Friday, July 12, 2013

Advocacy in DC

I had the privilege of going to DC this past month with a group of advocates from across Missouri. We make an annual trek to DC to meet with our elected officials and continue our discussion of domestic violence and how it is impacting the residents in the state of Missouri.

We spend a day with other advocates from across the country learning what is new and what is needed. We then head to the Hill where we meet with all of the Missouri delegation. The mood in DC has varied from year to year depending on what is going on in the country and the pressing needs going on at the time of our visit. We were fortunate this year to go when the weather was beautiful and there was some hope in the air. There is such division in our country right now on so many issues, but the one thing that we know is domestic violence is not a partisan issue. It impacts everyone.  It’s something that everyone should be concerned about. Everyone can have a part to play in impacting it and bringing it to an end.

We do have a group of elected officials that are concerned about this issue and the impact it is having on the citizens of Missouri. They listened intently and heard our concerns and our fears for the immediate future.

Our message was clear and precise: things are dire in Missouri, people are being turned away from services at an alarming rate and something must be done. Programs serving victims are struggling under the weight of the need and the lack of resources there are to address those needs. More people are turned away from services than are able to be served. This is unacceptable. We must create a plan to address this and it needs to be done immediately.

Our proposal was pretty straightforward in theory, but much harder to actually accomplish. We had discussions about it with each member and all agreed it was reasonable and presented a win/win for everyone. They assured us that they would help and, since our meeting, progress has been made.

I am ever hopeful that progress will continue and, with the help of our Representatives and Senators, we’ll be able to bring more resources to all of the programs across Missouri and the country—programs that are fighting to meet the need and provide services to the ever increasing number of people seeking assistance.

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