My First Lobbying Experience: Mental Health and Criminal Justice Reform

By Kaitlyn Mellom, Advocacy Intern

Lobbying is a crucial component in the advancement of bills that benefit those who do not have a voice in the governmental process. While some may be intimidated by lobbying, it is one of the most effective ways to progress as a community. In an effort to better understand the role of mental health in multicultural communities, I attended a Lobby Day as a part of Black History Month. Because I have not lobbied before, I was not completely sure what to expect in attending this event, however, this experience showed me the importance of lobbying for change. From the lack of mental health education in schools to crimeless revocations, policies must be modified.

Representative David Crowley is a strong advocate for changes to mental health policy and hosted a workshop on Lobby Day featuring Crystal Hester, Advocacy Coordinator of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Wisconsin, who spoke on the importance of advocating and bill proposals which benefit mental health. One proposal is State Superintendent Tony Evers’  budget request for mental health education in schools, which you can read more about here. This is also the proposal that I chose to lobby for because I believe it is an essential element in today’s schooling. Unfortunately, I was unable to contact a number of legislators that afternoon but I was able to connect with the assistant to Representative Tittl, who seemed interested in hearing my thoughts.

Another workshop, hosted by Senator Lena Taylor, focused on Criminal Justice within our nation and, more specifically, our state. The need for change is seen in Milwaukee 53206, directed and produced by Keith Mcquirter, which focuses on the most incarcerated ZIP code in the nation, with 62% of its adult men having spent time in prison. This film exposes the ironic injustices within the Justice System and shows how incarceration affects more than simply the individual behind bars.

I learned so much in attending this Lobby Day  and I encourage you to take a stance on current proposals and make your thoughts be heard.

Contact our office at 608-249-7188 or email me at to learn more about how you can advocate for change.

Learn more about Milwaukee 53206 by visiting their website: