Advocacy Spotlight: Martha Gonzalez
By Martha Gonzalez
Last week the Children’s Campaign announced its nomination in the PIE Eddie Awards for our work with several partners on the mill levy equalization bill. Martha testified in support of the bill and also completed our Denver Parent Academy earlier this year.
The opportunity to testify in support of the mill levy charter equalization bill (House Bill 17-1375) was one of the most wonderful and impactful experiences for me and for my son. I knew it was especially important for his future and the future of all children.
During the time that ultimately led to my testimony, it seemed as though there were so many barriers for my son, my most valuable treasure. I struggled to find a school that met his needs and that truly understood what he needed to be successful. As a result I began volunteering with organizations that empowered parents to find solutions to address academic challenges.
My son was enrolled at KIPP at that time; they invited me to take an advocacy course at the Colorado Children’s Campaign. I learned many things, but perhaps the most valuable thing I gained was a simple understanding that legislators, responsible for passing laws, are just like me and you. They too are parents who care about our children’s collective future and sometimes need to be reminded of what is happening in their backyard.
When I was in front of the committee I thought about my son and spoke from the very bottom of my heart, knowing that I embodied and represented the voice of someone who couldn’t speak for himself or for what he needed. Although I was a mother without much political experience and with a language barrier, I made the decision to testify. I did this not only once but three times before the bill passed. My son’s story became a part of history the day that the governor signed that bill.
I hope that my story and my determination to achieve change for all children inspires decision makers to support legislation that improves the lives of all of our children. They are the future and our society so badly needs to provide them more opportunities to be successful. Let us keep working together to give them the future they all deserve.