A crucial month for advocacy

Illinois ONE member John Cockrell believes your voice can-and will- be heard. 

For organizations like ONE, this is a crucial month: Unless our leaders in Washington act, sequestration will take effect on March 1st, which would significantly reduce the International Affairs account of the US budget. For these last few days of February, ONE will continue an all-out push to contact members of Congress, urging them to protect the International Affairs Budget and the life-saving programs that count on its funding to operate.

Illinois Meeting
 Photo Caption: Meeting with Matt Abbott, Director of Global & Economic Affairs for Senator Kirk. Photo Credit: Kyle Deming

On Thursday morning, January 31st, I attended back-to-back meetings as a ONE member, along with Tzviatko Chiderov and Kyle Deming from ONE, Adam Farag from Oxfam and Jill Gordon from CARE at the downtown Chicago offices of Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk. We met with staff members Tran Ngyuen at the Durbin office and Matthew Abbott at the Kirk office to raise the following points:

– Organizations like ONE (including Oxfam, CARE and many others) have fought against poverty, famine and preventable disease in ways that are measurable and profound. Cutting funding now would devastate years, even generations, of progress.

– The International Affairs account itself makes up less than 1 percent of the US budget, meaning that cutting it would do little to address the US budget deficit while negatively affecting millions of people.

Illinois Meetings
Photo Caption: Meeting with Tran Nguyen, Senate Aide to Senator Durbin. Photo Credit: Kyle Deming.

Those of you from Illinois, or those familiar with politics, might recognize that Senator Durbin and Senator Kirk are, respectively, a Democrat and a Republican, and it can be challenging to build bipartisan enthusiasm around issues. But, thankfully, it seems that is not the case this time. The reception, interest and thoughtful questions we received from both offices made us very optimistic that we’ll get this done.

We encourage you to call or write members of Congress from your home state and ask them to protect the International Affairs Budget.

Would you like to organize locally for ONE? Let us know at [email protected] and we will connect you with a local organizer to get started!