Be Informed and Stay Positive
November 20, 2023 | By Christina Ingoglia
It’s true that politics across the nation, within Missouri, and even in our local communities can be upsetting to follow and even disheartening. Often what makes top headlines for media outlets that want to capture our clicks or viewing time is the stuff that can make us all feel upset, angry, divided, or even confused. Because of that, the clearest way to advocate—to cut through the noise—is to be positive and professional when interacting with legislators or other advocates.
Staying positive means not attacking anyone who differs in their opinion. You can absolutely and kindly share why you disagree, but you should never engage in name calling, shouting, or doing anything that might make your advocacy target uncomfortable. If someone disagrees with you, ask them why? You may find common ground you were not expecting.
Part of effective advocacy is staying on topic and being informed. In our case, when we meet and visit with legislators, we focus exclusively on our legislative priorities, the needs of people with IDDs and their families, and we go to meetings as informed as we possibly can be. Do your homework before the meeting and look up anything about the issue you may want to know. If you have questions about Emmaus’s advocacy priorities, you can always write to Christina Ingoglia at Advocacy@EmmausHomes.org .
If during the course of the meeting you don’t know the answer to a question, say so! Tell the legislator or whomever you are meeting with that you will follow up once you have the answer. Then be sure to follow up in a timely manner. NEVER make anything up.
Most people, elected officials or otherwise, will respond to kindness and inquisitiveness, even if they strongly disagree with you. You might be surprised by how effective you are with some preparation, a kind attitude, and sincere passion!