“If it weren’t for you all meeting with me, our team might not have even known this bill existed.” These were the words of Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins during a meeting with RESULTS advocates just mere weeks before she signed and cosponsored the Education for All Act, a bill that works to see that children all over the world receive access to a quality education.
RESULTS (http://www.results.org/) is a movement of passionate, committed everyday people that use their voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty. And as you can see —it’s effective. RESULTS is entirely a grassroots effort, with K-State’s chapter being home to only a few of the over 800 advocates across the U.S. We recognize the true power of advocacy and exploit it by publishing media, and perhaps most importantly—building relationships with our members of Congress. These simple principles have proven to be of exceptional utility in practice.
Before the K-State RESULTS chapter began in 2015, the Kansas delegation all but relegated issues of global health and social justice to the point of non-issues. However, a groundswell of student advocates— by showing up to town halls, having face-to-face meetings, and publishing media—watched as our elected officials became reliable supporters of poverty-fighting legislation in real time. In fact, Kansas became one of the first states (if not the first) to have both Republican Senators—and 3 of our 4 State Reps—cosponsor the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (Reach Act). The Reach Act is estimated to put the U.S. on track to help save the lives of 15 million children and 600,000 women by the year 2020.
By using strategies employed by RESULTS, we’ve established a rapport with many members of Congress—especially Senator Jerry Moran. Just in October he emailed two K-State RESULTS advocates and asked to “chat about global health issues over sodas.” We met with him in the K-State student union where he told us that he first entered politics to protect Kansas farmers, but recently has felt the need to do more to help those around the world who don’t have have access to the same basic rights we too often take for granted.
This meeting gave us valuable insight into what motivates and inspires the Senator; these insights will ensure that our future advocacy efforts are effective.
Advocacy is a tool that all of us can utilize. If you are interested in becoming a RESULTS advocate, or just want to learn more about what we do, please contact us at either <firstname.lastname@example.org>, or <email@example.com>.
Originally published in the MAPJ NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2017 p. 6.