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Senior organizer Brian Rawson just returned from training 24 new Oxfam Action Corps volunteer organizers. Here’s his update on the latest from Oxfam’s nationwide volunteer initiative.
“Should we run?”
I didn’t even need to ask. We were short on time, and transferring to another DC metro train that was about to depart. Megan took off, running in heels, and continued to accelerate, gunning to catch the subway just 50 yards ahead of us.
From my vantage point, keeping up alongside her, it appeared to be a scene from an action movie: she faintly lit, sprinting, and stylishly dressed against the futuristic blur of the metro tunnel and its crowd. But it wasn’t a ticking bomb in Megan’s sights, nor a top secret briefcase: The object of her pursuit was the Dianne Feinstein weekly constituent breakfast.
As a volunteer for the Oxfam Action Corps, Megan Ferreira is on a mission. A mission to help people in poverty, people who are getting slammed by droughts, floods, and other consequences of climate change. Congress has the power to limit greenhouse gas emissions and generate revenue to help people cope. That’s why, the morning after an exhausting four-day training, Megan was rushing to seize her one chance to see her Senator in person (albeit in front of a crowd) before leaving Washington, DC.
“There are so many injustices in the world. But rather than waste my energy being frustrated and depressed by it all, I find motivation knowing that my time and voice can make a difference, even a small one,” says Megan, who’s volunteered as an organizer with the San Francisco Bay Area Action Corps since its inception in 2007.
Megan was in DC earlier this month to help us train 24 new volunteer organizers from 11 US cities. After the training—which gives volunteers all the skills they need to campaign with Oxfam to fight poverty—we headed to Capitol Hill for meetings with members of Congress. As they called for the passage of a climate bill that helps poor communities adapt, the volunteers also got some hands-on advocacy experience to bring back to their home cities.
And, like Megan, the volunteers are off to a rapid start. Only five days into their new roles, they’d already organized one public screening of the Sisters on the Planet films and held 43 meetings with members of Congress.
Actually, make that 44. When we made it at last to the breakfast, Megan was able to address the Senator, her legislative director, and 200 constituents—all with barely enough time to catch her breath.