Last week, at an event hosted by United Neighborhood Houses (UNH), a 100 year old entity that represents 46 neighborhood settlement houses, reaching 765,000 New Yorkers, SCAN-Harbor’s board president, Jamel Oeser-Sweat was invited to speak on a panel discussion on advocacy for human services. We are honored to have been included in such a way, given space as a leader among so many historically impactful organizations.
Here is what UNH had to say about the event:
Last night, our community came together to discuss our long-standing commitment to community-led advocacy. We were energized and inspired by our panelists, Melissa Aase, CEO of University Settlement; Wayne Ho, President and CEO of CPC; Jamel Oeser-Sweat, SCAN-Harbor Board Chair; and Councilmember Althea Stevens, as well as Bryna Sanger, UNH Board President, who welcomed the audience, acknowledging UNH is committed to advocating for good public policies that make our communities stronger.
The panelists shared insights on the importance of advocacy, the many forms it takes and the ways each of us can work for positive change in our communities. They were unanimous in calling advocacy a core settlement house principle, one that they have each woven into their work in various ways. All our speakers reminded us that advocacy should be rooted in community, that relationship development should transcend transactional politics, and that our asks should be honest reflections of real needs based on what is happening in communities.
We are grateful to all who attended and shared this event with their networks, to our host, UNH Board member Donna Joseph, and our moderator, UNH Policy and Advocacy Board Committee Chair Ilene Margolin. We are grateful to be part of a network with such curious and thoughtful leadership and to our shared commitment to strengthen communities through both direct service and systems change. We look forward to future convenings.