Advocacy is an important part of our work here at Journey Home. It has been a challenging year for many as our state lawmakers have spent months coming to an agreement on a budget. Instead of quietly hoping for a budget to pass, we joined forces with other nonprofits around the state for two powerful and very different advocacy efforts.
On August 30th, we joined forces with other nonprofit providers and made our way over to the Legislative Office Building to call on lawmakers to end the budget stalemate and pass a two-year budget. We didn’t demand just any budget; instead we demanded one that funds services for those in need. Gian-Carl Casa, president and CEO of the CT Community Nonprofit Alliance, said every month that goes by without a budget means an increase in the chance that a community provider will be shutting its doors. It also means fewer Connecticut residents will be receiving services.
Rep. Cathy Abercrombie, D-Meriden, said not having a budget is worse.
“I’ve said it for weeks now. We need to bite the bullet and get the budget out and live with the consequences of what this budget shows,” Abercrombie said.
“Is it pretty? I’m going to be honest with you, it’s not,” she added. “It’s not a budget that I personally would like to see … but when people don’t want to be honest about revenue, this is the situation we’re in.”
Knowing that more needed to be done and that the conversation had to continue, we banded together a week later for a rally on the north lawn of the State Capitol. Around 800 people turned out to call on lawmakers and Gov. Dannel Malloy to end the budget impasse. “Pass a budget and protect services,” was the ringing cry throughout the morning. It was a powerful statement and one that shapes our work these days.
Most of the people who are served through our Coordinated Access Network in Greater Hartford are dependent on a state budget that includes them. And we see that part of our mission as a backbone organization is to get out there and stand alongside of our partners and demand action when action needs to be taken. It was a very powerful moment in our organization’s history to be rallying for justice and declaring that all of our voices must be heard.
So, advocacy? Yes, we do that, too!