Wednesday, December 27, 2006

One more voter

This morning I spent three hours talking about advocacy with a group of women enrolled in a computer training and job skills program. Part of the tactic is to get the group to realize that the personal advocacy they have done (e.g. getting their kids into the day care of choice, helping someone get health care) uses the skills involved in systems change (e.g. baggering people, caring about issues). The morning session hopefully changes the collective perception of a group of low-income women that they can make a difference. I hope that because I believe it.

The morning definitely started with some skeptics, some very tired skeptics (it was two days after Christmas). "What difference can I make?" "It seems there was more stuff going on in the '70's and that it mattered." "If Congress controlls the money, then why do they keep voting to give the President money for the war?"

I didn't touch that last one.

But I did tell stories about finding funds to expand children's health care coverage. About this year's successful fight to increase our state's minimum wage but how we lost the chance to link the minimum wage to a cost of living index. They talked about CORI, health care, gun violence and housing. They know how hard their lives are and how the broader system is not responding to their needs. They just need a few simple tools to know how to change that system.

And one of those tools is voting.

At the beginning several participants insisted the vote was meaningless. They acknowledged they weren't even registered. They rolled their eyes as I handed out a voter registration card.

At the end, one of those skeptics handed me a filled-out registration card and told me this was the first time she had registered to vote. I hugged her.

I hope she uses her new found tool to make system change.

1 comment:

Kate said...

You're doing great work, soccer mom. I wish I had such a meaningful job.