If you have ever done something on behalf of someone else - usually someone who is unable to do the same for themselves - you are an advocate.
Being an advocate through Congregations for Children is no different - we simply act on behalf of children living in poverty throughout Mississippi - the very children who need our help the most.
There are a variety of levels of commitment to advocacy. All are valuable, and all are necessary to provide a comprehensive message.
You can help to create change by making your voice heard in Jackson and Washington. It is easy to be effective. Elected officials are very sensitive to the views of thoughtful, knowledgeable and articulate constituents. They need additional information and opinions on the many issues being considered.
The more you know about those you elected to represent you the easier it is to communicate effectively. There are many sources of information. Your newspaper may print voting records, clip them along with other stories on your members of congress and the state legislature. Many members of congress publish newsletters to keep their constituents aware of their activities. Be sure you are on their mailing list. Many public interest groups produce legislative newsletters too.
You should know on which committees your elected representatives serve. Most members of congress and the legislature specialize in the issues that come before their committees. If your elected official is the chair or ranking member of a committee or subcommittee, if gives them and you added leverage. If your elected member of congress or the legislature is not a member of a committee that has jurisdiction over an item of particular interest, contact the committee chair.
Letter writing is the most common way people communicate with their elected officials and it is remarkably effective. Even so, you may wish to consider other kinds of contact. The personal visit, for instance, is an option that is often overlooked, but just one visit with your representative can have an impact and will, at the same time, pave the way for future communication. Telegrams, mailgrams, faxes and emails that are short and precise, work well too. One letter, telephone call, or other communication may not always accomplish your goal, but your opinion does make a difference.