How I Can Change the World
by Annika Erickson-Pearson
My time this year as an education advocate has been potentially one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. I was welcomed into the community through a phenomenal organization called RESULTS in July and four days later, met with my members of Congress on the Hill in Washington, DC. The experience was initially frightening but the material was simply so compelling to me that I knew I would be spending more than just a day focusing my efforts on increasing global access to education and ensuring quality for all.
It was that week that I was also introduced to the Global Campaign for Education-US and their wonderfully supportive network. I knew it would be possible to carry on with global education advocacy because I had contact and support from the organization and no longer felt like I was operating as a free agent. As a college student, I am fortunate to be surrounded by a wealth of resources and activities on campus, and have sought to mobilize a small student group to take action on these issues. We chose to target our senator, Michael Bennet, for a campaign to introduce an Education for All Act in the Senate, a companion to current H.R. 2705. He is not our target simply because he happens to be our senator and serves the state we happen to live in; Senator Bennet is the perfect candidate to introduce this act as he is the former superintendent of Denver Public Schools and the lead sponsor of a bill on Microfinance, another crucial international development area of focus.
Our work with his office has been compelling and rewarding, not only providing an in-depth view of the legislative process, but strengthening my passion for global education. I have been challenged to expand my understanding of the issues facing our world and our capacity to create positive change. I used to be of the belief that participation stopped at voting and that one would simply trust his or her decision-maker to "do the right thing." We can do better than that. It's our job to stand up for the things we believe in. It's remarkable how much one or ten or fifty people who truly care can do. I don't care about global education only because I care about children around the world learning to read, but because, as a student, I believe strongly that education is a viable plan for development. I'm grateful for the opportunity to volunteer my time and work towards these goals and I'm grateful for the Global Campaign for Education-US for making my work possible, known, and always fun. Their support is exceptional.
Looking forward in the new year, we will continue working with Senator Bennet's office, collecting much needed signatures on our Change(.)org petition and collecting letters of support for the bill from relevant organizations and individuals. We will also work directly alongside staff members to see that the office's needs align with the goals of our campaign. It is critical for our campaign to define a popular will for the introduction of the bill and we cannot do it alone. Please consider signing our petition and passing it around to your networks.
Annika Erickson-Pearson is a college student in Colorado.