Looking back over the past two years, I am struck by how much has been accomplished by sheer determination to keep on fighting the good fight in face of the odds.
Here in CT we managed, after more than 2 years, to pass the nation’s first ever GMO labeling bill. To be clear, there are conditions which must be met before this goes into effect. Five other states must pass similar bills, one of those states must border our state and there must be a combined population of at least 20 million people. Never the less, persistence delivered a bill where none had existed before.
Two years ago, when I became aware of the issues surrounding GMOs and the perverse nature of Monsanto and its chemical company brethren, I recognized the need for extensive community education and awareness. Progress was slow and my attempts to bring the subjects to light were most often met with a “deer in the headlights” reaction from my friends and family. Slowly, through talking, showing movies, sending emails, sharing printed materials and then talking some more, the issues became familiar enough in my personal community that they sparked interest, awareness and in many cases, allies.
When my partners in Activate CT and I became aware of the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) that is now being negotiated between our countries and others on the Pacic rim and the possibility of Congress granting Fast Track authority to President Obama to move ahead without their approval, we knew we had to voice our concerns and oppostion to our representatives in Washington. Our attempts to reach one congresswoman were met with success after numerous calls to her office but progress with one particular congressman was a frustrating series of meaningless communications from his staff. Realizing that the usual approach of emails and phone calls was getting us nowhere, we moved on to other tactics. A rally outside his office and editorial letter written by another member of Activate CT to our Hartford newspaper were followed by a direct message posted to the congressman’s social media page. The message read:
Dear Congressman ____________,
I am a member of Activate CT. Since last August, we have been trying to schedule a meeting with you to discuss your stand on granting fast track authority to President Obama. To date, we have been denied any such meeting. The reason most often stated by your staff is that you are busy meeting with your constituents. Congressman, we ARE your constituents. The TPP has the potential to deliver disastrous effects to our economy, health and livelihoods in general. Activate CT continues our request to meet with you. I look forward to hearing from you to arrange a mutually agreeable time and will share your response with other voters in our district.
Shortly thereafter, we were invited to participate in a conference call with the congressman’s CT and D.C. aides. The 1/2 hour call gave us a chance to voice our concerns, ask our questions and re-establish ourselves as folks who simply won’t give up. Ultimately, we broke through the log jam of denied access.
I offer this post in the spirit of encouraging everyone in the activist community who may at times feel that we are fighting losing battles. I would be interested to hear from others about how persistence has led to their own successful outcomes. We have so many worthy caes that demand our attention and energy. We need to help each other along the way with reminders that we are makng valuable contributions to a better world.
In solidarity, Debra