Learning to Use My Voice

Sometimes it’s challenging to know where to start. It can seem overwhelming and we wonder… ‘What difference can I, as one person make?’  Yet, something I am learning is that there is an opportunity for each of us to use our voice to talk to our elected representatives and influence policy to address injustices and promote peacemaking.

I admit, this can seem intimidating. I remember the first time I decided to call one of my representatives. I had received an email from an organization prompting me to call.  I dialed the number and someone answered – someone answered! As silly as it sounds, I was unprepared for that and stumbled through that first call, really unsure as to what to say.

Since then I’ve had the opportunity to see someone model making a call and have made several calls myself. I realized it’s really quite easy and with each call it becomes more natural.

A call may look something like this:

Typically an aide answers the phone.

Hi, I am Jane Doe. I live in the state of ________. I’m one of Senator ________’s constituents. I’m calling about the topic of _________.

Can you tell me what the Senator’s position is on ________?

Will you please tell the Senator that I think it’s important to support (or oppose) ________.

 

You can be as brief or detailed as you like in explaining your position. If you have a personal story that you can relate to the issue that can be even more impactful – there is so much power in a story.

I’ve found that aides do not always know where a representative stands on an issue or specific bill, so it is a great opportunity to let them know that you are interested in finding out and would like a response. The aide will ask for some basic information and the opinion you’ve shared will be collated and shared with your representative. Your voice becomes an indicator of issues important to the people they are in office to represent.

I was at a conference and one of the speakers said, “if you find yourself getting frustrated or angry about a policy topic, then it’s time to pick up the phone and call your representatives to make sure your voice is heard.” Since then, I’ve added the Capitol switchboard numbers to my contact list (along with notes indicating my representatives’ names) You can to do the same.

Picking up the phone and calling is reputed to be the most effective way to influence congress.  Please join me in using your voice to make a difference.

 

Resources:

  • United States Capitol Senate Office switchboard: 202-224-3121
  • United States Capitol House of Representatives Office switchboard: 202-225-3121
  • Senators’ Directory and direct contact information: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact
  • House of Representatives’ Directory and direct contact information (includes the ability to enter your zip code to look up your representative): https://www.house.gov/representatives
  • Tracking the U.S. Congress: https://www.govtrack.us/ stay informed of legislation that may be under consideration for topics that interest you. You can set up email alerts to receive legislative updates and articles for issues you care about.