Today I reserved a room at a Washington, DC hotel for my second (hopefully annual) trip there as an advocate. In 2010, I joined folks from all over the country as part of the National Down Syndrome Society’s Buddy Walk on Washington. It was an incredible couple of days. I got to play a senator during the advocacy training, I met some women who became dear friends, and I had a great chat with the guy who runs the composter for the entire Capitol complex. Oh, and I met with Representative Rick Larsen, as well as staffers from Senator Patty Murray’s and Senator Maria Cantwell’s offices.
|Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers|
|Senator Patty Murray|
|Representative Rick Larsen|
(Notice the colorful little guy everyone's holding? That would be my daughter's traveling buddy. She sent him with me to keep me company.)
If you’ve never met with your legislators – on the state or federal level – I can’t recommend it highly enough. Got a complaint? Something you want to chat about? That’s what they’re there for! The resulting empowerment will blow. your. mind. There are few things more satisfying than emailing your representative to find out how they plan to vote, and finding out the information YOU provided them encouraged them to vote your way.
I’m holding off on booking my flights, because I’m hoping airfares will drop a bit. Even though I got a grant from NDSS to offset part of the cost, this trip takes a chunk out of the budget (good thing we’ve convinced our daughter that camping is just as fun as getting on an airplane to go on vacation). It’s worth it, though. I can’t wait to see everyone again, and look forward to meeting with those legislators. I think I’ll even track down Brandon in the cafeteria and see if he’ll give me that composter tour he promised…
P.S. I can't let you go without mentioning a darling little girl, "Charity," whose potential adoptive parents will not be able to move forward with her adoption. Know anyone with an open heart? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.