One of the core advocacy measures that MCR members are encouraged to participate in is testifying in front of the Board of Education about issues that they are passionate about. While many members may be familiar with the process of testifying at Board meetings, for some, it can be difficult to get involved because of the challenges in learning the ins-and-outs of giving a good testimony.
Fortunately, MCR’s Legislative Department has compiled an all-inclusive guide to testifying, which will be available in both Spanish and English. A simplified version of the guide was presented as a workshop during the October Executive Board meeting, and covered the full process, detailing every step of the way from signing up to testify to helpful tips for the day of.
Some key points that the workshop covered included telling a personal story when testifying as to humanize the testimony since the Board wants to hear about real student experiences when they are deciding important policies. Including statistics can be convincing, but the guide recommends that these be brief and always tie back to the emotional aspect of the testimony.
Even though speaking up at a Board meeting can be intimidating for a lot of people, Legislative Affairs Director Uma Fox advised students who want to get involved, “Don’t be afraid. We’ve all spoken before, and if you can speak – even if you can’t speak – if you can communicate, you can testify.”
Language barriers are not roadblocks to testifying either.
Fox added, “If you want to testify, even if English is not your first language and you prefer to communicate in another one, you have the opportunity too. And MCPS or MCR can provide an interpreter. You should not be blocked from testifying for not speaking the language.”
For any student, regardless of MCR participation, who wants to get involved in expressing their experiences and advocating for others by testifying in front of the Board, the BOE website provides a list of sign-up opportunities that are open to community participation, which can all be accessed here