This year, during California’s annual Hunger Action Day, I learned that advocacy is not “someone else”s job,” and that one person can make a difference.
Leif Ozier from Catholic Charities and I spent the day meeting with the staffs of Assemblyman Martin Garrick, Assemblyman George Plescia and Senator Mark Wyland. Each visit made clear not only that these staff members were very happy to meet with us, but also that they were anxious to hear what we had to say. I soon realized that with the enormous volume of bills, their bosses could not possibly know everything about each one. We were there to educate, and they were there to learn what their constituents had to say.
As luck would have it, we had a general membership (brown bag) meeting here at Interfaith the next week. I put on my newly acquired advocacy hat and spoke to my colleagues about the importance of contacting their representatives and making their voices heard. I emphasized the power of every individual to bring about positive change. They were very attentive.
In the future, I plan on speaking at every one of our membership meetings about a particular issue and to turn at least some of our members into advocates. If it could happen to me, it could happen to them!