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Through a new training program, groups in Alabama are giving citizens the opportunity to influence local politics.

Alabama Arise and Alabama Values ​​​​launch “Think Big Alabama” to give people tools to drive change in their communities.

Anneshia Hardy, executive director of Alabama Values, a nonprofit focused on communicating messages and increasing community engagement, highlighted the four-part program as an opportunity to break down information barriers in the legislative process and give underrepresented voices a hearing.

“It’s about educating people or giving them tools that work at the intersection of message and narrative so they can take back control of their narrative,” Hardy explained. “It’s also about advocating and organizing in communities and using the systems we’ve put in place during the legislative process to be part of the change they want to see.”

She stressed that the key skills taught during the training are working in the media, politics, grassroots organizing and community engagement. She firmly believes that by focusing on the core areas, people in underserved areas, often affected by bad policies, will be able to address the issues that matter most to them.

Presdelane Harris, organizing director for Alabama Arise, said Think Big Alabama is about improving access to democracy. She explained the program goes beyond simply teaching people about organizing and actively encourages them to take action on critical state and local issues. Part of the program will address how to make plans to advance important policies.

“If we want to have a strong democracy, we need more engaged people and more voices in the process, not fewer voices,” Harris said.

Harris added that the program is open to anyone who wants to learn more about political advocacy or make a difference in their community. The program is currently accepting 20 people for the training, which consists of a combination of in-person and virtual sessions. Applications are open until June 28.

Disclosure: Alabama Arise and Alabama Values ​​​​donate to our fund for coverage of fiscal policy and priorities, civic engagement, health issues, LGBTQIA+ issues, poverty issues, reproductive health and social justice. If you would like to support news in the public interest, click here.

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