Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In Washington

Many of you know that I went to Washington and you know that I was going to Capitol Hill and that I was going for some policy work. Or maybe you didnt know any of this.

 I was really nervous going to Washington. I wanted to make sure I spoke eloquently and i wanted to deliver my message the best way possible. Everything went better than I expected, we succeeded.

The reason I went to Washington was to meet with Senators and Representatives who are in charge of California. I met with Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Lee's staff. . Our goal was to have them sign on to a letter written by Secretary Duncan to the U.S. Department of Education . This letter asks the DOE to continue provide more attention and support to preventing teen dating abuse. How? By expanding school based policies. By training school staff on how to respond to a dating abuse report, to develop a clearinghouse ( a resource site) on campus so teens and parents can have access to help and to compile and analysis of the work so others can find best practices regarding effective policies particularly those that are prevention focused.

The first day we met with Barbara Lee's office, my partner Nicole Edwards from the Family Violence Law Center , My coach Jennifer Calloway and myself sat down in her office and met with her legislative staff his name was Teddy Miller, GREAT GUY. We introduced ourselves told them about the work that our agency did and I shared a story about how our curriculum empowered my student to make a healthy decision about her relationship, we closed out with our asks. The first one was that Barbara Lee attends to a youth focused event in September where we will honor her. The second ask was that she signs on to the letter written by Secretary Duncan. It was a successful meeting ... Teddy seemed really engaged and had great questions.

While having dinner and sharing our stories of how our meetings went with the rest of the Start Strong staff, Nicole and I received an email from Teddy Miller letting us know that it was great meeting us and said " it is a testament of how compelling your message was that the Congresswoman signed on to the letter so quickly. " Nicole and I jumped with joy and shared with everyone else in the room our good news. This email made us very popular among our staff. We were the only pair to get the letter signed while in Washington. :)

Besides politics Washington was cool. Actually it was HUMID! The weather was really crappy, It was scorching hot but raining. I did a little shopping , saw monuments and went to a museum. I learned alot and ultimately that was my goal.

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