Ormond Derrick writes from Sarasota, Florida:
Turning on the news these days doesn’t exactly scream “Good Morning” to America anymore—millions of Americans are unemployed, virus cases are on the rise, and there’s political turmoil in our nation’s capital.
While headlines tend to dehumanize the people behind them, our neighbors, our family, and human beings generally are all representative of the collective suffering. Just as one person’s pain contributes to this bleak picture, so can one person’s resolve to brighten it.
Just as one person’s pain contributes to this bleak picture, so can one person’s resolve to brighten it.
While many would feel it useless to lobby a Tea Party member to support federal assistance for the COVID-19 pandemic, I feel quite the opposite. Politics is so divided right now; we are a country in the fray. While we think of Congress as a place of abstract ideas, members of Congress are human beings just like you and me.
As a citizen, a constituent, and a former FCNL Advocacy Corps member, I know speaking from your own experiences proves powerful. Lobbying over the spring and summer, I watched as members’ entire body language changed and their resolve softened. Their human sides began to show when I described watching food cabinets go bare while people await assistance.
Experiences like these show me that politics go beyond our current divide. We are humans, mortal to the conditions we create, and members of Congress are no different. Even though I am not always successful, if my lobbying changes the mind of one person, it pushes policy that would help change the mind of one more—that’s a change to the collective picture I wouldn’t have made by staying quiet. This is why I keep lobbying.
Ormond Derrick is a 2019-2020 Advocacy Corps organizer.
Beth Henricks writes from Indianapolis, Indiana:
I used to feel that living in a conservative state rendered my voice useless. I have had some good conversations with officials in my state of Indiana. Though we often disagree, I also know there are issues about which they will listen to my view. This is the importance of the work that each of us does to develop connections within the offices of our representatives.
Indiana Sens. Mike Braun and Todd Young and their staff have been very open to talk about our priorities—most recently about the last COVID-19 relief bill. I felt that my spiritual approach and role as a pastor at a Quaker Meeting connected me to Sen. Young’s legislative director.
She is also a person of faith, and we talked about our spiritual experiences. When food and rent assistance were included in the bill that passed, I believe it was in part due to my conversations as well as those of others.
I am thankful that FCNL provides a way to put my faith and testimonies into action.
I am thankful that FCNL provides a way to put my faith and testimonies into action. I continue to listen to the calls that I feel God speaks into my heart about issues that I must act upon. There are so many injustices, and one can feel overwhelmed and immobilized by the magnitude of challenges that we need to address to make society more loving and just.
Many people of faith become discouraged and might believe that they can’t make a difference. I have felt this before, but I know that I need to work on the issues that God calls me to be my work. Over the last 25 years, FCNL has provided a great way for me to answer this call.
Beth Henricks is a member of the FCNL General Committee, appointed by the Western Yearly Meeting.