Becoming empowered to push for change
Last fall I was getting restless. Like most people, I’ve been stuck inside for a while because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I wanted to make a real difference in the world, somehow, some way. I’ve always been passionate about human rights and fighting inequity, so I did a search for volunteer opportunities through the Volunteer Match website that led me to RESULTS.
Being a RESULTS advocate has turned out to be more than I could have ever hoped for.
I’m from a family of immigrants; my family is from South Korea. I’ve often been on the outside looking in on America’s ideals. I have been realizing with the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the victims of the Atlanta spa shootings, among so many others, that America has failed in a lot of ways to live up to those standards in a really destructive way.
That’s shameful. For us as a country, a lot of our identity is predicated on respect for individual rights and personal freedoms. That is the image we want to project to the rest of the world. It’s been really saddening to see that, despite our lofty ideals, we have this history of racism, sexism, and systemic oppression right alongside our highest values. It’s been very personally affecting. I want to hold my leaders accountable because we can be better than our history and our mistakes. We have the potential for so much more – for justice, for real, sustained equity.
I also want to be part of the solution because we need to keep our congressional leaders accountable. We live in a democracy. We need to be empowered, as people and as Americans, to push for change here as well as change around the world.
My representative has some very different views than I do, so that’s been personally challenging. I’ve been reminding myself that I can look for common ground, and that above all else, my member of Congress is a human.
I’m new to advocacy, but I’ve already been able to use my skills effectively during our First 100 Days Campaign. We’re working hard to meet with ¾ of the House offices and all of the Senate offices. We believe it’s important to get in there with our message to members of Congress early in the year. So far advocates have held close to 200 meetings, with more taking place every day. I’ve already had the opportunity to get a letter to the editor published, schedule and present in multiple meetings with members of Congress, and now I’m working on appropriations requests. I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak up along with so many other people from all across the country.
Hwa Young Lee is a RESULTS advocate and current RESULTS Fellow based in Dallas, Texas.