by Natalie Owens '24
University of Mount Union senior, Leah Kadlecek ’24 was recently chosen as one of 20 students to serve as an Advocacy Corps member with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) during the 2023-2024 academic year.
photo by Taylor Monet Photography/FCNL
The FCNL is a nonpartisan organization that lobbies Congress and the administration to advance peace, justice, and environmental stewardship.
Kadlecek is a double major in political science and sociology with minors in legal studies and peacebuilding and social justice. She currently serves as the vice president of the Pre-Law Society and Student Senate representative of both the Hispanic Organization Latin America (H.O.L.A.) and the Conservation Club.
As a member of the Advocacy Corps this academic year, Kadlecek will join the rest of the committee by organizing their communities and building relationships with members of Congress to help change public policy. She first got involved in the FCNL by attending the spring lobby weekend held annually in Washington, DC. and will attend for the third time this upcoming spring. The trip is led by Dr. Nicole Johnson, a professor of religious students, who serves as chair of the Department of Justice, Diversity, and Interdisciplinary Humanities. The spring trip focuses on the importance of direct lobbying and encourages students to get involved at a local and national level.
“Aside from voting, direct lobbying is one of the most important ways we can impact legislation and policies,” said Johnson.
Kadlecek will spend most of her time as part of the Advocacy Corps (FCNL), at home recruiting young adults to lobby with her for the cause at hand. This academic year, the Corps is focusing on lobbying to gain funding for violence interruption programs. These programs seek to disrupt violence in communities and offer support to those who have been affected by violence. Kadlecek will host virtual lobby sessions and events on campus, including the first event, a panel, on September 13 on the Mount Union campus.
“It is a panel discussion with a variety of individuals affected by the negative impact of the criminal justice system and the challenges of reentry in today's society,” said Kadlecek.
Looking towards the future, Kadlecek is planning to attend law school post-graduation and hopes to work at a non-profit.
“I want to offer free legal services,” said Kadlecek. “I would like to work for a non-profit that offers free legal services because as I started volunteering at local non-profits, I noticed that they often offer free healthcare services but no opportunity for free legal services. This is needed because often people are not being represented well because they cannot afford a lawyer.”
To learn more about Spring Lobbying weekend please reach out to Dr. Johnson via email, firstname.lastname@example.org