Reflections From The Field: The Stroller Brigade

BY ON November 8, 2013

Ronnie Citron-Fink  As I discovered, along with my Moms Clean Air Force colleagues and volunteers, there’s power in “walking the walk,” or strolling a stroller into the halls of Congress to fight for strong toxic chemical reform. I joined New York’s Harlem-based group, WEACT in the offices of Senator Kirstin Gillibrand and Senator Chuck Schumer. Listening to the stories of the members of WEACT, I realized so many parents have been touched by asthma, autism, allergies and cancer — diseases associated with children touching, eating or breathing toxic chemicals. The stories were heartbreaking; emphasizing the heightened presence of disease in vulnerable communities. It was inspiring  to know my elected officials in Congress were listening, and willing to work hard to reform the toxics law. ~ Ronnie Citron-Fink, MCAF Managing Editor, New York
Jennifer Cavasser I joined the Mom’s Clean Air Force team in DC to advocate for safer chemicals in honor of my twin boys, Micah and Zachary. After three years of struggling with infertility, my husband and I were ecstatic to have twins on the way. Unfortunately, our boys were born three months early and weighed less than 3 pounds at birth. Zachary came home after three frightening months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. When Micah was six weeks old, he came down with a severe infection, which caused him to go into renal failure. Micah came home after nine long, frightening months in the hospital. Micah was home for less than four weeks before he was re-admitted to the hospital. We lost him a month later. Every day, I celebrate the health of Zachary and grieve the tragic loss of Micah. Working to help ensure a safer, healthier environment is one of the best ways for me to honor both of my boys. I am incredibly grateful to Mom’s Clean Air Force for allowing me to be part of their team. I look forward to continuing this work until we have laws in place that appropriately protect our children’s health. ~ Jennifer Canvasser, Michigan
Joan SpoerlI am so grateful to have been able to make my voice heard in such a meaningful way. I’ve been concerned about these issues for years and was so excited to learn that this critical coalition exists and is helping us to act! I am not only motivated to recruit others to join our cause, but I now am well-equipped to do so with the help of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and Moms Clean Air Force. I look forward to continuing to advocate for positive change. Thank you ever so much for the opportunity. ~ Joan Spoerl, Ohio
Marnie Urso It was so empowering and inspiring to be amongst so many smart and passionate women who were fighting for their children’s future. The wisdom, strength and community shared that day will be an inspiration for a long time to come. ~ Marnie Urso, MCAF Field Team, Ohio  
Shaun Dakin It was amazing to see so many empowered and enthusiastic Moms (and Dads) fighting for the health of their children on this important issue. As one of the few Dads at the event, it was incredible to see some of the young children meeting with Senate staff and letting them how important this issue is. ~ Shaun Dakin, MCAF Social Media Director, Virginia
Penelope Jagessar Chaffer I attended the Stroller Brigade with my two year old daughter.  Having her with me reinforced the urgency in addressing the weaknesses of the current bill. When I heard about the lack of provision for vulnerable populations I only had to look at my toddler snuggled in my arms to understand how profoundly important this moment is. ~ Penelope Jagessar Chaffer, New York  
Gretchen Alfonso While walking through the hall of Congress I felt a great responsibility to be a voice for those who couldn’t be there: my grandmother dying of breast cancer, my daughter’s future daughters, my friend who has had trouble conceiving. This issue is greater than me, greater than my family and the work we were doing is bigger than ourselves, our organization. It was a honor to be the voice of those who are fighting, every day, the silent killer that is our broken system. ~ Gretchen Alfonso, MCAF National Field Manager, Pennsylvania  
Trisha Sheehan As a first time lobbyist, this was an incredible experience that I will continue to reflect on. I will use this experience and my excitement to influence others to reach out to their Representatives and Congress to demand change not just for safer chemicals, but in all aspects that will protect the future of our earth and children. I loved being surrounded by parents and health professionals from dozens of states, of all ages, many races, and with so many unique stories about why we were there, united together for a common cause: Protect our children from toxic chemical exposures. Pass strong laws that put our children’s health first.~ Trisha Sheehan, New Jersey
Anneka Wisker It was inspiring to see so many women on the ground — many with children in tow — uniting for such an important cause, and making a true impact through spreading their message and stories to policy-makers on Capitol Hill. ~ Anneka Wisker, MCAF Senior Program Assistant, Washington DC and Rhode Island
Jen McIntyre I was struck in Washington by the fact that there is really nothing wrong with our democracy – its just that the people are absent from the process. Our lawmakers should be required to have sit down meetings with regular moms and dads every day to give them proper perspective. ~Jen McIntyre, MCAF Field Manager, Pennsylvania
Molly Rauch  I loved hearing from actress, Jennifer Beals: “I am tired of having chemical companies’ untested concoctions run through my veins uninvited. Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, Exxon Mobil, you are NOT invited to take up residence in my DNA. Let this serve as an eviction notice-we are all tired of you barging into our sacred homes–our bodies and the bodies of our children.” ~ Molly Rauch, MCAF Public Health Policy and Outreach Manager, Washington, DC



TOPICS: Toxics