Uniting America: Springfield pt. 4

March 02, 2012
Mary Claire Schmit Uniting America AmeriCorps Fellow

After weeks of gearing up for Springfield, yesterday the fellows and I accompanied ICIRR staff and over 1,100 community leaders representing 73 different countries from across the state of Illinois to our state’s capital. As Uniting America fellows, the purpose of our being in Springfield was to visit all the state representatives and senators and give them dessert plates with sweet contributions from the various immigrant communities here in Illinois along with information about our Uniting America program and an invitation to be a part of a community reception for participants in the historic Black-Brown March that is set to take place in Alabama next week.


Despite having to wake up earlier than usual—4:30am to be exact— there was much to be done and little time to feel tired yesterday.  As soon as we arrived in Springfield, we quickly assembled the plates and packets for the elected officials and then went off to deliver them to their offices. It was my first time in Springfield, so I was a little unsure of what to expect visiting each of the officials’ offices by myself. I soon found that I had nothing to be nervous about because the majority of those I met were very receptive and excited about our program and what we were up to. The highlight of the trip was when Izabela and I were riding in the elevator and one of the representatives recognized our Uniting America red shirts. He began asking us about the program, what we were doing and how he could get more involved with one of the fellows working in his area.


All in all, my first time in Springfield was a very memorable experience. I learned a lot not only in being there, but also in the preparation leading up to the event. There is so much planning that goes into coordinating an event that large and it was amazing to see ICIRR and all the member organizations in action. There was a feeling of camaraderie that could be sensed throughout the capital yesterday and not just by those wearing the yellow vests.