One of our moms gave me a surprised look when she glanced at my very busy March calendar, and her reaction made me pause and think back on how much progress our parents made this month. Liberated by early spring temperatures, they came out in force to participate in conversations with other parents and legislators. After eight weeks of moms meetings here in Ohio, March brought an exciting energy and momentum that made me feel like I was riding on a wave.
COLUMBUS METROPOLITAN LIBRARY
We had a great turnout on March 5 when we brought Camp Clean Air to the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Main Branch. As the kids made their way from station to station, I had an opportunity to talk with several parents about what our group is doing to help give Columbus parent’s a stronger voice. My favorite part of these educational event is the final station where families are asked to take action. A mom with two little boys approached the table and looked at the photos of air pollution that were laying there. While the mom wrote a letter to her senator, her sons drew picture letters and they talked about how the different photos represented air
Mom: “So tell me, what do you think of when I say dirty air?“
Child: “Smoke in the air coming out of a pipe.”
Mom: “You mean like a smokestack? Like this picture?”
Child: “It comes out of the pipe and the ‘merckily” pops all over the ground.“
Mom: “Are you trying to say mercury?“
Child shakes head yes.
Mom: “You really were listening! That is really good.”
LETTER WRITING PARTY AT FIREFLY PLAY CAFE
On March 6, I brought a group of parents and their kids to Firefly Play Cafe in Clintonville for a letter writing party. One of our moms, Timi. Her 4 year old daughter Shivani was clearly ready to do some writing:
Jenny: “Hi Shivani.”
Shivani: “Hi. I am going to write a letter for clean air just like my
Jenny: “That is such a great idea! You can totally do that and the Senator told us they listen when we write one letter. Can you imagine how much power we will have when we ALL write letters?“
Shivani writes her letter and draws a picture.
Jenny: “So can you tell me about you picture?”
Shivani: “This is the smoke and these are all the people who are going to write letters to stop it.”
I was overwhelmed by the support I felt from my community of parents. This meeting brought together several of the parents who feel passionately about this issue and come out to almost every event. These women are forming bonds through their shared passion and concern and like me, they are seeing our movement grow from a few moms to a larger force with a much stronger voice here in central Ohio.
CALL SENATOR BROWN TO SAY “THANK YOU”
A couple weeks ago, after Senator Brown voted to reject an amendment that would weaken the EPA’s Boiler rule, I felt like it was time to rally the troops and have them call in on March 18th and let him know that we were watching and are grateful. The next day I found out that the majority of our callers were dads! Sure enough, dads are now coming to meetings and when called to action, they are proving to be some of our most steadfast supporters!
TRIP TO WASHINGTON DC
Before leaving on March 15th for a trip with her family to our nation’s capitol, one of our most active moms called to ask me if there was anything she could do while she was in Washington. We quickly made appointments for her and her family to meet with Senator Brown and Senator Portman to tell them about some of the great work that MCAF is doing in Ohio.
Blogger, advocate and mother, Laura Burns has such a deep and emotional connection to the community where she has lived her entire life. She’s passionate about protecting her own family from toxins. Laura’s work with other parents helping them find solutions to some pretty serious environmental issues never ceases to blow me away. This meeting was no exception. She brought together a group of smart compassionate women who helped me understand how much energy there is in Mansfield around hydraulic fracturing. This is a community that is aware and motivated to create change and find some very exciting solutions. Thank you Laura for doing such a great job!