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Persevering for AdvocacyFriday, December 22, 2017
When Amanda Devereaux and her husband found out their second child was going to be born with a preventable disability, they started advocating for educational legislation before she was even born. Pippa, now two years old, was diagnosed with congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) in utero. Her parents introduced legislation with their state senator to help other families prevent CMV from affecting their children.
After failing to pass their legislation in the 2015-2016 legislative session, Amanda and her husband got more families and legislators involved in the advocacy process. After another session of meeting with legislators and raising awareness, their legislation passed.
Amanda’s experience offers a learning opportunity for other people interested in advocacy. She advises others who want to talk with their legislators to have a clear concept of what they want to discuss before they meet in order to make the most of the meeting. Amanda also emphasizes the importance of using connections and reaching out for help. She and her husband reached out to many people and asked them to contact their legislators about CMV prevention. All of their contributions helped pass the legislation.
Most importantly, she stresses the importance of perseverance. “You can’t stop; even when you think you miss your chance like I thought we had, we still made it,” she said.