Take Action and Make a Difference!
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As we bid adieu to August and welcome September with open arms, it brings us to the realization that “Convention season” really has come to a close for 2015. The anticipation leading up to YWM2015 was palpable, and each attendee left San Antonio with a renewed sense of excitement, motivation and hope.
Each year we tout our Convention as “the best Convention to date,” but we can say with the utmost confidence that our 4th Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention truly lived up to that grand title. With record-breaking attendance of 575 registrants, our community was more alive than ever. Not only did our attendees experience self-empowerment, together we were also empowered to go forth, take action and make a difference.
The education was like none other, with a new, unique format that enhanced discussion between attendees and the presenters and allowed for those attending the meeting to find a deeper understanding of the complexity of obesity. They walked away with immense knowledge in all areas of the disease of obesity – from advocacy to weight bias, nutrition to weight management, physiological to emotional, and more. The education proved to be the foundation of the Convention.
YWM2015 was a place for individuals to connect with one another. It was incredibly moving to watch attendees respond to Dr. Lloyd Stegemann’s opening session, which called for us to join one another in helping to carry the “chains that bind us,” by sharing beads with one another and in doing so, sharing their personal journeys. It was a weekend of support, a weekend of education and a weekend of advocacy.
74 new members added their voices to the cause by joining the OAC; 55 individuals participated in our National Advocacy Training and became our newest formally-trained OAC advocates; 56 newly-engaged individuals discovered the power of their voices; 100 participants helped us symbolically “march to Washington, DC” and learned how to take part in the OAC’s advocacy. People were becoming empowered all around us: empowered to raise their voices and become a walking example of the OAC’s mission.
So let’s focus on this theme of “empowerment” for a moment. Maybe you attended the Convention and you are feeling the after-effects, wondering, “Now what?” Maybe you weren’t able to attend, but followed the event from afar through the OAC’s communication or your friends and family. Maybe you have never heard of this Convention, or maybe this is your very first time seeing the Obesity Action Coalition.
YWM2015 was a journey of empowerment. But no matter where you are in your journey with the OAC, we want you to know that your journey is important and your voice matters to our cause. Even if you aren’t sure how you can even get involved, the good news is there are MANY ways for you to be part of our work RIGHT NOW!
- BECOME A MEMBER!
We always say the very first step to getting involved with the OAC is to become a member. Sounds pretty simple, I know, but you must understand that our membership is what gives us the strength to be the leading organization giving a voice to individuals with obesity. If you believe in the OAC and you want to be part of our fight, the MOST important thing you can do is join the organization as a member. Right now, in celebration of our 10 Year Anniversary, you can JOIN the OAC or RENEW your membership for only $10! Your membership comes with a host of benefits such as a subscription to Your Weight Matters Magazine, but easily the most crucial “benefit” is that by becoming a member you are helping to advance the cause of obesity.
- SIGN OUR PETITION TO END FAT-SHAMING!
The OAC fights weight bias every single day, sometimes behind the scenes, but more often by activating our members and supporters. We’re adamant that all individuals deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their size or weight, and we have made a commitment to fight for a world free of weight bias and stigma. As part of that commitment, we have created a movement to Ban the F Word and put a stop to fat-shaming once and for all. You can support this important movement by signing our petition to “Ban the F Word,” calling for an end to fat-shaming, and showing your support of the movement to your family, friends and colleagues.
CLICK HERE to sign our petition to end fat-shaming!
- WRITE YOUR LEGISLATORS!
So you are interested in advocating with the OAC? We NEED your voice! The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) was first introduced to Congress in 2013. It was recently re-introduced to the U.S. House on May 17, 2015 and to the U.S. Senate on June 4, 2015. TROA is a landmark legislation that expands coverage of obesity medicine therapies and broadens the landscape of healthcare professionals who are able to deliver quality care to individuals seeking to improve their weight and health.So how can you help? We need YOU to write your elected officials and let them know that this bill is important to you, and it should be important to them, too! You can write both of your Senators as well as your House of Representatives member, urging them to cosponsor and support final passage of this legislation, all at once by submitting a letter through our Legislative Action Center. You may wonder if writing your legislators makes a difference, and we can tell you firsthand that YES! It does! I have personally been on hill visits with our members, where the Senator’s staff has told us that their constituents wrote to them about this issue. By writing your legislators, you are ensuring that they know that TROA matters to the people they represent!
CLICK HERE to write your legislators about TROA!
- REQUEST MATERIALS TO SHARE WITH OTHERS!
One quick and easy way to get involved with the OAC is by sharing what we do with others. You can do this a number of ways: sharing our posts on social media, writing about the OAC on your Facebook or tweeting about our latest news, talking about the OAC with your healthcare professionals, sharing our education, and more. Sharing our educational materials is one of the greatest ways to share the OAC with others, and provide them with the right information in our valuable education.You can request OAC resources to be shared at your support group or doctor’s office by filling out the material request form for support groups. You may also request extra materials to do “magazine drops” at frequently visited locations such as your doctor’s office waiting room, the hairdresser, Starbucks, the gym or anywhere else where you think OAC materials would be a valuable addition. Whether it is providing your friends and colleagues with helpful information, or it is bringing the OAC into someone’s life for the first time, sharing our education resources can and will make a difference!
CLICK HERE to order OAC resources to share with others!
- SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US!
The final way you can be part of the OAC’s work TODAY is by sharing your story with us. Are you interested in being featured in our “member corner” in our monthly member e-newsletter Members Make a Difference? Do you have a question that our healthcare professionals can answer in an issue of Your Weight Matters Weekly? Are you not sure how your story fits into the picture, but want to share it and work with us to find out how your voice can be powerful within the OAC and for the overall cause of obesity? Send us an email to introduce yourself and let us know that you want to become more involved! We love to hear from our members and supporters, and it is a great opportunity to tell your story.
CLICK HERE to send us an e-mail and introduce yourself!