"Will you Speak Up To Support Successful Children and Families?"
Do you want Colorado families to be strong, to be healthy? Do you want children to have the best education? We thought so, well, that means you are an advocate for children and families. You can make a difference for all our children; there are policy decisions being made as you read this, that have an impact on your family. Good policy doesn’t happen by accident, and it doesn’t happen automatically. It happens when adults raise their voices, raise their hands, and use their influence to promote what is best for children and families.
The best place to start is close by, local efforts often have the most immediate and responsive results. We have elected people to the school board, to the hospital board, to city council, and our county commissioners. These people are our neighbors, maybe our friends, and they need to hear from all of us.
The truth is that people who have young children don’t always have the time to talk with elected folks or attend meetings. It’s also true that they may need to hear from you the most. They need to hear your story, your first-hand experience, because their experience may be quite different. Whomever you want to contact, our local elected people have their phone numbers and emails on the website for the organization they serve. If you can google Pitkin County or City of Aspen for example, you can easily find that contact information. You may get to talk directly, but even if you leave a message, we’re willing to bet they will hear you, and they will respond. We think that is great, just another reason to start at the local level.
Right now, the Colorado legislature is also in session, so it’s a great time to contact your state senator or representative. Again, if you google Colorado legislature, you’ll see the 2021 session. You can find your elected people and their contact information. You can also find what bills are being introduced or where in the process a certain bill might be. You can even ask to testify remotely – again really just telling your experience or your expertise. Of course, you can contact your senator and representative anytime throughout the year, and they often hold town hall meetings in our community. Interestingly enough, not many people go to those, so you have a good chance to ask questions and share your thoughts. You could even bring your child with you; that often creates a great dynamic! If your child is older, it could also be a mini civics lesson, but don’t tell them that!
You know why this is important. Children can’t tell law makers what concerns them, they need each of us to speak for them. There is something for everyone to do here. Maybe you’re really not comfortable talking to your legislators, you can email, or write a letter, even a letter to the editor about a local issue. You can also learn more about proposed laws and talk with your friends and neighbors about the issues you care about.
Most of us aren’t just concerned about one issue, clearly, we care a lot about kids and families, but we also care about our environment, our public lands, good health care, and a lot more. We’ve put links to local, state, and federal organizations that advocate for children and families on the Kids First website. It’s easy too –
Check it out and proudly put on your child advocate hat. We’d love to hear from you with other ideas about getting involved and advocating for kids and families; we post this column on Facebook for both Kids First and Aspen Family Connections, so check that out too, and let us hear from you!