Case Study: Campaign for Dreamers

In the spring of 2018, students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross formed a campaign to provide Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship and protect family-based immigration. They formed into the following 5 teams to accomplish the following responsibilities:

Organizing Team: identify leaders in the community and on campus; conduct one-to-one relational meetings; build a constituency and produce turnout for events.

Traditional Media Team: write and publish op-eds; draft and circulate petition/collect signatures; contact local news media to cover events.

Social Media Team: create branding for campaign; stories to garner interest; publicize events; serve as a repository for campaign phases.

Events Team: plan and host prayer service to gather community and educate them on issue; plan and host call-in for community to contact legislators; organize and execute march from campus to Senator’s office.

Legislative Team: identify decision maker(s); research policy platform and voting record of decision maker(s); set-up and conduct meeting with decision maker(s).

After participating in an advocacy-skills workshop led by Catholic Relief Services, students formed into teams and in six weeks’ time accomplished the following:

Launched campaign brand via social media.

Drafted a petition with two Asks for Senators Donnelly (D-IN) and Young (R-IN) and Representative Walorski (R-IN): (1) Support a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers; and (2) Protect family-based immigration – both in alignment with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Hosted prayer vigil with campus partner (Campus Ministry) and community partner (La Casa de Amistad) to inform the campus community on the issue of DACA, frame the campaign according to CST, and offer a prayer of solidarity among members of campus and the community.

Wrote and published op-eds in school newspapers (The Observer, The Rover), as well as a national publication (Today’s Catholic), with each piece tailored to the respective audiences. Op-eds included personal stories of Dreamers, facts on the issue to support moral and economic arguments, and a petition for readers to access and sign.

Hosted a Call-In session as part of the national Call-In day launched by the USCCB, providing scripts and talking points for campus and community members to call their respective members of Congress throughout the country.

Collected over 500 petition signatures, including those of University and College leaders.

Set-up and conducted meetings with the local offices of all three targeted legislators (Sens. Donnelly and Young, Rep Walorski), engaged in dialogue on the issue, shared personal stories, offered persuasive arguments, presented signed petitions, and made the official two-fold ask of the campaign.

Organized a march from campus to Senator Donnelly’s office in downtown South Bend to demonstrate solidarity, raise public awareness, and hold our legislators accountable; invited local media stations which led to coverage on three different channels.

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