Saturday, January 29, 2011
As advocacy month comes to a close, I wanted to share another important post. I wrote recently about contacting your state representatives. As intimidating as this can be, I want to make it as straightforward and simple as possible.
I am grateful to Olivia Swedberg, chair of the Florida Music Therapy Government Relations Task Force. She has already taken steps to make conversation with your representatives easy. If you are considering writing to your representatives, use these resources that Olivia has put together.
The first is some guidelines to consider when writing your legislators. It includes tips for addressing the representative, formatting the letter, representing yourself, and speaking out on behalf of music therapy.
The second resource is a letter to your representative that is already written for you. All you have to do is FILL IN THE BLANKS! Olivia has made contacting your representatives that easy.
To wrap things up, I want to make a note on follow-up with your representatives. Olivia emphasizes allowing officials an opportunity to see music therapy in action. To make the biggest impact, she suggests that you follow-up the letter by calling a week later to schedule a meeting. However, students likely do not have an established practice that a representative might observe. There are alternatives to this. For example, just sending a letter describing your student status may be effective. You may be brave enough to meet with your representative to discuss what you hope for in the future as a professional. Or, with a professional's permission, perhaps you may invite the representative to that professional's session.
The point I want to make clear is that ANYone can be an advocate for music therapy. Do what you can with what you have. Students should not feel like they do not have a voice.
Discuss: What are some other suggestions and alternatives are out there for students, professionals, or other advocates who feel intimidated by the thought of meeting/contacting their representative?