Thursday, April 14, 2011

BIG NEWS ON AB 130 and AB 131!!!

Hello Blog Followers,

Good news as of yesterday! The California State Assembly Committee on Appropriations voted Wednesday (yesterday) on two bills that together comprise the California DREAM Act, resulting in the approval of AB 130 and the suspension of AB 131. Thus, our lobbying efforts were not in vain! AB 130 would allow undocumented college students access to scholarships at the institutions they attend school. This bill would not cost the state a dime, and would greatly help these undocumented college students from achieving their dreams!

More updates to come....

Monday, April 11, 2011

Legislative Lobby Days 2011 Day #3: Lobbying at the CA State Capitol

Today over 700 social workers and social work students lobbied three very important bills; AB 12, AB 131+130, and AB 671 and rallied outside the California State Legislature loud enough for the legislature to hear us inside the building.

Nine UCLA students served as “team leaders” and lead teams of social work students from around the state into the officers of state Assembly Members and State Senators to speak with them and their staffers about the bills NASW supports this year. Over 40 UCLA social work students were members on various teams lead by fellow social work students, passionately expressed their support for the bills and provided personal stories to convey the importance of these bills to our clients and ourselves.

A videographer followed one group of MSW students group, lead by NASW President Mary Kay Oliveri, into the office of Ted Lieu (CA State Senator) where students met with Senator Lieu’s Chief of Staff. Another student, Laura Gregg was able to be apart of the group lobbying in Governor Jerry Brown’s office. One lucky UCLA student, Gia, was a part of the group that was introduced on the assembly floor of the State Legislature—the group was applauded for all they do as social workers.

After the legislative appointments, social work students and professionals gathered on the North steps of the Capitol for a public action rally. NASW Chapter President and UCLA Field Faculty member, Mary Kay Oliveri, opened the rally with an inspirational speech. From there, student representatives from various schools took the mic and led the enthusiastic crowd in chants.  Assembly Member Sandre Swanson, author of AB 12, in addition to a few other assembly members, addressed the crowd and thanked us for our support and dedication.  At the end of the rally a videographer from UCLA conducted brief interviews with several first and second year students to ask about their experience at Legislative Lobby Days.

Spirits were soaring high at the end of the day! Every student in attendance today gushed about their amazing experiences lobbying in the Capitol for what they believe in most: social justice, human rights, and the protection of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Below are some words from the UCLA student participants in this lobbying effort:

“Lobby Days was a very valuable experience for me as a student, social worker and advocate. Lobbying for AB 12 gave me a chance to speak on behalf of my clients whose lives have been impacted as a result of sexual violence and exploitation. It was a powerful experience to be the voice for the pain, trauma and disempowerment that my clients and many other women and children have been through.”—Tannaz Alagheband, 1st year MSW Candidate

“Lobby Days 2011 exceeded my expectations. Not only was it an opportunity to put macro skills into practice and network with other social work students and professionals, it provided an opportunity to deepen the connection between our own classmates. It was an inspirational experience to rally alongside social workers to create change.”—Hazel Larimer, 1st year MSW Candidate

“As a micro student, Lobby Days helped my social work education come full circle. I learned that advocacy is integral to our profession and our responsibility as social workers.”—Brittany Rudinica, 1st year MSW Candidate

The UCLA Crew at the Rally on the Steps of the Capitol Building          

UCLA Students meet Assembly member Swanson  

 UCLA Students holding posters at the rally 
 Second Year MSWs!!!

 First Year MSWs!!!

 NASW President Mary Kay Oliveri and Renee Garett 

 Carlos Amador speaking on AB 130 and 131 

 NASW President Mary Kay Oliveri pumping up the crowed! 

