In this season of giving, don’t neglect your greatest gift of all: your voice. You and other advocates have come together this year to build relationships with Congress, impact policies that affect the poor, and pray for people around the world. The results are just one more reason to celebrate as we enter the Christmas season.
The best gifts are meaningful, and valued long after they are given. This is true of the gift given to the more than 50 million children around the world currently without an opportunity for education, often because they are girls, refugees, or a child with disabilities. Advocates contacted Congress more than 1,500 times about the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act, giving their time and their voice. Senator Dick Durbin summed up the effects well, commenting that the passage of this bill, “Will help unleash the potential of children across the globe and arm them with the necessary tools to break the cycles of poverty, violence, and extremism.”
You did not stop there. There was more on the list – including helping mothers and children, preventing child labor, and protecting the accounts that help strengthen communities around the globe and in the U.S. – accounts collectively referred to as foreign assistance. More than 50 of you had meetings with your members of Congress, more than doubling this number from last year.
You helped hold Congress further accountable while raising awareness in your communities by submitting op-eds and letters to the editors of local newspapers.
- Cathy White in Austin, Texas shared why the U.S. should preserve foreign aid budget.
- Sarah Ellis in New Jersey submitted a letter on why We can’t reduce humanitarian aid to refugees.
- In Chicago, Tracey Matthews pointed out how U.S. foreign aid fights desperation and extremism.
Throughout the year you have selflessly acted more than 320,000 times, including making over 250 phone calls and leveraging social media to raise often overlooked issues more than 600 times. Congregants of Faith Church in Dyer, Indiana signed more than 600 letters that were delivered to their member of Congress. Even one action can make a difference, including the one church that invited the State Director from their local office to visit their congregation. The result? In addition to passing the READ Act, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPRA) and the Protecting Girls Access to Education Act have passed in the House and are being reviewed in the Senate. Further, while we will not know anything final until Congress passes a budget, deep cuts proposed to foreign assistance and international development programs have been largely rejected.
Put a bow on it.
While the Christmas season bustles and high profile issues are elevated in Congress, around the globe people still go on day to day. With resources you have advocated for girls have more opportunities, newly-trained farmers are planting crops that can feed their family through a drought, and communities feel safer due to measures to prevent human trafficking. However, systems of injustice also continue.
Last minute Christmas shopping is nearly always a given. We are going to ask you to do some last minute advocating as well.
- Congress needs to take action on the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The bill was allowed to expire this fall. There are critical updates in the House version of the bill, including strengthening the U.S. effort to end the recruitment of child soldiers. Since 2011, children have been forced to take part in at least 21 conflicts, impacting tens of thousands of children. Since 2008, the U.S. government has given over 1 billion in military assistance to countries we know are using children in the armed forces despite a U.S. law prohibit it. The U.S. can more to protect children in armed conflict. The TVPRA would strengthen the U.S. effort. Email your members of Congress and ask them to get the TVPRA to the president’s desk.
- The Reach Every Mother and Child (Reach) Act has been reintroduced in the House and the Senate after failing to pass last session. Fifteen-thousand children die each day, largely due to preventable causes. Mothers, children, and communities around the world cannot afford for this bill to continue to sit in Congress. Ask your members of Congress to cosponsor this bill.
- Continue to be a voice for Foreign Assistance. The budget has not been finalized and if members do not believe voters care, these accounts become vulnerable. Remind your members of Congress that the U.S.’ role in lifting communities out of poverty around the world and providing relief is critical.
Email Congress to Help End Trafficking
Contact your government leaders. Fill in the information below to find your members of Congress.
Support Maternal and Child Health
Enter your info below to find your members of Congress.
Today, ask Congress to make moms and kids a priority this year.
Support Foreign Assistance
Enter your info below to find your members of Congress.
Show your support for issues impacting the poor by advocating for foreign assistance. You can edit the letter below and personalize it with why this issue is important to you.
*If your form does not submit, make sure you have filled in all required fields. This is information that members of Congress require to accept messages.
Photo: Sponsored boy Chansa, 5, helps put up string up Christmas lights at his grandfather’s house in Sinazongwe ADP, Zambia. © 2017 World Vision/ photo by Jon Warren