This is an ongoing project, but it is something I am quite passionate about. In early 2019, when I was the North Carolina state director for March For Our Lives, I created a program called Lobby For Our Lives. It was a grassroots approach to lobbying that harnessed the power of volunteer students who we trained in order to directly engage with their representatives. It was wildly successful, especially for a gerrymandered red-state legislature like the one that exists in NC. If you want to read more about the specifics of the program, I have a post about Lobby For Our Lives linked here. This post, however, is about the website I set out to make in 2021, to revive the Lobby For Our Lives program under the current state leadership, and make it easier for volunteers to participate. In addition to those goals, I also wanted this website to make legislation related to guns and gun violence prevention accessible. I will update this post when this project is completed but wanted to share it here in the meantime anyway.
I used WordPress as the web development platform of choice, because of its customization and scalability. As far as web design goes, I used the same theme that I created for the main March For Our Lives NC website. The post about that can be found here.
The first part of the homepage aims to draw the potential organizer in and provide them with a host of resources should any immediate questions come up. The menu button leads you to a lightbox containing a contact button and a link to the lobbying sign-up page.
The second part of the homepage is meant to provide clear next steps for the organizers. I wanted this homepage to be relatively simple so that people aren't overwhelmed with information when they visit the site for the first time. In the footer, there is a search bar where people can search for bills currently going through the NC General Assembly. The policy team would regularly update a list of bills so that I could update the database. This was another important feature of the website: make policymaking accessible and readable to the public. This entire project is focused on bringing the political process just a little bit closer to the average North Carolinian.
Another part of this website is the lobbying dashboard, this is the part that is more in progress. I wanted to make the process to get involved in Lobby For Our Lives straightforward, so I created this page as a short explainer and place for people to get involved.
I chose to use this language because I find that people are often mobilized when they feel that it is their duty to do something, or if that something is very important, which of course it is.
This part of the page was more FAQ, and just some information on the state of Lobby For Our Lives given the COVID-19 pandemic still in full force at the time of this website's creation.
The last part of this page is an exact replica of the buttons on the homepage. It presents immediate options for how to get involved, without overwhelming the potential organizer.
Although this project is in progress, it's a project very near to my heart and something that I believe could be very effective if employed at state and local levels.