Speaking on AB 12 

UCLA students participating in the NASW rally 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Legislative Lobby Days-NASW Conference

Today over 1000 California MSW students and professionals attended the annual NASW Legislative Lobby Days conference at the Radisson hotel in Sacramento.  At the conference, students learned about the legislative process, the CA state budget, and the three bills we would be lobbying for at our legislative appointments (AB 671, AB 130+131, and AB 12). We also heard from a variety of inspirational speakers--three of which were second-year UCLA MSW students.  Carlos Amador spoke about key talking points to present to legislators in regards to AB 130+131--The CA version of the Dream Act. Carlos also shared a moving personal story about his struggle to pay UC tuition as an undocumented student. Carlos received a standing ovation and the energy in the room was warm and enthusiastic.  Renee Garett and Rachel Woodhull presented a powerpoint about AB 12--the Abolition of Commerce, Exploitation, and Sexual Slavery Act. The powerpoint included an interview with a survivor turned advocate for human trafficking, Maria Suarez. Much of the audience was moved to tears and several people made generous donations to contribute to Maria's advocacy and outreach efforts to end human trafficking. At the end of the conference, students met with their team leaders to review the bills and prepare for their legislative appointments tomorrow at the Capitol.  

After the conference we had a dinner to celebrate UCLA's successful contributions and leadership role at the conference!  Students mingled and bonded over a beautiful buffet spread. At the end of a long day, we are exhausted but delighted to have participated in this incredible event, and we look forward to being the voice of our clients tomorrow, both in our legislative appointments and at the action rally on the steps of the Capitol building! 

Amanda and Gia at the team leader training

Students in the courtyard of the Radisson where the conference was held

At the conference!

Bruin Pride!!!

Rachel and Renee presenting on AB 12--Abolition of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Soaking up Vitamin D during the lunch break

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."--Mahatma Ghandi 

Carlos Amador speaking about  AB 130 + 130--CA version of the Dream Act!

NASW CA Chapter President and UCLA Field Faculty member--Mary Kay Oliveri

Celebratory dinner after an inspiring day at the conference! 

Students dancing salsa and merengue in celebration!

UCLA Legislative Lobby Days 2011 Crew!

Yeah...we like each other! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011


UCLA MSW Students boarded the bus this morning excited and enthusiastic about the weekend ahead in Sacramento. We arrived at our hotel around 4pm, rested and then 9 UCLA students went to the Team Leader Training to learn about the 3 bills more in depth and how to effectively lobby on Monday. One of our student leaders, Gia, will have the honor of being introduced on the Assembly Floor with her team of 13 students Monday afternoon to be recognized as representatives of NASW and the social work profession. 
Several other UCLA students headed to either the volunteer training or into downtown Sacramento for dinner and the local Art Walk. Spirits are high and students are excited for the days ahead. Rachel and Renee (the NASW Region H students liaison's) will be presenting tomorrow at the NASW conference on the issue of human trafficking as it relates to AB 12 and our lobbying efforts as social workers. 

Below is an update about Gia's personal experience at Legislative Lobby Days thus far:

Hey, readers!  We really appreciate you following along!  I just wanted to
share a little about my personal experience today.

I was one of the last people to board the bus, but because I got to carpool
and sit on the bus with my good friend Diva Sanchez, it all worked out.  On
the way up, we watched "Love Acctually," and episodes of "Dawson's Creek,"
and "The Wire" in between brief announcements and a fun ice breaker.
Everyone introduced themselves with the megaphone and told the group their
favorite foods.  We had time to nap, chat, or even read up on the bills we
would be lobbying.  Personally, I was drained from the week, but the
excitement was building.

Once we arrived, people had a chance to rest and get ready to explore
downtown Sacramento... or in some cases, to attend the team leader
training.  This is something that nine first and second year students,
including, Renee, Rachel, Carlos, and myself volunteered for.  The extra
review of our legislative days event and team leader roles really fired me
up.  Our NASW Legislative Days have as many participants as we can get into
the legislator's offices and they include a component that most professional
lobby group won't: advocacy for the populations we serve, not just
ourselves.  We also reviewed and discussed each bill and the arguments we
might be facing, which really reinforced the packets.  At the very end,
right after I unintentionally called myself out as being on the team that
spoke with the governor's aide last year, I discovered that this year I will
also be unepexectedly participating in an amazing Legislative Days
opportunity.  My team of 14 members total is going to be visiting Senator
Christine Kehoe, who offered to introduce us on the Assembly floor as
representatives of NASW and social workers.  I am still processing this
amazing honor!

I am so excited about training tomorrow where we will build up even more
enthusiasm as a group, uniting as compassionate, informed, and confident
SOCIAL WORKERS storming Sacramento this weekend!


