I was on the road for two weeks recently, traveling through Indiana, Ohio and Michigan – about half of the Great Lakes region. During this trip, I got to do a lot of what I consider to be the best part of my job: interact with our amazing volunteers. They’re people from all walks of life – single moms, young professionals, retirees, students, business owners and more – united by the common goal of doing something to improve the lives of others. These are folks who have busy schedules, yet dedicate the time to the issues that are so important to them.
The two weeks were busy and productive. We had 16 Congressional meetings and nine Advocacy in Action events (AIA), which brought ONE members together to write letters to their Congressional representatives.
All actions had the goal of asking for support on H.R. 2548, the Electrify Africa Act. This bill will bring first-time energy access to over 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa for no additional cost to the US government. It’s a legislation that just makes sense, and it was apparent from the conversations we had with staff members at Congressional offices, that they thought so too. In a polarized political environment, it has been encouraging to see support from both sides of the isle, which once again underlines the importance of working on these bipartisan issues.
Here are some highlights from the trip:
Indianapolis, Indiana: It was wonderful to have a full table at our happy hour. The members came from some truly amazing backgrounds. One attendee, Annie, started the non-profit Give Hope Fight Poverty that does work in Swaziland. Another attendee, Kristin, will be speaking at TEDx Indianapolis in a couple of months about refugees. A Congressional staffer who we met with earlier in the day even stopped by, too.
Midland, Michigan: I felt lucky to have met Kathleen and Michael, whose son is currently in Malawi with the Peace Corps. While he is doing great work there, they were able to take important action with ONE to support him, right from their own community.
Kalamazoo, Michigan: Our amazing CDL Sam not only got a ton of his friends to come to the ONE happy hour, but also gave me a tour of the popular bars in the area. Home of a wide variety of great beer, Kalamazoo doesn’t disappoint.
So, although I drove well over 1,000 miles and went to a different city just about every day for nearly two weeks, I didn’t return home tired, but energized. I am convinced that ONE volunteers are the best there are. Some drove for more than two hours to join me for Congressional meetings, while others spent their entire day with me, going from one event to another. That’s dedication. Thank you all for being an inspiration to so many. Keep up the great work.