Letter Writing Week – Why You Should Write Your Own Letters Today
One of the most important aspects of the OAC’s core mission and goals is to encourage and empower our members and all individuals affected by obesity to advocate for themselves. It is wonderful when we can represent those affected by obesity, but it is far more powerful when we hear directly from the people. Whether it is writing your legislators, voicing your thoughts and feelings to healthcare professionals or standing-up against weight bias, your voice is the most powerful tool that you have.
This week, we have been highlighting some wonderful examples of advocacy in action, but I want to take this moment to encourage YOU to write a letter of your own. Take a few minutes out of your day, sit down in a quiet area, and put your thoughts to paper. Whether you do anything with these thoughts is completely up to you, but the first step to becoming an active advocate is to actually start!
Whether you had an experience that left you with that feeling in the pit of stomach that you just couldn’t shake, or you have faced personal trials and tribulations seeking treatment – taking the time to sit down and write about your experiences can make a big difference not only in your life but likely in the lives of many others who have faced similar experiences. There is no better person to tell your story than you, and it is your personal stories that make the biggest impact when we are advocating on Capitol Hill, or when we are fighting weight bias.
Last year alone, we had hundreds of individuals write letters in response to many of our most prominent bias issues. And the good news is that many of these issues were declared victories in the fight against weight bias because YOUR words made the difference. It may be powerful when individuals or companies who have engaged in stigmatizing behavior receive a letter from the OAC on behalf of our 50,000 members, but there is no denying that what’s more powerful is when our members write the offenders directly and share their own stories.
When we visit legislators on Capitol Hill, it is quite evident when the legislator has heard from their constituents about the issue for which we are visiting. For example, when we have a meeting with your U.S. Senator to discuss the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA), it is much easier for us to engage in a meaningful conversation when they have heard from the people in their state about this issue. When members of Congress have not heard from their constituents on the issue, they tell us. Your voices truly make a difference and help secure support for important pieces of legislation like TROA.
So the moral of the story: WRITE LETTERS. Write letters to your friends and family to share your personal journey. Write an open letter to your healthcare providers and let them know the kind of compassionate care you need and deserve. Write your legislators! Let them know that the work the OAC is doing in creating access to obesity treatment is important to you, and let them know WHY! Because there is no better person to advocate for you than yourself. Your story is powerful. You are powerful.
We want to hear from you! Share your own open letters with the OAC by sending an email to [choose email address – firstname.lastname@example.org?] and sharing your story today!
About the Author:
Lindsay McGhay is the Director of Development and Engagement Initiatives at the OAC. She handles membership and supporter engagement for the OAC, including all member and supporter communications, supporter activation on all OAC advocacy and bias issues and management of opportunities for members to get involved with the organization. Lindsay also oversees the OAC’s development, which includes the expansion and execution of general public and supporter-based fundraising efforts.