Among SAA’s highest priorities is to advocate for issues on behalf of archives and archivists. In August 2008 the Council approved formation of a Government Affairs Working Group and charged that group to begin its work by developing an Advocacy Agenda for Council approval. Development and ongoing review and refinement of an Advocacy Agenda provides the Society with a means to organize its advocacy efforts, make conscious decisions about its priorities, frame its messages, work proactively on key issues, and respond quickly and effectively to policymaker and media inquiries.
At its May 31–June 2 meeting the Council adopted the following motion:
THAT the “Advocacy Agenda 2009-2010 (version 053109),” as drafted by the Government Affairs Working Group and revised by the Council, be adopted as a working document that will be distributed to the SAA membership from June to August 2009 for comment and refinement; and
THAT a revision incorporating member comment be reviewed by the SAA Council at its August 10, 2009, meeting; and
THAT the Government Affairs Working Group develop a series of issue briefs, beginning with those Advocacy Agenda issues that are of the highest priority for member, policymaker, and public awareness, and submit those briefs for Council or Executive Committee review and comment as they are completed, with a goal of completing an issue brief for each issue identified in the Advocacy Agenda by the time of the May 2010 Council meeting.
The intent of the agenda itself will be to provide a simple statement on a given issue, which will serve as the basis for a much broader discussion of the issue via a discussion paper, white paper, or such other document as provides the details that may be needed by various interested audiences (such as members, policymakers, and the media) to have a full understanding of the issue and SAA’s stance on it. (For an example, see the National Humanities Alliance’s “Issues at a Glance” on its website at www.nhalliance.org.) The SAA staff will develop a more robust “Advocacy” Web page that highlights the Agenda, with appropriate links to discussion papers, calls for action, other organizations’ agendas, and additional information.
The agenda is intended to be an evolving and changeable document that is updated as needed, and at least annually. To ensure that the Advocacy Agenda represents broad interests, the Council stressed the importance of soliciting member comment.
Do you agree with the approach to framing of the specific issues? (In each case the Government Affairs Working Group would draft an “SAA supports” statement along with an issue brief. As appropriate, a “Call to Action” statement would also be developed―and updated as needed―to stimulate action by SAA members and other networks.)