Advocacy on the Hill
This summer, five members of the UNA of Southern Illinois Chapter attended the UNA-USA 2017 Leadership Summit. (L-R) Mary McGee, Cindy Buys, Melinda Yeomans, Darcy Hemphill and Olga Weidner proudly represented our chapter at the June 11th -13th summit in Washington D.C. This is the largest delegation our chapter has ever sent to the national summit. Olga Weidner represented our chapter as the Regional Representative to the National Board. Cindy Buys attended as the President of the Chapter and Melinda Yeomans attended as the Education Chair. Mary McGee is the President of the SIU UNA RSO and was selected as a UNA GenUN Fellow. Darcy Hemphill attended as the Treasurer of the SIU UNA RSO.
The delegates participated in many sessions where they learned more about the vital work of the United Nations on the environment, refugees, gender equity, and much more from leaders such as the President of the UN General Assembly, His Excellency Peter Thompson, President of the Better World Campaign, Peter Yeo, representatives from UN Women, and many others. They also learned about the UNA’s new campaign, Stand Up for Human Rights, which encourages each one of us to take action in our daily lives to support human rights. On Tuesday, June 13, our Southern Illinois Chapter delegation joined with other UNA members from around the State of Illinois to advocate for full U.S. funding and other support for the United Nations with our Congressional representatives. It was the largest UN Advocacy Day ever with 600 UNA members meeting with more than half the Congress.
"Advocating for the United Nations on Capitol Hill was a deeply meaningful experience" said Education Chair, Melinda Yeomans. "As the saying goes, 'if you want to learn something teach it'. After this leadership summit and our advocacy work on Capitol Hill, I feel inspired to serve as the Education Chair of our local UNA chapter, and return from Washington D.C. with a full file of new ideas for us to implement". Yeomans had the chance to meet with two Congressional representatives from Illinois and a representative from her home state, Washington.