How Protests Birthed Grassroots Advocacy Organizations and Helped Propel Policy Change

Protest - Brian Griffiths
Brian Griffiths

At the 2019 MACo Summer Conference session, “From Protest to Policy,” attendees learned about the framework, efforts, process, media coverage, that goes into forming and advancing grassroots advocacy movements to generate legislative change.

Brian Griffiths, Editor-in-Chief, presented about the unique role Red Maryland plays as a media organization to influence policy change in Maryland. Using case studies Griffiths covered endorsements, political surveys and other activism tools they use as a media organization to put focus and pressure for political action on important issues.

Protest - Toni Holness
Toni Holness

Toni Holness, Public Policy Director, ACLU of Maryland discussed how the ACLU was born in a moment of protest on the Eastern Shore of Maryland over lynchings. Holness noted the surge in membership the ACLU saw after the 2016 elections and what policy issues are energizing their members. She rounded out her presentation with a look at barriers to democracy and urged lawmakers to make the policy process more accessible to community members.

Protest - Cheryl Bost
Cheryl Bost

Cheryl Bost, President of the Maryland State Educators Association (MSEA) highlighted how MSEA is more than just a teacher’s union by noting the influential efforts educators and their partners. Bost highlighted “Red for Ed” as one recent way MSEA members were driven to build and organize a movement for change.


Protest - Parker Welch
Parker Welch

Parker Welch, Director of Operations for the Maryland Farm Bureau shared how one of the first advocacy issues that united farmers was to get agricultural education in the school curriculums. Since then The Maryland Farm Bureau has championed efforts to provide quality auto insurance rates for farmers,  define farm area vehicles, establish agricultural deer cooperator permits.

Protest - Josh Tulkin
Josh Tulkin

Josh Tulkins, Director for the Maryland Sierra Club delved into the passions that drive the work of the Sierra Club and the energy of its members to advocate on environmental issues concerning their communities. Tulkin shared case studies on how they set their priorities, bring members to Annapolis to rally and advocate for action, and then debrief on their accomplishments once the session is over.

The session was moderated by Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and held on Friday, August 16, 2019.

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