By Leslye Heilig, DFW Advocacy Committee Chair
We have now held our third monthly advocacy meeting since we launched our partnership with RESULTS. I am so encouraged by the interest and the active participation. We can change the world, now with one letter to the editor at a time. Advocacy is a positive and rewarding activity, one that holds more value with each additional day of this pandemic and new world we are navigating.
In April, we introduced the action of writing a letter to the editor. That month, we had 14 letters to the editor submitted. So far in May, we have had 25 letters submitted and four published. This is a wonderful demonstration of the power of this group.
One of the bonuses of joining our efforts is the personal connections that develop. I can openly share with you that I was not knowledgeable with respect to advocacy a year ago. But with persistence and extraordinary mentoring by Ken Patterson from RESULTS, I now have relationships with each of my senators’ legislative aides for foreign affairs and with the deputy chief of staff for my congressman. I get personal email replies or returned phone calls. And I’ve had three letters to the editor published! None of these things would have occurred without the guidance I received through our DFW Advocacy Chapter with RESULTS! My mantra is persistence and patience lead to empowerment. And there is a group of us here to mentor you, personally and with patience.
We are currently at risk of losing decades of progress on achieving gender equality, reducing poverty, enhancing children’s health, decreasing maternal mortality, and educating children everywhere. A new study of 129 countries by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance found that the interruption of vaccination efforts could put 80 million babies at risk of getting deadly, preventable diseases.
“School closures, to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, have left some 60 per cent of the world’s children without an education,” the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said in its new report.
These changes are not acceptable and will only be reversed if our nation can join with the rest of the world in its response to this global pandemic. Now is the time for a global response and our advocacy chapter is a place to raise your voices to see this happen.
To learn more about our current advocacy actions, please visit DFW’s website here. If you would like to sign up for our DFW Advocacy Chapter with RESULTS, go here. Our next advocacy webinar will be June 17 at 8:30 pm EDT. Hope to see you then!