From Tragedy to Resiliency: Incorporating Stories into Advocacy Efforts

Journalists with microphonesImmigration, gun control, appropriations. Though there were plenty of issues discussed on the Hill this week, I’m struggling to write about any of them. Like many Americans, this week’s events have led to a roller coaster of emotions and the week isn’t even over. During the media coverage of the tragic Boston Marathon bombings, a journalist noted that marathons are a place where news bumps into you. One doesn’t have to seek out a story.

The day after the marathon I was meeting with staff of a Massachusetts congressman when a woman walked in with flowers to pay her respects. She said she was the widow of a flight attendant who lost his life during the attacks of September 11. It was nice of her to share her story and to stop by to comfort others who were certainly having a rough day.  I was on the Hill again on Wednesday as offices were evacuated due to suspicious packages and tainted letters.  And yet, the staff was resilient. My meetings went on despite everyone being a little on edge.

A colleague from another organization asked me this week if I had a standard presentation on incorporating stories into advocacy.  Since there are countless stories for me to choose from each time I speak on behalf of Goodwill® I pointed him in the direction of our My Story initiative.  He said that he spent 90 minutes listening to uplifting stories of people who have been helped by Goodwill. Good thing he bumped into me. This week, I ask you to share your uplifting story, think about how you weave those stories into your advocacy, and be sure to recognize when news bumps into you.