Dear Addy: Avid Advocate

Dear Addy,
Each year, I travel to Washington, D.C., and my state capitol to meet with my legislators and members of Congress to discuss issues that are most important to the bleeding disorders community. Due to COVID-19, I have heard that in-person visits are no longer viable options. How can I make sure my voice will continue to be heard?
Avid Advocate

Dear Advocate,
Don’t worry; your voice can still be heard even during a global public health pandemic. Many elected officials, while not taking in-person meetings, have opted to meet with individuals and groups via online platforms, telephone calls, and email. If you are unable to utilize those options, you can also still send a letter via the mail. If you are interested in meeting with your elected officials reach out to their offices to schedule some time to meet. It may take a while to adjust to the different environment but know that you are not alone. There are many perks to meeting with your legislator remotely. You may feel less nervous during your meeting because it is informal, and you can have more one on one time to speak about your issues. You may also be able to have a more extended meeting as opposed to a brief in-person conversation. There is also a decreased likelihood of disruptions, which allows for a better meeting overall.
Don’t forget, when you are not speaking directly to someone, you can always advocate virtually via social media. You can interact with elected officials across a variety of platforms to ensure your message is heard. For example, many are using Facebook to host virtual town hall events.
For more information on how you can set up a meeting with your state legislator or member of Congress or participate in town hall event, check out their respective websites and social media pages.
You can also contact the HFA Policy & Advocacy team for questions, comments, or practice role-playing before your meeting!