My name is PaHoua Vang and last year was my first time at the RESULTS International Conference. In the back of my head, I had assumed that because poverty has always existed that it will always exist. But it was this very mindset that was holding me back. After going to last year’s conference, ending poverty wasn’t just some dreamy idea anymore. It became a very possible reality. Before the REAL Change Fellowship that brought me to the conference, I had never lobbied before and I was nervous about going to Capitol Hill.
I still remember how I found the courage to speak up for issues that matter. I was standing anxiously in line at the conference, waiting to ask Julia Gillard, the Former Prime Minister of Australia, a question about the safety of children in school. In the midst of my own distracted thoughts, trying to conjure up the right words to my question, I tuned in just in time to hear the person in front of me ask Gillard how she had the courage to speak out for education. She said, “you find the courage within you.”
She was right. I found my courage when I remembered my purpose—the reason why my question was important to me. It was in that moment that I was able to channel all that nervous energy into meaningful, genuine words. I wasn’t going to let the fear of speaking to high authority figures interfere with my purpose. This was how I approached meeting with my members of Congress that week, and it’s how I’ve approached life since.
I found my courage at the RESULTS Conference and so can you. I encourage you to explore your own potential at this year’s conference.
RESULTS is looking for the next generation of anti-poverty advocates! Learn more about the REAL Change Fellowship program, a year-long advocacy training program for young adults.