The Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) is holding its Baltic Advocacy Days the first week of May this year. This is the second time the event will be held entirely virtually. While average turnout in previous years, for both virtual and in-person events, has been around 50-60 participants, this year’s event has drawn a record 130 Baltic Americans and friends of the Baltic nations to register.
A total of 27 states are represented in the participant list. States with the most constituents taking part are Illinois and Virginia with sixteen, California with fourteen, Massachusetts with nine, and Maryland with eight. The JBANC organizing team, including Estonian American National Council (EANC) Washington, DC Director Karin Shuey, is now leading the coordination of constituent meetings with 54 Senate and 39 House offices for the week of May 2-6. The team will also provide reference materials, meeting scripts, and pre-event training to identify the key Baltic security priorities the meetings will address, and to ensure all participants are comfortable talking about the issues. Much of this information will be also available for reference on the JBANC and EANC websites to anyone wanting to contact their legislators, but not able to take part in the advocacy event.
EANC and JBANC are thrilled with the turnout for this year’s event and thankful to all who signed up. One could speculate that the war in Ukraine has been a major influence on Baltic Americans who want to ensure U.S. support for Baltic security. Many Estonian officials have made statements in the last several weeks indicating that while Estonia has never been better protected than it is now with NATO’s security assurances and troops on the ground, it is still not enough to definitively deter the Kremlin’s aggressive agenda, and more support is needed. This advocacy event is among the most effective means for citizens who care about the security of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to make their concerns known. Those taking part will potentially have a big impact on influencing legislation to bolster U.S. support to the region.
EANC and JBANC look forward to a successful event and will publish results and news from the meetings in early May. Please check back then.
Featured image: Group photo from JBANC’s last in-person advocacy days in 2019