Although Washington may seem like a world away to many, it is surprisingly easy to voice your concerns to elected officials. We would like to draw attention to this week’s Congressional Recess and invite you to participate with us in UNA-USA’s National Advocacy Week 2011. This week is an excellent time to visit the local offices of your members of Congress to discuss the priorities outlined in the 2011 UNA-USA Advocacy Agenda.
The reality is that we are entering a difficult period in our country’s relationship with the UN. We must raise our voices to let our elected officials know how important the work of the UN is to us, and how the US’ support matters. At an address to the World Affairs Council of Oregon last week, Ambassador Susan Rice stated that “Main Street America needs the United Nations, and so do you and I, especially in these tough economic times. America can’t police every conflict, end every crisis, and shelter every refugee. The UN provides a real return on our tax dollars by bringing 192 countries together to share the cost of providing stability, vital aid, and hope in the world’s most broken places.” Ambassador Rice is not alone in her thoughts. An October 2010 survey found that 72 percent of Americans support paying our UN peacekeeping dues in full and on time, but the Continuing Resolution just passed by the U.S. House of Representatives does just the opposite – it cuts funding for the UN regular budget by $80 million and slashes UN Peacekeeping by $228 million from the FY2011 budget.
Your voice is needed now more than ever.
As you prepare to voice your concerns please utilize UNA-USA’s advocacy tips for writing letters, scheduling visits and other useful suggestions concerning where and how to begin. Remember each meeting, simple letter, phone call, fax or e-mail from a constituent represents your voice as a concerned voter that would have otherwise gone unheard.
By joining your fellow UNA-USA activists around the country during National Advocacy Week, you can make a tangible impression on your elected representatives of the strong public support that exists for working through the United Nations. As the violent clashes in the Arab world this past week show, a global body working for peace, human rights, and conflict resolution is needed now more than ever!