We just finished up a full two-year legislative session to get the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill passed in Massachusetts. Some of you longtime advocates may be disappointed that a third session has gone by with no law passed. No law means more suffering, more stress, and even more suicide contemplation for workplace bullying targets.
But legislative change takes time and persistence. It takes education, awareness building, and passion. No social change happened overnight or even in just a couple years. School bullying legislation even took years to pass until the suicide of student Phoebe Prince catapulted the topic to an urgent level. (We’re looking for those stories.)
Where we’ve come
We’ve built huge momentum both inside and outside the State House:
- Nearly 6,000 citizens to contact at each step in the two-year process
- Almost 1/3 of the entire State Legislature as official bill sponsors in the last session, up from 1/5 of the entire State Legislature in the previous session
Five short months
We have five short months until the next legislative session in January. It’s not a time to take a breather. Just the opposite. It’s time to further build up our masses inside and outside the State House. While we’re working on the logistics of a planning meeting this fall to focus on outside the State House, we need to continue working on inside the State House in these three ways:
- Email tool. Here’s the easy part: all you need is about 10 seconds to email your state rep and senator using this incredibly simple tool. If you do nothing else, that’s a huge help.
- Legislator meetings. What would be even better is to meet with your legislators, or even just one of them, locally or at the State House. All legislators have local office hours and State House office hours. Schedule a meeting, share why you want the bill to pass, and know you’ve made a huge step toward making history. (If you can get a group of former or current colleagues or friends to go, even better.)
- Ripple effect. Share the email tool with colleagues and friends. The only thing simpler than using our email tool to write your legislators is to hit Share on this posting. You never know who the message will resonate with. If a friend shares with another friend, you might even take someone out of isolation or suicide contemplation. A little goes a long way.
Stay tuned for information on our planning meeting. In the meantime, think about how you can help pass this bill.
And thank you for your efforts to help make workplace bullying illegal in Massachusetts. You’re already helping to make a difference in people’s lives when they learn the term “workplace bullying,” put a name to what they’re experiencing, and begin to heal.
If you live in Massachusetts and are interested in testifying at the State House (date to be determined) OR submitting written testimonial for a packet for legislators, e-mail your story to Greg Sorozan at email@example.com NO LATER THAN Friday, January 11, 2013. Your story should be 1-2 pages. For story examples, visit http://www.mahealthyworkplace.com/workplace/crystal.html.
The Healthy Workplace Bill Advocates are an all-volunteer group. You’ve done an amazing job with using your spare time to get us this far this session. Now let’s hear your ideas on how to get us even further.
It’s time to get creative. We want your ideas of how to build awareness about the Healthy Workplace Bill. Think big. Think about what made you get involved. Think about your connections.
Here’s a list of what we’re looking for, but toss out any ideas about how to raise awareness of workplace bullying and this bill:
1. A visual display. The Clothesline Project raised visibility for domestic abuse. Hundreds of flags on the Boston Common gave a moving tribute to fallen heroes on Memorial Day. Superheroes went to meetings to protest the MBTA fare hikes. What visual display can we have for workplace abuse to build awareness of this issue and this bill?
2. Ads. Think about some of the best advertising you’ve seen. Then think about what this bill means at its core. What simple advertising campaign concepts can we use to spread the word on Facebook?
3. Connections. Know anyone who heads up or is part of a civil rights group who we can partner with? Think of groups of people in already protected classes. Do you also have media connections?
Let us know your thoughts.
LEGISLATIVE ALERT: We’re targeting Republican reps to support this bill in the House — one final push before July 31, 2012, to get this bill passed this session.
If you live in any of these towns or know of people living in these them, write or call your rep or pass along the word to contact the rep TODAY, asking your rep to support H2310, the Healthy Workplace Bill:
Andover, Attleboro, Auburn, Billerica, Bridgewater, East Falmouth, East Sandwich, Gardner, Grafton, Groton, Holden, Ipswich, Lakeville, Mansfield, Marlborough, Norfolk, North Attleboro, North Reading, Palmer, Pembroke, Plymouth, Saugus, Seekonk, Shrewsbury, Southwick, Spencer, Sutton, Uxbridge, Wareham, Westfield, and Whitman
If you know people specifically in North Reading, ask them to call their Rep Brad Jones, House Minority Leader.