We can make a positive difference—and you can too!

Being afraid and intimidated is a normal response to giving testimony at the Statehouse.

Even though I have been a teacher who spoke many hours a day for many years in addition to a considerable amount of public speaking for a variety of events, I am most nervous when I speak for a hearing at the Statehouse.

Some combination of the capitol’s massive size and my 5-foot frame challenges my courage as I approach the steps and remind myself that it is important to climb those steps and share concerns.

I generally wear my Statehouse jewelry: a necklace that says, “Speak your mind even when your voice shakes,” and a bracelet inscribed with “She believed she could, so she did.”

I have met with legislators personally and as one of many testifying at a hearing. I often work on behalf of IFCL where we try to gain bipartisan support for education, environment, justice, public health and voting issues we support as we speak for Hoosiers who may not be able to speak for themselves.

As a small group we choose a few issues each session that seem most important, and we welcome the opportunity to work with other groups that can add more voices to the effort.

A few years ago, we aligned with over 100 individuals and groups to protect vulnerable people from a bill that might have challenged their struggle to make ends meet. That combination was successful, but we continue to be aware that a troublesome bill may reappear the next year with a new number, and so it begins again.

Probably the most rewarding effort is working with legislators to introduce a bill. Finding bipartisan support is a challenge but the best way to find success.

My testimonies don’t have a stellar record for moving forward a bill that I support or slowing the momentum of a bill that I don’t support. More than once I have gathered my thoughts on a bench outside of a chamber before I call it a day and head to the parking garage to pay for an effort that didn’t go as I had hoped.

I continue, however, to believe that being a participant is important, and I was pleased to see that Indianapolis Reporter Brittany Carloni included an article in the Star this week https://indianapolisstar-in.newsmemory.com/?publink=349d48a8c_134d11d

that will help people navigate the procedure for testifying at the Statehouse.

I hope everyone will continue to share concerns with IFCL that we can address at the Statehouse and participate with us when possible. We can make a difference, and the more people who participate the better our chance for making that difference happen.