Monday, March 23, 2009

Our Vote, Our Voice!

I recently spent the afternoon with a fellow 9to5 member and activist on the streets of Atlanta near the Capitol, talking to women (and some men!) about 9to5 and the policies we support. I have to admit, as we approached women we did not know, I was nervous! I expected that people would not be receptive and tell me they don’t have the time, but as we talked about the Parent Protection Act, paid sick days, and the Healthy Families Act, we discovered that many women agree with our policies. They are frustrated with the cost of childcare, the lack of health coverage for themselves and their families, and how difficult it has been to find a job.

We met very little opposition, but a few women said they already had paid sick leave and that our issues don’t pertain to them. They are fortunate to benefit from their company policies, but many don’t offer paid sick time or even a few hours to attend a school conference or doctor’s appointment. People assume that we all have the same work privileges but we don’t. It is up to our companies to decide, which is why we support statewide or federal policies. Sometimes a woman has to choose between a sick child and her job and it happens more often than we would like to admit.

Every day we wander the streets, unaware of the concerns and frustrations we share with the strangers we pass. Many of us forget that others love their children and want the very best for them, just as we do. Or like them, we spent down to the last dollar of our last paycheck, waiting impatiently for payday to help cover our waiting expenses. Or that a day that is free of worry or stress may not be shared by a neighbor or friend - that even though we might be doing well, others aren’t.

We asked these women to show support by signing purple cards that state "Our Vote, Our Voice!", which we share with our elected officials. We got 31 cards signed that day, but more important, my friend and I were able to connect with other women with whom we normally would not have spoken to. Next time you are waiting in a line and or riding the train, instead of ignoring the person next to you, strike up a conversation and find out just how similar you may be. Better yet, call our office at 404-227-0037 and make plans to pick up your own set of purple cards. It will give you a reason to reach out to others and show our elected officials that we care in numbers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yay tracie! glad your experience was so positive!