Earlier this week, we were invited to attend the RESULTS conference in Washington D.C. An important A Path Appears partner, RESULTS is an organization that brings together a group of passionate, committed everyday people. Together they use their voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty.
Almost 600 volunteers and activists came together this week to receive training, support, and inspiration to become skilled advocates. Then we took the capitol by storm! The activists had set up meetings with the office of U.S. House Representatives. And as it turns out, 97% of those representatives say that the number one influencing factor on their policy decisions are the visits they receive from their constituents, a phone call or letter comes in second.
We were fortunate to join the New York team on their rounds to talk to Representatives and their aids about the Reach Act. If you’ve followed us since Half the Sky, then you will know that each year, 5.9 million children still die of mainly preventable and treatable causes before their fifth birthday — that’s 11 children every minute. That’s not even counting the mothers who lose their lives in the process of birth, which often times is just a result of limited access to healthcare.
Members of Congress from both parties have quietly come together in support of the health of mothers and children worldwide through the Reach Every Mother and Child Act. If Congress persists and passes the Reach Act, it will change everything for millions of mothers and children. This legislation aims to end unnecessary maternal and child deaths by 2035.
The experience in itself was empowering and enlightening. Not only did we learn a lot about how our process works to shape new laws, but we were pleasantly surprised at the disposition of our representatives to make time to meet with us. Luckily, those we were able to visit were either already on board with the bill or looking forward to signing on. But then again, who doesn’t want to help mothers and kids?
If you feel strongly about a topic, like maternal and child health or any issue near and dear to you, you don’t have to wait for a bill to come in for consideration. You can write your own, and the folks at RESULTS know just how to help you get it in front of the right people. You can learn more about RESULTS here: www.results.org
And if you’d like to learn more about the Reach Act, you can read more about here: www.results.org/issues/maternal_and_child_health
We hope you’ll also take it a step further and call your representative to talk to him/her or someone in their office about why this matters to you, and why they should support it.