How advocacy in California is saving lives

Kekoa Cambra, Congressional District Leader, California (49), believes in spreading ONE’s message through advocacy directed at our elected leaders.

This week, ONE members from North Los Angeles, along with members from as far away as San Diego, came together for a night of education and advocacy. We were extremely fortunate to have ONE Field Organizer Mike Salamon speak to us about the current fiscal situation and the threat to life-saving programs around the world. Not willing to stand for these cuts, we put ink to paper to let our local representatives and Senator Dianne Feinstein know that cutting the International Affairs Budget (IAB) will cost lives. Because we have the ability to help, we have the moral obligation to help.

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Photo caption: An example of how ONE spreads the word.

Later, our field organizer, congressional district leaders and other veteran activists went into greater detail about what these cuts mean and how we, as advocates on the front line, can press our elected leaders to preserve and protect the IAB. Veteran ONE members shared best practices on how to have effective meetings with their representatives.

California meeting

Photo caption: ONE members signing petitions.

“Knowing exactly what programs the IAB supports and what those programs do and what cutting funds to those programs means to human life, are critical to us winning the support of our representatives,” said Mike Salamon. “Selling the sheer aspect of saving lives should be enough on its own. But having a finger on the pulse of our congressional districts, knowing how many ONE members we represent and what that means in terms of raw votes is a formidable tool in getting their support.”

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Photo caption: Reaching out to the elected leaders via handwritten letters.

What the average person on the street may not realize is that these lifesaving programs make up LESS THAN 1 percent of our total federal budget. With that “drop in the bucket” in mind, it makes almost no sense to cut these programs. Spreading the word to those we represent is fundamental in changing the way people think about foreign assistance and gaining further support to save these programs.

We look forward to an amazing 2013 and continuing the fight to help those who need it most!

Would you like to organize locally for ONE? Let us know at field@one.org and we will connect you with a local organizer to get started!