For info about WE'RE STILL HERE! October 14-17, 2007, www.post-polio.org

Other Ideas for
WE'RE STILL HERE Campaign
from Nancy Baldwin Carter

(Columnist for PHI Association Members Communiqué, n.carter@cox.net)
 

Q: Our group is excited about PHI's WE'RE STILL HERE initiative. We have our letter ready to send to the newspaper, but would like to do more. Do you have other ideas for ways we can get this important campaign before the public eye?

A: Hurrah! Hats off to your group for moving quickly to organize your involvement in the WE'RE STILL HERE campaign. It's exciting to see groups chomping at the bit to MAKE THIS WORK! Coming this far, this soon, creates the valuable time you'll need to be most effective.

What's great about WE'RE STILL HERE is that this is a campaign that means something. In the past here in Nebraska, anyway, we have been satisfied with getting a proclamation from our governor or Unicameral Legislature setting aside a special time to honor polio survivors. Nobody ever noticed. WE'RE STILL HERE is different. NOW we get the chance to point out that we're not simply has-beens sitting idly by, needing to be honored – we're here, living an integrated life, actively participating.

You have your initial letter - now the next step is to get the word out to as many people, and through as many avenues, as possible, which is what it appears your group is prepared to do.

WE'RE STILL HERE can be our rallying cry - the voice of polio survivors everywhere rising up as one to remind the world that not only do we still exist, we're a vital force in our communities: Leaders, workers, volunteers, significant family members. And then as a footnote we add that not only are we still here, so are some of the problems that accompany disability. And so also, in much of the world, is the scourge of polio itself.

Just imagine - suddenly on October 14 the words "WE'RE STILL HERE!" explode into the consciousness of citizens of the world from a million different angles all at once. POW! KAZAAM! HOME RUN!

How can we make this happen? What can EACH OF US do?

First, every group and individual writing a letter to the editor can send it on to many papers - the idea is to get letters into every newspaper in the state - indeed, in the world. Once the letter is written, it's fairly easy to send duplicates. The National Newspaper Association website (www.nna.org) lists state press associations under "Partners," and some of these give names and addresses of member newspapers. Also, most libraries have Gale's Directory of Print and Broadcast Media, which lists names, addresses, phone numbers, and even e-mail addresses for newspapers in every state.

Most papers also publish op-ed articles, which offer the opportunity to illuminate the message behind WE'RE STILL HERE. Why not follow your paper's op-ed guidelines and give it a shot?

Call the media, talk with whoever it is who does feature pieces for local radio and TV stations and try to arrange for an interview in that week of October 14-20. Got a good talker in your group? Send her on! (OK - or him.) Or how about a panel discussion? Get the media interested, and they'll give you time.

And then there are Internet interviews and blogs - there may be no end to the possibilities.

We can be as innovative as our talents take us. This is the time to put imagination to work. Be creative! For starters, do any of these ideas interest your group? Maybe there's something here you can build on:

PHI is interested in what you and your group come up with. Send your best ideas to info@post-polio.org. Check the WE'RE STILL HERE logo on the site often yourself, as well. Much will be added as plans proceed.

Everyone can play a role in the success of this initiative. Are you networking? Why not talk up WE'RE STILL HERE! Help other groups and survivors understand the importance of getting people's attention, arousing curiosity about this campaign. We can give each other a hand and turn this initiative into dynamite!

Together we can wake up the world and make sure
they know WE'RE STILL HERE!