all of these tools is necessary for building an inclusive culture of health, in which every person has the equal opportunity to live the healthiest life they can. “We send petitions and go to company shareholder meetings. Shareholders want to know what they can do to help and change unhealthy practices,” Bandele explained.

Recent advocacy campaigns for MomsRising include clean, lead-free drinking water in schools and homes, removing cartoons from junk food packaging and removing characters from soda advertisements. MomsRising is also advocating for paid sick days for working parents.

Bandele stressed that it’s about creating a united front, working together and forming a plan of action. “In order for change to take place, you have to start within the community,” said Bandele “Don’t just parachute in because there’s usually someone in every community that you can partner with that is already advocating for change.”

Learn more about MomsRising.

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