As kids in elementary school, we're taught all about the three branches of our political system and how we can make a difference as citizens. Then - throughout the rest of life, it seems - a lot of what you learn is debunked by nay sayers who reject the idea that individual citizens can make a difference with politicians. (To be fair that's an easy opinion to carry when you witness a lot of what happens in the world of Washington DC.) Wanting to be more and more vocal about our belief in expanding the circle of opportunity in our country and across the planet, we jumped at the chance to come to DC to be a part of Care international's efforts in the anti-poiverty / pro-dignity-for-all arena.
We arrived early in the week, wondering about how it would all go and curious about how the process works. Early in the conference, wee learned a lot about the issues and heard from many inspirational speakers (even Hillary Clinton). On Wednesday, we were pumped to be heading up to Capitol Hill in order to meet with our two Senators in addition to five of the Representatives from Washington State.
As a group, we were focusing on three big issues that are contributing factors to the larger problem of poverty. The two of us were responsible for speaking to "food security" and urging our leaders to support bills that help to ensure there is food for all (that's the shamefully short version). The meetings went amazingly well. The biggest surprise, though, was that our elected officials and their staff-members really seemed to hear our message. Maybe it resonated, maybe it's the squeaky wheel thing. Whatever the case, we had an impact.
Let's review. We...
- ...actually got to meet with our Senators and Representatives (who knew that could really happen).
- ...participated in the process of government and by serving as citizen advocates, we made a difference.
Of course we feel positively about the experience and are happy to know that our school teachers were right.
What are you doing to change the world?