Example #1: Testifying in support of public radio funds
Good evening. My name is Rusty Cameron and I live within the broadcasting range of KLXR. I farm wheat and milo west of Perry. I work fifteen hours a day to help support my wife, two daughters, and a baby who's expected to arrive during the fall harvest. It's important that I keep up with the farm and financial news every day. But I'm legally blind. I can see well enough to drive my tractor in an open field of 100 rows of wheat, but I can't read the masthead on my town paper. I can pick out the shapes of my little girls playing in the front yard as I sit in the porch swing, but I can't read the instructions on my tax forms. And that's why I depend on KLXR. KLXR radio gives me the information I need when I need it; I don't have to take time out of my day to get to town and pay 75 cents for a newspaper. I can listen to the farming news on KLXR while I drive the combine or slop feed to the hogs. At night before going to bed at 11:00 p.m., I can turn on KLXR and hear world news and then listen to a couple chapters from a history book that I can't read by myself.
So you see, cutting the amount of matching funds that you can give to this wonderful, needed radio service would jeopardize the amount of information that I get each day, and therefore jeopardize how well I can do my job. My neighbor down the way has an elderly mother, who, like me, can no longer read regular sized print. Yet she still can enjoy the books and newspapers she used to when she was a librarian by listening to KLXR. And one of my daughter's schoolmates has a reading disability; but volunteers at KLXR record books for her so she can learn in her own way while she tries to overcome her dyslexia.
I depend on KLXR like some people depend on the telephone or the television. I hope you'll reconsider cutting these funds and taking such a valuable service away. Thank you.
Example #2: Testifying against a bridge closing
Hello. My name is Barbara Anderson and I run a home daycare in Eudora. I have seven families who send their children to me five days a week, ten hours a day. Many of these families live north of the Kill Creek Bridge and drive seven to ten miles southwest to my home halfway between Eudora and Lawrence. If you close the Kill Creek Bridge, the families that I serve will have to drive 35 miles out of their normal routes, around Ottawa down Highway 40, to reach their babysitter. Closing Kill Creek Bridge will add up to another hour on to their commute, taking up time that could be better spent at work, going grocery shopping, or spent with their families.
Not only will closing the bridge put a lot of extra stress and hassle on these families, but it will kill my business. I provide childcare for their kids and they provide me with my own business and way of life. Closing the Kill Creek Bridge will destroy my livelihood and add the extra burden of these families either having to drive an extra hour to get to my home or having to find new childcare. And the closest registered daycare is forty miles away, in Liberty. Please don't close Kill Creek Bridge. Thank you.
Example #3: Testifying from personal experience
Scene: A public hearing concerning a change in educational policy that would reduce the requirment for public schools to provide equal education to all students. A woman took the floor. There was a moment of silence as she looked at the panel of officials who were charged with the decision.
She said, "My name is Barbara Krieder. It may not look like it to you, but I'm disabled. I have a learning disability. I can't read. When I was a child, my disability was not diagnosed, and I didn't get the special kind of help from my teacher that could have helped me learn how to read. Now I can't go to a restaurant alone, because I'm too embarrassed to tell the waitress I can't read the menu. I can't drive, because I can't read the sign on the road. I can't even read stories to my own children. I'm not stupid. I just never learned how to read."
She paused for a moment. "Now, whatever you do won't change things for me. It's too late for me. But it's not too late for those young kinds. If you change the law, the way I hear it, the kids whose lives were looking brighter than mine will end up suffering the same as I did. Teachers won't know how they have a disability. They'll push the kids too hard, or in the wrong way, or most likely they'll give up on them like they gave up on me. Those kids will just turn into shadows. So, what do you tell a kid like me? Where's the justice in it? What kind of progress have we made when kids like me still can't learn to read?"
She stopped and looked at each member on the panel. Then she returned to her seat.
Example #4: From Homelessness to Housing in San Francisco: Portraits and Oral History
As we build collaboration across sectors, storytelling and art that lifts up success stories become more and more important. A moving new multi-media art project called “Everyone Deserves a Home” on display in San Francisco’s Public Library asks 40 formally homeless residents in supportive housing, “what does home mean to you?”
Example #5: Everyday Sexism Project
As she was growing up, Laura Bates, a British feminist, was developing an increasing awareness of the gender inequality around her. In April of 2012 she started the Everyday Sexism Project website, which documents instances of sexism, women around the world face daily.
Read more about Laura Bates on Makers.com.
Contributed by Lia Thompson, University of Kansas, Community Tool Box Intern.