It’s Time to Take Action. Join Us!

The last in a seven-part series by guest blogger Erin Barone for Family Forward Oregon, sharing insights from their action + discussion group The High Cost of Motherhood.

We’ve covered a lot of ground over the past eight weeks. We’ve discussed issues from the economic marginalization of mothers (check out this article about the costs of motherhood: Too Often, a New Baby Brings Big Debt) to work-life balance (here’s a three-part series from NPR on flexible work) to valuing paid and unpaid care giving to policies that support (and work against) families in the United States and the world.

We’ve homed in on the issues that are important to us such as flexible, part-time work and paid family leave, and discussed possible solutions. But this isn’t just a discussion course –- it’s a discussion and ACTION course, and now it’s time to take action. But how? And more importantly, when?

I don’t think I’m alone in saying if I’m going to set aside some of my precious family time for social activism, I want to be a part of making real and lasting change. (Beyond Bumper Stickers by Judith Stadtman Tucker is a good introduction to the myriad ways we can work for change.) But whether it’s writing a letter to the editor, calling your state representative, testifying at a committee hearing, or joining a citizen advisory committee, there are any number of ways to fit effective advocacy into your life –- and match it to your strengths and passions.

So, are you ready to advocate for family-friendly policies and workplaces in Oregon? We thought so! Here are just a couple of ways to plug in right away:

1. Join the Family Forward Action Team. June 2012 marks the launch of the Family Forward Action Team. This is a great way to connect with others and effectively advocate for family-forward policies and workplaces in Oregon. We’ll be working on a variety of issues (affordable child care, paid family leave and workplace flexibility, to name a few) in a variety of ways (testifying at hearings, contacting key decision makers, inspiring employers to run family forward workplaces, and collecting stories from Oregonians who need modern family policies), depending on what’s timely and where we can add a strong voice for Oregon’s families. Our current focus is earned sick time for all workers, and we’d love to have you join us.

2. Host a “High Cost of Motherhood & How We Can Lower It Discussion and Action Course” for Mothers. The discussion and action course our group just completed is a great way to connect with a group of mothers who want to learn more about issues that impact families and map out a plan for action. Anyone, anywhere can start a course. Here’s how.

3. Share Your Story With Us! Stories are important. When we tell them, we learn we are not alone and we help others see that, too. As we work to change workplace and public policy to work for today’s families, we want to explain the kinds of things families are experiencing.

4. Be Heard. Sign up for your state legislators’ email list and attend their next local Town Hall meeting.

Still hungry for more compelling reading? Check out the Maternal Wall from the Gender Bias Learning Project, a graphic about paid family leave around the world; and read How the Zero Weeks of Paid Maternity Leave in the U.S. Compare Globally from Think Progress.

We hope you’ve found our weekly guest blog posts informative and inspirational, and we hope you’ll find a way to join us in our efforts very soon!

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