The world is filled with armchair activists and people with good intentions. So imagine yourself in a room filled to capacity with “doers”–– a league of extraordinary women (and a few brave men) with different strengths and skills but one shared passion.
The group I’m with now–champions for the UN Shot@Life organization–came together for different reasons to save the lives of children who are dying needlessly from diseases we know how to prevent with affordable vaccines.
Thirty-seven states were represented yesterday at the official kickoff of the 2013 UN Foundation Shot@Life Champion Summit. It hardly seems possible that a year has passed since the first 48 members met and dispersed across the country to build advocacy and fundraise in their communities.
Now there are 100 new champions bringing our number up to 300; eventually we will become 3,000.
Today we have 85 meetings with senators and representatives on Capitol Hill. What an amazing start to our 2013 efforts. Some of our group are seasoned lobbyists; others are like me who have never met with any of America’s political leaders before. I will be leading three of those 85 meetings. I’m nervous.
But I know exactly what I’m going to say. I will tell them about the mothers I met under a tree in Tanzania who came to weigh their babies from a scale hanging on a branch. That tree and a mud-and-stick hut where shots were given was their clinic. I will tell them about the smiles on the mother’s faces as they showed me their babies’ vaccine card is marked indicating their child is healthy. I will talk about mothers who walk miles in the hot sun to get life-saving vaccines–something many of us in America take for granted.
Today 85 stories will be told on Capitol Hill. Our league of extraordinary doers will create its first ripple for 2013. I can’t wait to see where we go from here.