March Toward Policy Advocacy! A Panel Discussion

A conversation on policy advocacy in Rhode Island with local luminary policy advocates Wendy Becker, Denise Crooks, and Volta Tran.

  • Date: March 4, 2022
  • Time: 2:30 PM EST
  • Location: This event was on Zoom and has concluded.

Our panelists will discuss their extensive experience with policy advocacy in Rhode Island, reflect on how they first got involved in this work, and provide tips for how to get students engaged in local issues. Join us for an event which will be of interest to faculty and students preparing for careers in policy alike.

About our panelists:
  • Volta Tran (pictured above, at left) is a Trans Health Education and Policy Specialist at Thundermist Health Center, facilitator of the RI Trans Action Coalition, and a board member of SAGE RI (Advocacy & Services for LGBTQ+ Elders). She received a 2021 NASS (National Association of Secretaries of State) Medallion Award for her work developing, a resource for trans and non-binary voters in RI that includes a guide on how to update one’s ID documents.
  • Denise Crooks, (above, right) MPH, LICSW is a social worker with a focus on providing care to transgender and gender diverse Rhode Islanders. She is also the Co-Director of the LGBTQ Scholarly Concentration at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School. Since 2016, Denise has organized for policy change at the state level to improve the lives and well-being of LGBTQ+ Rhode Islanders including passage of a bill to ban conversion therapy, passage of the Rhode Island Uniform Parentage Act, and the addition of non-binary gender markers on state IDs. She is also a co-founder of two policy advocacy organizations, LGBTQ Action RI and Rhode Islanders for Parentage Equality. 
  • Wendy Becker, PhD, MSW, is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Rhode Island College where she teaches social work practice and policy. She was the founding Director of Youth Pride, an organization for LGBTQ youth and has been working on legislative and institutional change and equity for the last 35 years. Among key legislative and policy change efforts, she was involved in campaigns to pass the RI’s civil rights bill, secure marriage equality and parentage equality, improve school climates, and ban conversion therapy.