I’m pretty sure I’ve told you that I love movies. Which really means I love stories.
There’s a great little story within the film, Shawshank Redemption. The main character, Andy Dufresne - who is serving time for a murder he didn’t commit - decides he’s going to try to open a prison library. He starts mailing letters to the state legislature to ask for books for the library.
The key scene unfolds as follows: after years of writing one letter a week, boxes of books arrive at the Warden's office, along with a note, which reads:
Dear Mister Dufresne, In response to your repeated inquiries the State has allocated the enclosed funds for your library project ... we trust this will fill your needs, we now consider the matter closed - please stop sending us letters.
A sympathetic prison guard smirks and says: "Good for you Andy". Smiling, Andy replies, "It only took six years ... from now on I'll write two letters a week instead of one."
It requires a great deal of patience and endurance to be one of our advocates in the Cure Advocacy Network. Influencing public policy is a slow, incremental process that is often seasoned with a sometimes distasteful dose of compromise. But the work also requires a little bit of spunk; a recognition that you don’t get what you don’t ask for; a little bit of the hunter in you.
All that is a prelude to some good news: The Senate Appropriations Committee in PA is scheduled to hear and vote on our Bill (SB#31), The Spinal Cord Disability Research Grant Act, the week of Sept. 24th. This is really good news for 2 reasons:
- They removed the Bill from the Committee back in May, until our advocates (and new Advocacy Manager, Jake Beckstrom) marshaled a campaign of calls to the Committee. By the end of that week in May, they put the Bill back in. We made some noise...and they listened.
- If the Appropriations Committee votes our Bill into the Budget, we are almost assured of passage.
But - in the spirit of Andy Dufresne - we need your help, your voice, your persistence. We need the hunter in you.
We will be visiting the Capitol in Harrisburg the week of September 24th. We need you to call these Senators, thank them for listening to our voice and ask them to pass Senate Bill #31:
- Sen. Corman: 717-787-1377
- Sen. Scavello: 717-787-6123
- Sen. Browne: 717-787-1349
- Sen. Scarnati: 717-787-7084
Remember: you don't have to be from Pennsylvania to call. Call from wherever you are or wherever you live.
We need them to know that the SCI Community is bigger and louder than they thought. And that we're paying attention. If we can pass this Bill, it will inject our voice into a portion of the funding process in Pennsylvania. And provide that much more momentum for our Movement.
So put your ask face on. Work up your hunter instincts. And make some calls for us.
All of us.