Last Wednesday was our annual Fall Lobby Day. Once again it was a tremendous success!Thank you to all who came and spoke out on the need for Congress to address eating disorders through important policies!
EDC lobby day actually started Tuesday evening with our Awards reception. Dr. Rebecca Puhl was awarded the 2013 Excellence in Policy Research Award, Carmen Cool was awarded the 2013 Excellence in Advocacy Award, and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) received the EDC Lifetime Achievement in Policy Award. Senator Harkin has worked with the EDC as a powerful ally in the fight to end eating disorders for nearly a decade and we are grateful that he is such a champion for our cause. In addition to a moving speech, the Senator was able to meet many of our members that evening and hear their stories first hand.
Wednesday started with message training, which prepared all of the teams for their meetings. Training was a wonderful opportunity to not only really hone our message and prepare for the day, but to share our stories and encourage each other. We left training for the Hill united with a strong and powerful voice.
At midday the EDC held a Congressional briefing “Fear of fat and weight stigma: The need to address eating disorders and obesity in tandem”. Representative Alcee Hastings of Florida, hosted the briefing and encouraged us to be persistent in our message. “Don’t write one letter” he said “write a thousand.” And so we will. We are so grateful for Representative Hastings he is a true champion for those with eating disorders. He was awarded with the EDC 2013 Excellence in Policy Award. A special thanks to all of our speakers: Johanna Kandel, Dr Rebecca Puhl, Dr Timothy Walsh, Chevese Turner, and April Winslow.
Then off we went to the halls of Congress armed with a powerful message, that the federal government has the power to dramatically reduce eating disorders, and to ensure that people with eating disorders receive the treatment they need. Our teams met with House and Senate offices throughout the day. Because of these meetings, we were able to educate offices on eating disorders, gain new sponsors for FREED, forge new partnerships, and build relationships with Congress.
But the work doesn’t end with lobby day; it is just a beginning. In fact, we are working even harder on the Hill to capitalize on the important work done last week. EDC continues to advocate and educate on the Hill, we are following up with offices and building on this strong foundation to advance our policy goals.
EDC lobby days are not only about making Members of Congress pay attention and pass legislation – they are also about empowering those who have suffered as a result of an eating disorder. We stand together and break the silence. As one advocate said at the end of the day describing her lobbying experience “It is humbling, gratifying, and utterly life changing.”
If you weren’t able to join us on the Hill, there is still time to be a virtual lobbyist to help our efforts. See the details here.
To see more pictures of Lobby day, check out our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EatingDisordersCoalition