My First Memory of Advocacy

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Advocating for COPD research and policy

Tracie Sullivan, Advocacy Coordinator at the COPD Foundation manages the COPD State Advocacy Program, a grassroots initiative that encourages everyone in the COPD community – patients, caregivers, health care providers, and students – to come together to lobby on behalf of the 30 million Americans living with the disease. Tracie talks about her experiences in community organizing and shares how you can become a COPD State Advocacy Captain.

My first memory of advocacy was going to a rally with my father when I was ten. I remember sitting on his shoulders and watching a presidential candidate speak outside the town hall on a snowy evening in October, surrounded by hundreds of people cheering and holding signs.

As a grew up, I realized how unique my experience was living in New Hampshire and my exposure to politics at a young age through the primaries. With the largest amount of local elected officials in New Hampshire, combined with national presidential attention, it was not uncommon to bump into representatives at a local restaurant and have a conversation with them about an issue you cared about.

When I talk to volunteers, and community members about advocacy I often hear feedback that they find it intimidating and scary. They don’t know where to get started and how to engage. My hope, as the Grassroots Manager at the COPD Foundation is to dismantle those thoughts, and change the conversation surrounding civic engagement. The truth is, you practice advocacy everyday without even knowing it. You advocate for yourself by asking questions at your doctor’s appointment, by going to your child’s parent-teacher conferences, by running that 5k for a specific cause, and having a conversation with your family about COPD.

You already have what it takes to be an advocate, take the next step and find out who your elected officials are today! Our COPD Action Center, makes it easy to find and connect with your federal, state, and local officials through your zip code and address! We can provide you with email templates, scripts, and step by step toolkits to make the process less overwhelming! Let us help you, start your COPD advocacy process, contact tsullivan@copdfoundation.org to become an advocate!

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