Are you interested in legislative advocacy but not sure how to do it? Or worried you don’t have the time? There are many things you can do right from home that make a tremendous impact.
Legislators have a difficult job – one I would never want. Ever. They are asked to make huge decisions on issues they may only understand at the most basic level. Not because they don’t care, but because there just isn’t enough time in the day to become a leading expert on all the topics that come across their desks. They have staff to help, but this is a way families can play a meaningful role in advocacy.
You may have a legislator who has never even met a person with a disability, much less one who has a meaningful understanding of the joys of living this life. When a piece of legislation crosses his path that greatly affects people with disabilities, he may have no idea how or why.
Legislators want to hear from constituents. They get to hear from businesses and lobbyists, but the voice of their constituents is even more important. After all, you vote and businesses don’t.
Anyways, here’s your first baby step:
Send an email.
That’s it. Just send an email. It can be an email introducing yourself and your family as constituents. It can be an email thanking them for a vote on a certain piece of legislation. It can be an email asking about their position on a certain issue, or asking for support on a certain issue.
It can be short and sweet, doesn’t need to involve a lot of policy jargon or technicalities. Write from the heart.
If you’re emailing a state official, it’s likely you’ll even get a personal response. And there it is – a seed planted.
I’ve had what I consider to be success in emailing my legislators. I don’t always agree with their politics, but one of the most powerful aspects of the disability movement is that it’s really a non-partisan movement. (more on that later) It doesn’t have to be about party politics – it’s about doing what is right for people with disabilities.