Dr. Vikki Burns is a campaigner with the Birmingham RESULTS Group and is a member of the RESULTS UK Board of Trustees. She is attending the RESULTS International Conference (22-25 July) in Washington DC for the first time.
Describing the work of a RESULTS grassroots volunteer can be challenging. When I explain that we use informed advocacy to call for an end to extreme poverty worldwide, I usually finish with an ironic “because I like achievable goals”! However, being here at the RESULTS international conference 2017 has reminded me of how many impossible-seeming changes have been achieved in the past.
Each morning I walk past the Belmon-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument opposite the Capitol building, which stands as a reminder of those who secured US women’s suffrage – a task which surely felt impossible to many of those involved at the time. Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, speaking to us this morning, reminded us that in the 1950s, South Korea was considered a hopeless nation, and Marianne Williamson, author and lecturer, spoke of how the abolition of slavery was once seen as an unattainable goal. Yet movements of motivated, organized people have changed societal norms and created great nations throughout history.
In the opening session of the conference, Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS, urged us to stand firm with our messages about ending poverty.
At times like these, it’s easy to water down our advocacy, because a world of equity and social inclusion seems so far away. However, turbulent times are when people are willing to act, and so it’s even more important to make bold claims. I resolve to stop making self-deprecating jokes when I tell people what I’m working towards – let’s stand by our belief that we can, and must, end poverty and tell anyone who’ll listen.