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Advocacy Training 


We offer regular, free, public, and/or custom advocacy training for individuals and organizations interested in influencing the state legislative process in Illinois. Our training begins with a set of basics, including information about how the process works and how to engage in the process in a constructive way. We also offer more in-depth training for seasoned advocates who are looking to be more effective working in partnerships or dealing with tough opposition. While our focus is on criminal justice reform, the training can be useful in other issue areas.

To protect our staff and advocates from unnecessary exposure to COVID-19, we are now offering online training sessions. See below for public sessions in the coming weeks. If you would like custom training for your organization or network, please contact Jobi Cates at jcates@restorejustice.org.


UPCOMING FREE, VIRTUAL TRAINING

We don’t have a training scheduled at this time. Please check back.

State Legislative Advocacy 101

  • Learn about legislative advocacy, and understand when and why it is useful
  • Familiarize yourself with how a bill becomes a law in Illinois
  • Develop skills to help you navigate a day in Springfield
  • Identify your representatives
  • Practice key research tools to understand how representatives are influenced
  • Map your influence


OTHER AVAILABLE TRAININGS

How to Tell Your Story as an Advocate

  • Introduce yourself to policymakers
  • Develop your own “message triangle” to share your story quickly
  • Practice telling your story for advocacy purposes

How To Talk About Criminal Justice Reform

  • Some basic facts about Illinois’ criminal justice system
  • Understanding different audiences
  • Speaking constructively with opponents

Difficult Conversations

  • Speak constructively with opponents
  • Work with unexpected emotions
  • Manage conflict

Plan For A Push

  • Set and vet your agenda
  • Identify champions and allies
  • Create good boundaries for working in partnerships and coalitions


Who usually attends?

  • Staff from non-profit organizations who are new to policy advocacy or want a refresher
  • Members of faith groups and clergy
  • Formerly incarcerated people
  • Family members of incarcerated people
  • Students at all different levels
  • Activists from movements or campaigns
  • Members of the gun violence prevention movement who are interested in learning more about CJ reform
  • Professionals who want to use their advocacy time more effectively

Organizations that have utilized our training:

  • BUILD
  • DePaul Students Against Incarceration
  • IL-CHEP
  • Goldin Institute
  • Metropolitan Planning Council
  • Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation
  • Willow Creek Prison Ministry

What our trainees say:

“Thank you again for hosting the Advocacy Camp last week! It was such perfect timing for me as I started my new role at the [gov. criminal justice policy org] only a week earlier and needed a refresher course. I so much appreciate your thoughtful responses to the questions I’d been thinking about. You, Marshan, and Julie are excellent facilitators and I’d love to take part in any other trainings you may have in the future.” – young criminal justice advocate, new to role at government organization

“I think I am still on a cloud after your teaching last Saturday!  What a gift you were to our group. … We all learned so much, and you just have a great way of sharing your heart on a complicated topic!” – leader of prison ministry in suburban church

“Thank you! I learned so much. I have a nephew in IDOC facing a life sentence, this was his first offense.” – public health outreach worker

“I was going to write you a letter telling you how good your panel-hosting and  presentation were at the recent event at Lewis University, but then I went to Restore Justice’s website and saw something coming up soon. I’m free if you want me to attend [again]. I loved it!” – state senator

“I’ve done this training before but I keep coming because I learn something new every time.” – former juvenile lifer 

“I’m glad I came because as a gun violence advocate, I need to understand how this works and how to talk about things in a way that does not hurt other people.” – parent of gun violence victim


Restore Justice offers training, free of cost, to colleague organizations seeking to engage their own staff, board, participants, or constituents in the legislative process in Illinois. Please contact Jobi Cates at jcates@restorejustice.org to schedule a training.

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