You can use your voice for all kinds of things. To build someone up. To tear someone down. And even to affect change.
This month we are talking about how to use your voice to inspire others, encourage others, and to facilitate change. It is one of the most powerful resources you have. We want to share with you this one an example of one MGA member using her voice to start a discussion about a topic that means a lot to her. In sharing her story, she influenced others to take a look at what they believe and how they treat people.
What topics are important to you? What do you wish people would pay more attention to? How can you use your voice to capture attention and make changes? That's what we're talking about.
Take a look at this month's video. It's a touch longer than usual, but totally worth watching.
- What did you think about what Hannah had to share? Did it surprise you? Did it NOT surprise you? Did it inspire you to want to share some of your thoughts?
- What is one issue you think a lot about? Is there a way to use your voice to encourage change? What stops you from talking about it? What would help you talk about it?
- There are lots of ways to use your voice, which ones are most comfortable to you? Writing? Talking in a small group? Making a video? Writing a song? Giving a presentation? If you had to pick a way to share your thoughts, what would you pick?
- Why don't people talk about harder topics? What stops you? What have you seen stop others? What are we really afraid of and why is it so hard to share?
- If no one was ever brave enough to share, what would happen in the world?
1. Contact your local, state, and federal representatives and share what's on your mind.
- Reach out to your reps. The U.S. Government provides a public database of contact info for your elected officials. Use it. Pro tip: Do background research, using reliable sources, before firing off an email with your position — it’s difficult to effectively argue an issue with incomplete or incorrect facts. By the way, you can often use your elected officials’ official websites to sign up for email newsletters and other updates. You may also want to follow them on social media and comment directly on their posts.
- Plan strategic calls, not just emails. As Emily Ellsworth suggests in a New York Times article, phone calls from constituents are often more effective than emails because emails are depersonalized and easily ignored amid other overwhelming requests for contact.
- Attend town hall meetings. Your representatives will hold local Town Hall events or Q&A sessions where the public is encouraged to attend and voice concerns — these events are part of their gig. You can usually find info about when are where these are set to take place on local official websites or your representative’s website.
- Use digital tools for policy updates. You can track the legislation your elected representatives have proposed or contributed to in some way by browsing their respective websites. Once you’re aware of bills coming down the pike that your congresspersons and senators will vote on, reach out to them to let them know where you, their constituent, stands.
2. Express Yourself: Learn how to be yourself and communicate with others.
Being a teen girl isn’t easy—so confidence is key! In Express Yourself, a practicing psychotherapist will teach you how to communicate effectively and be assertive in any situation, whether it is online or at school, with friends, parents, bullies, cliques, or crushes.
3. Share your thoughts and ideas with Million Girl Army!
We want to hear your thoughts and ideas about what you are learning. Send your email or video (our preference) to firstname.lastname@example.org
With your permission we may use your feedback on our website or social media. Lets get this conversation started, contact us today!
4. Your voice and your story is your weapon.
Check out THIS SITE. They've been empowering girls to find and use their voices since 1999.
5. Practice with a subject you know well and a group you trust.
Grab a notebook and write down ten answers to these questions. Write the first things that come to mind. Share them with your troop. Telling who you are and bits about yourself is a great first step to sharing things that make you feel more nervous or vulnerable.
- I like to.....
- When I write, I want people to feel that I'm.....
- An uncommon, trivial thing about me is....
- A distinct, important thing about me is....
- I'm ________ about _________.
- I wish I could/would be more ______, but I don't think that's going to happen any time soon.