I didn’t know advocacy was something I could do – until I realized my power.
Throughout my life, I’ve always lived paycheck to paycheck. Right now, I am one personal emergency away from not being able to afford my groceries or pay my rent. A lot of people around the country and the world are forced to live on the edge like that.
Poverty is completely unnecessary. We have the solutions for ending it. What we lack is political will. That was really important for me to realize. Policymakers need to prioritize people’s human rights, including the right to a safe home and basic nutrition.
I feel like I need to do something about these issues, if I’m able to. Until a year ago, I didn’t know advocacy was something you could do. At first, I was a little skeptical. Advocating to Congress is a scary idea for people who haven’t really been involved in politics. I think there’s definitely a notion that you have to have a certain skill set or certain training to do it. But members of Congress work for us, so we already have the qualifications to meet with them and share what we think.
Working with Congress can seem like an uphill battle. You’re going against lobbyists and huge corporations who have millions of dollars to spend on their interests. At first, it’s intimidating.
Recently, though, we had some meetings with our members of Congress and their staff. We had one back in December where we got our congressman to sign onto a global nutrition letter that he had never supported before. It was the first time we had gotten one of our representatives in Idaho to support the issue like that. He signed on because we went in, sat with his staff, and talked about the importance of these issues. We were able to make a tangible difference.
I think realizing your power and getting the tools to meet with your members of Congress is a great thing for anyone. Not a lot of organizations are going to give you the kind of training and hands-on experience that RESULTS does. And you join a community of people who are as passionate about these issues as you are.
Before my first meeting, I felt a little bit overwhelmed. But after that first one, I had this sense of empowerment, like “Oh, I can do this. I’m completely capable of being able to do this and making change.” At the end of the day, after leaving Capitol Hill, I fully realized I had advocated to end poverty to my members of Congress in Idaho. And it was a really good feeling.
Georgette Siqueiros is a RESULTS advocate in Boise, Idaho and a former RESULTS Fellow from the 2019-2020 cohort.