Advocacy Day Reflection
“I thought we were leaving at 6:30?” says Laurie, ever punctual, as I drive into the Family Focus parking lot and see her waiting in her can with her husband Don. It is just now 6:30, and to my other side and Daniel and Juan Perez, also waiting in their car for this oh-so-early voyage. As I chat to each group and introduce myself, I get an ETA on our driver, which soothes my nerves. I am also anticipating the day, but after a 5am wake up I am tired and want to save my energy for the legislators.
We are driving to Springfield, all 3.5 hours so we can express to our legislators how we feel about these all important immigrant issues. Personally I will be sharing Uniting America Program information and candies that make a statement. At 6:40am our driver arrives and we are off, trying to digest some complicated information along a bumpy road. I pass out maps, agendas, and platform packets that highlight the issues along with valuable statistics. We go over the day’s events and quickly skim through the issues that include the detention facility in Crete, drivers licenses, and healthcare for all children. Many of the riders cannot read while riding in the van nor look backwards (to where I am seated); this, combined with our tired state lulls us off into a rocky sleep as we catch the highway and trust our well-beings to the driver.
Ahead of schedule we arrive at the capitol, the first time for all four of our guests. We take our time getting ready and enter slowly, taking time to look at the beautiful architecture. Seeing as the rally has yet to commence, I slip away to visit the senators on my list. Two of the five are able to greet me, including Senator Linda Holmes from Aurora/Plainfield. After this quick exchange I run downstairs to tell my van-full that Senator Holmes is available. They head off to her office while I take the tunnel to Stratton Building to visit the Representatives on my list. Being my second time in the state capitol I feel much more acclimated to the surroundings and I visit each representative efficiently, well, I meet their secretaries anyways.
Upon completing my tasks I find that my co-travelers have been speaking with Senator Holmes for over an hour; what a great opportunity! I rejoice for their success and remember how great a thing democracy can be when everyone’s voice is heard!