Friday, March 23, 2007

They've Returned!

GEB members Aili and Saskia, as well as Adult Editors Kate and Catherine, have returned from Washington, D.C. ! They're resting today so we haven't yet seen them "in the flesh," but Kate sent us this great report that we wanted to share with you!

"What a great week! Here are the numbers:

75 New Moon supporters came to the open house at Busboys and Poets!!
22 girls lobbied Congress to listen to girls' voices and hand delivered the "Letter to Congress" issue
27 letters of Congratulations written by girls to the first woman speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi
15 major monuments and museums visited by GEB girls

10 New Moon Congressional visits in two days!!!

There were so many people at the Celebration for Girls' Voices and the time went by in a flash, but here are the highlights:

-Girls videotaped each other talking about the political issues that are important to them
-Erin Vilardi from the White House Project talked about women in office
-Pulitzer prize winning journalist Dana Priest from the Washington Post, Elsa Walsh from the New Yorker and Melinda Henneberger from the Huffington Blog all spoke about their experiences becoming journalists

Guests of Honor:
-Abigail and John Bessler, Amy Klobuchar's 11-year-old daughter and husband
-Libby Sproat, one of the founding GEB girls
-April Osajima and Alison Harms from Girls Inc.
-Laurie Westley from the Girl Scouts
-Former New Moon dogsledding adventure participants

-CAB members!

The event was huge, the Congressional visits really successful, and the days LONG. Saskia and Catherine arrived at midnight Monday, we lobbied from 9:30 to 6:30 on Tuesday, did event prep Tuesday until midnight, did our "Day on Capitol Hill" from 8:30 to 3 on Wednesday, headed to Busboys and had a blowout party (pizza, soda, desserts, balloons, and NEW MOON GIRLS!) until 6. We were out touring D.C. until 12 and then yesterday we hit the Sewell-Belmont house and the Native American Smithsonian before we headed to the airport. Whew!

It was a little miracle that we were able to meet with Senator Clinton on Wednesday--her staff was super organized and she was so gracious. We weren't allowed to take pictures because it creates chaos, but they promised to send photos to us. Hillary said, "Well, we'll see if they'll Listen to Girls in 2008!" She was engaged and excited about the issue and listened intently as Saskia and Aili presented it to her.

Here's a brief rundown of the congressional visits and how they went:

We met with Norm Coleman first and we were planning to meet with three of his staff people, but they were so excited to see Aili and Saskia that they pulled Senator Coleman out of one of his meetings to listen to the girls for a few minutes. Coleman was humble and kind. His advice to girls running for office is, "there's no substitute for hard work."

In the afternoon, we met with Senator Amy Klobuchar, her daughter Abigail, her husband John, and her legislative correspondent, Simone. We were excited to hear a lot from Abigail--she's a huge proponent of education and says that kids who have it hard at home should not have to go to school in a chaotic environment. In her old elementary school in Minnesota, she could really see how difficult it was for kids who have hard home lives to learn in school because there simply weren't the necessary resources. She also wore a "Save the Penguins" button. Senator Klobuchar told girls to keep speaking up about the issues that are important to them--she says that youth are really why global warming is at the forefront of congressional discussion these days and when young people care about an issue, they really have the passion to carry it forward.

We finished our meeting with Klobuchar at 5:26 and we had a 5:30 meeting with Representative McCollum at 5:30, so we cabbed it across Capitol Hill and rushed up to her office. She didn't have a lot of time because the House was required to be on the floor for a vote, but she did visit with us for a minute and was really excited to meet Aili, who interviewed her a few months ago over the phone. Rep. McCollum asked her staff to escort us to the House so we could see the vote and so we headed over through the member entrance and watched four votes on the house floor! Betty McCollum waved to us from below!

Thanks to everyone--this was truly, truly a team effort and I think it was a great success. -Kate"

1 comment:

Unschoolgirl said...

Wow, that sounds way busy and really exciting!!