Introductions on the bus 

Carlos leading chants on the bus (:

At the team leader training

                                                                       GO UCLA !!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Hello All! 
Legislative Lobby Days is almost here! In two short days we will be on the bus to the capitol to lobby for the three amazing bills NASW picked for 2011.

We had a meeting today to prepare for our departure Saturday and made some amazing posters. We have some real artists in the MSW program (:

The energy levels are high and we are ready to take on Lobby Days UCLA style (: More posts to come all weekend long and updates next week once we return to Los Angeles.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Hello MSWs and blog followers, 

I wanted to let everyone know the bills for this years Leg/Lobby Days are as follows:

AB 12 : Abolition of Child Commerce, Exploitation Slavery Act

AB 130 and 131 : California DREAM Act

AB 671 : PCW Educational Standards for Supervisors - an MSW or a certificate in public child welfare policy, practice, and research with supervised hours.


I am proud to be apart of the UCLA MSW group going to Sacramento to lobby for these three very important bills. We want them all to pass, so please start reading up on these bills and thinking of arguments to present to the CA state assembly members and state senators. 

See the below links for more information about these bills.  

AB 12:

AB 130 and 131:

AB 671:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

2011 Updates

Hello MSWs and blog followers, 

A much needed update is in order.....

We have 43 people officially registered for Legislative Lobby Days this year!!! This means UCLA will be a loud voice among the crowed of social workers and MSW students at Legislative Lobby Days 2011.

We have reserved a bus and our hotel rooms and are logistically ready to begin our advocacy efforts in Sacramento April 9th 10th and 11th.

We have received generous donations from several sources thus far:

$1,000 from NASW Region H
$1,500 from The Luskin School of Public Affairs
$3,5000 from the Social Welfare Dept.

These donations will provide us with enough funding to pay for our way up to the capitol and our lodging and we are so grateful and honored to have the support of UCLA and NASW Region H. 

In order to fund meals and other costs of our trip we are selling T-shirts (see below post) and have many shirts still available. Please contact if you are interesting in buying shirts for your friends, family, and co-workers or if you know anyone else that would like to buy a shirt from you. Please feel free to pick up shirts to sell on your own from Toby Hur's office at the UCLA School of Public Affairs. 

Lastly, In order to keep our minds thinking about how we can be the most effective advocates for our clients at Legislative Lobby Days, here are "Rules of Effective Advocacy"

1.  Get to know legislators well ‐ their districts and constituencies, voting records, personal schedules,  opinions, expertise and interests. Be sure to have a good understanding of the legislator and his/her concerns, priorities and perspectives.   
2.  Acquaint yourself with the staff members for the legislators, committees and resource officials with  whom you will be working. These people are essential sources of information and have significant  influence in some instances in the development of policy.   
3.  Identify fellow advocates and partners in the public health community to better understand the  process, monitor legislation, and assess strengths and weaknesses. Finding common ground on an  issue sometimes brings together strange bedfellows but makes for a stronger coalition.   
4.  Identify the groups and other legislators with whom you may need to negotiate for changes in  legislation. Do not dismiss anyone because of previous disagreements or because you lack a history  of working together. ʺYesterdayʹs opponent may be todayʹs ally.ʺ   
5.  Foster and strengthen relationships with allies and work with legislators who are flexible and tend to  keep an open mind. Donʹt allow anyone to consider you a bitter enemy because you disagree.   
6.  Be honest, straightforward and realistic when working with legislators and their staff. Donʹt make  promises you canʹt keep. Never lie or mislead a legislator about the importance of an issue, the  oppositionʹs position or strength or other matters.   
7.  Be polite, remember names and thank those who help you ‐ both in the legislature and in the public  health advocacy community.   
8.  Learn the legislative process and understand it well. Keep on top of the issues and be aware of  controversial and contentious areas.   
Be brief, clear, accurate, persuasive, timely, persistent, grateful and polite when presenting your  position and communicating what you need/want from the legislator or staff member.   
Be sure to follow up with legislators and their staff. If you offer your assistance or promise to provide  additional information, do so in a timely and professional manner. Be a reliable resource for them today and in the future.