Opportunity Nation’s First Hill Day•
Opportunity Scholars Marvin Mathew, Melissa Horr and Mawish Raza on Capitol Hill for Opportunity Nation Hill Day
I am heartened and inspired by Opportunity Nation’s first Hill Day this week, by the energy and passion of our Opportunity Leaders and Scholars, by the power of our bipartisan message and by the positive response from Members of Congress and their staff. Even in this divisive political environment, our leaders want and need to find ways to improve educational and economic outcomes for their constituents. And we were able to articulate and advocate concrete ways to aid in that effort.
Two dozen Opportunity Leaders and Scholars were joined by coalition members and our friends and staff. We urged members of Congress to support measures that will expand educational and economic opportunity for our nation’s youth.
After a dynamic discussion Tuesday evening that included an overview of President Obama’s education agenda by Lexi Barrett, Senior Policy Advisor, White House Domestic Policy Council, and helpful tips from Barney Skladany Jr., Akin Gump, and Danica Petroshius, Rich Stombres, Penn Hill Group, we felt ready to blanket Capitol Hill Wednesday morning.
Over a span of nine hours Wednesday, our team held more than 50 meetings with Members of the House and Senate and their staffs from California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Washington.
Our Leaders and Scholars provided heartfelt testimonies and powerful information that clearly made an impression on our leaders. They shared their on-the-ground efforts to expand opportunity in those states and shared our Opportunity Index and key elements of our Shared Plan.
- “It was great to spend time with Congressman Barrow’s staff and really talk about the needs of some of the Georgia communities within his district,” said Opportunity Leader Jeremy Foreman. “Montgomery County has a D rating right now (on the Opportunity Index), Richmond County where Augusta is based has a C- so it was great to talk about some of the immediate steps we can take to move the needle on those numbers.”
- “Rep. Cummings’ staff was so excited about … our education policy and that got me excited and we connected on Twitter and now we are going to continue our conversations about how we can make West Baltimore better,” said Opportunity Scholar Marvin Mathew.
- “My favorite part of today was meeting with a staff member from Congressman Markey’s office and talking about need for collaboration and being able to better support our communities through collaboration,” said Opportunity Leader Melissa Horr.
Opportunity Nation Senior Associate Lizzie Burns, Opportunity Leader Gladys Pineda-Loher, Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and Opportunity Leader Leah Lomotey-Nakon
Opportunity Leaders Jim Scheibel and Jennifer Pennington, Opportunity Nation Deputy Director Elizabeth Clay Roy, Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Opportunity Leader Hong Yang
Congressman John Barrow’s staff member Jonathan Arogeti discusses the Opportunity Index with Opportunity Leader Jeremy Foreman
To learn more about our Hill Day, please check out some media highlights below:
- Miami Herald op-ed I coauthored with Opportunity Leader Walker Moseley urging more Americans to reach out to their elected officials in a personal way
- Interview on The Talk Station 107.1 FM North Carolina with myself and Opportunity Leader Trevor Brownlow
- President Rob Denson, Des Moines Area Community College, appearing on Good Day Iowa
It will take all of us, working together. That was our message to Congress and that’s how we know we will increase opportunity in all 50 states over the next 10 years.
P.S. Thank you to our Steering Committee, Coalition and other partners who joined us for our Hill Day: CFED; Jobs for the Future; Barclaycard US; Corporate Voices for Working Families; Roosevelt Institute Campus Network; United Way Worldwide; World Vision; Year Up; Close Up Foundation and Young Invincibles. We couldn’t have done it without you!