Making a Difference on Advocacy Day

On March 4, in Washington, D.C., the Tourette Association of America will advocate for the most pressing issues facing the TS community on National Advocacy Day. Youth Ambassadors, TAA staff, volunteers, and community members will head to Capitol Hill to speak with elected officials on legislation affecting the community.

If you would like to join us for Advocacy Day, please register here.

All Advocacy Day attendees will need to attend the mandatory National Webinar training on Tuesday, February 18 at 8pm EST. During this webinar, Diana Felner, TAA’s VP of Public Policy, will provide guidance on how to hold your meetings. Click here to register.

Schedule:
March 3, 2020 – Advocacy Day Kick-off Dinner at Hyatt Centric Arlington
March 4, 2020 – Advocacy Day Breakfast at Hyatt Centric Arlington
March 4, 2020 – Buses to Capitol Hill
March 4, 2020 – Group Photo on Capitol Steps
March 4, 2020 – Hill Meetings
March 4, 2020 – Lunch Briefing on Capitol Hill
March 4, 2020 – Buses Return to Hyatt Centric Arlington

Youth Ambassadors and a Support Group Leader share their experiences from past Advocacy Day events and what it was like to #Rally4Tourette below.

Youth Ambassador,
Jordan F.

“Capitol Hill is the most special and unique event, and it’s the best place for advocating for Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders. You have the opportunity to share your story and have meaningful conversations with state senators and representatives.

In the past 3 years, I’ve achieved more than I ever thought I could. I convinced my senators to continue their donation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and continue to raise awareness for Tourette Syndrome. The meetings felt professional and felt like I was getting stuff done.

Going to Advocacy Day and being around other people with TS makes you feel that you fit in with other people who UNDERSTAND YOU! Parents should also donate their time, and maybe even their money, to achieving awareness across the GLOBE for Tourette Syndrome. You won’t regret it!”

Youth Ambassador, 
Jacob R.

“Our family has traveled to Capitol Hill for Advocacy Day every year since 2013. I realized the impact I could create when my Congresswoman agreed to sign onto the Dear Colleague Letter after meeting with me.

She said our meeting educated her on Tourette and that my story compelled her to support our funding request, which allows us to provide resources and help for thousands of residents in North Carolina who have Tourette. Meeting with members of Congress and their staff helped me to learn various aspects of the legislative process and emphasized the importance of sharing my story.

Going to Capitol Hill puts the reality of our situation directly in front of those from whom we are asking for support. It is one thing to hear about the effects TS has and a whole other thing to see the effects up close. It puts a face to a statistic. Statistics can do a lot, but nothing is better than a person sharing their story.

I believe consistency in attending each year shows dedication to the cause and purpose. We are putting our money where our mouth is, so to speak, by attending Advocacy Day and are asking Congress to do the same by supporting our efforts.”

Carolinas Support Group Leader, Heather

“Last year, after seven years of advocating and meeting with Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina, he signed onto our Dear Colleague Letter! Not only was that exciting, but monumental in our efforts to retain the funding. Just as those with Tourette persevere every day, we must persevere in meeting with members of Congress.

The most important thing I did for my children was to support their desire to become Youth Ambassadors and to attend Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. The training they received on public speaking, educating others about Tourette, and telling their story was invaluable and a skill they will use their entire life. The friendships and connections they made with others with Tourette was life-changing for both them and me.

Numbers count! The more people that attend individual meetings, the bigger the impact it has on members of Congress. It helps emphasize the need for support.

Tourette does not discriminate, and it’s not a political issue. We need bi-partisan support for funding.”

Youth Ambassador, 
Jordan R.

“Last year, I was asked to co-present the TAA’s Public Policy Award to Representative David Price from my state of NC, and it made me feel empowered and like my efforts made a difference. It was exciting to meet a representative in person and take part in this with TAA CEO Amanda Talty, VP of Public Policy Diana Felner, and CDC Project Manager Natalie Joseph-Pauline, who all work hard to make a difference in the life of those with Tourette.

Every voice counts. Every act of support makes a difference. The representatives, senators, and their staff members listen to what we have to say, so it’s important we continue our efforts.

When 50% of those with Tourette go undiagnosed, that underscores the need for continued funding. I have an opportunity to play a role in our goal for funding and am fortunate I can contribute.