Advocacy Days on the Hill May 7-8, 2024

Monday June 10, 2024

Advocacy Days on the Hill May 7-8, 2024

Mike Roman, RPCV Kiribati, has journeyed to the Hill numerous times, advocating for causes like Multiple Sclerosis, Climate Change and the Peace Corps.  Throughout his time on the Hill, he engaged with individuals of all ages, from seniors to young adults, including his own students from the University of Cincinnati.  However, this time the cause of Refugees brought him to the Hill.

In preparation for his task for Advocacy Week in May, the Ohio delegation met online and prepared for every possibility.  Their team consisted entirely of refugees from Sudan, Somalia and Ukraine, Mike and the team lead from the Conference of Catholic Bishops.  She and Mike led the first meeting with Senator Vance’s Chief of Staff, before swiftly moving to the second meeting across the Capitol on the House side.  As they voiced concerns regarding oversight, funding and key legislation such as the Afghan Adjustment Act, Refugee Protection Act and the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act, others began to chime in, adding their perspectives and slowly warming up to the idea of participating.

Following their second meeting and during a two-hour break they trained others on leading, offering support and guidance as needed. The last two meetings of the first day were largely run by the refugees.  By the second day, Mike found himself taking a backseat as others took charge, transforming from timid individuals to confident leaders.  Their growth was palpable, evident in the covert thumbs-ups and louder-than-life smiles that followed each conclusion.

In the halls of Congress and on the bustling streets of the Capitol, the team’s rallying cry of “OH” – “IO” brought laughter and smiles.  Amidst the excitement, they were thrilled to spot President Biden driving by; a big moment for everyone!

OH – IO is not just a silly war cry, but also a sense of pride in who they now represented, far from home and filled with empowerment and a new commitment to advocacy.

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