This marks my 25th year leading our advocacy and public policy work in Washington. While we have had several Advocacy Days in DC, including a highly successful one in 2017, I have never seen a better day for our organization on Capitol Hill than our Advocacy Day this year!
We had more meetings (200+) and more participants (~425) in one day than ever before– and those are major achievements. But it was the quality and spirit of our presence this year that deserve special commendation.
Our supporters were all over Capitol Hill, excited to be speaking out for children to the decision-makers in the House and Senate. The feedback we are getting from the Congressional meetings underscores our supporters' focus, preparation, and energy. Legislators and staffers are taking a serious look at our advocates’ requests for support of the $132.5 million for UNICEF and the International Violence Against Women Act. Most importantly, lawmakers heard from diverse groups of constituents who had come to DC to urge them to put children first in their legislative activities.
I encourage everyone to look at all the posts on social media from our advocates that day. Enthusiasm and commitment shine through in the pictures shared and the comments made. You can see how the Senators, Representatives, and staffers also caught the infectious spirit and energy.
Our advocates rejected cynicism about gridlock and dysfunction in Washington. Everyone charged forward, confident that by our presence and through our messages, we could be heard and make a difference. These efforts did not end in one day on Capitol Hill, but will serve as the beginning of ongoing dialogue with Congressional Offices.
The Advocacy Team is proud of the efforts our advocates made to come to Washington to speak out, especially the many enthusiastic young people who came to make a difference. We hope their experiences will lead to a lifetime of engagement and advocacy on behalf of children who depend on them to raise their voices. The Advocacy Team will be working with all to measure the responsiveness of legislators based on the specific requests provided. Follow up is key!
May we all be energized and renewed by what UNICEF USA advocates accomplished on Advocacy Day in Washington!