In the past, National Reunification Day hosted by the Family Defense Center has served to celebrate family reunification and preservation in the face of adversity, especially from the child welfare system. We want to celebrate reunification and promote parents, family members, and those negatively affected by the system to become advocates for change. In keeping with this goal, we held a National Reunification Day program on June 7, 2014, at the Logan Square Library in Chicago. The program was as follows:
- Welcome by Diane Redleaf, FDC Executive Director, Nationally Recognized Child and Family Advocate
- MONOLOGUE PERFORMANCE: “My Life” by Suzanne Sellers
- PARENT PANEL: The Journey to Becoming an Advocate
- Michelle Weidner, Advocate on Medical Accountability
- Suzanne Sellers, Advocate for Parental Rights
- Kim Tice, Advocate for Incarcerated Mothers
- BREAKOUT DISCUSSION GROUP: The Tools You Need for your Advocacy Journey
- Closing Remarks by Angela Inzano, Staff Attorney/Policy Coordinator
National Reunification Day was the first in a series of workshops that the Family Defense Center hosted over a year long period that aimed to culminate in participants meeting with their legislators to advocate for positive change in the child welfare system. There will be three follow up events, all led by parent advocate, Suzanne Sellers, and staff attorney and policy project coordinator, Angela Inzano.
- Learning to Write Your Story
- Description: This workshop will focus on personal narratives and giving those attendees the tools to communicate their stories in writing, with a focus on writing for newspapers, blogs, editorials, letter campaigns, etc.
- Learning to Speak Your Story
- Description: This workshop will focus on giving the attendees the tools to feel comfortable speaking out about their experiences, and appropriate strategies to use addressing different crowds.
- Learning to Use Your Story for Change
- Description: Workshop will focus on how to approach legislators, the legislative process, and how you can become your own best advocate in front of a real legislator