In November 2018, members of the team met with staff of Senator Kaine and Senator Warner in their offices on Capitol Hill, as well as our various Representatives. The advocacy team focus for 2019 is to Repeal the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). For nearly two decades, U.S. presidents have used two laws from 2001 and 2002 to justify sending the U.S. military to conduct operations at least 18 different countries. As a first step, Congress should repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force that have been used by three presidents to justify endless wars.
FCNL has now organized 100 such Advocacy Teams all over the US, with over 2000 people connected to the network. Herndon Friends are proud to be a part of this exciting effort to promote Quaker values and testimonies.
The Herndon Advocacy Team meets on the first Wednesday of each month at Herndon Friends meetinghouse from 7pm to 9pm. After the general team meeting, we listen to a national conference call conducted by the current FSNL National Field Organizer, Shoshanna Abrams. To learn more about Advocacy Teams, see the FCNL website.
This advocacy began in early March 2017, with a preliminary meeting of about twenty-four interested Friends and others from the surrounding Northern Virginia area, to learn more about the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) advocacy team program. In June of that year, Maiya Zwerling, FCNL National Field Organizer, conducted the training and brought along two other FCNL staff members. She held the group enthralled for three hours with her wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for advocacy and prepared participants to start an advocacy team. Maiya also reviewed the issue of controlling Pentagon spending, the FCNL advocacy focus for 2017 teams. The first training was followed by three more training sessions, with the group gathering at the meetinghouse on a monthly basis ever since, varying in size from twelve to eighteen members.
The team has learned to research our congressional representatives' voting records and biographies and how to form a successful relationship with them and/or their staff by telling our personal stories, finding some common ground, and learning how to ask for a specific action related to the use of military force. The group encompasses three congressional districts and includes Friends and non-Friends. We now conduct regular lobby visits to our representatives’ offices and are developing relationships as a foundation for more and more face-to-face meetings.