2021 Advocacy Forecast

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Advocacy Blog
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Educating the Biden-Harris Administration on Colorectal Cancer Policy Priorities

Molly

Written by Molly McDonnell, Fight Colorectal Cancer’s Director of Advocacy

During my time living in Washington, D.C., I had the privilege of attending two inauguration ceremonies. There is nothing quite like the pomp and circumstance that accompanies this American tradition. I’ll never forget the feeling of staring up at the Capitol as former presidents looked on and the national anthem began to play. 

This year will look different for many reasons. It goes without saying that this is an incredibly challenging time in our country. We are deeply saddened by the recent horrific attack on our nation’s capital. Fight CRC believes in the power of advocacy and we deeply respect the democratic process. 

As we look forward, we will continue to push for improvements for our government’s laws, policies, and systems with respect and civility. We are steadfast and devoted to safeguarding the health of our country and empowering the colorectal cancer community. As a nation, we have faced many challenges this year but as we begin this new chapter, I am reminded that the colorectal cancer community is no stranger to overcoming challenges. 

The inauguration of a new president and the beginning of a new Congress present a great opportunity. An opportunity to build new champions and advance policies in support of the colorectal cancer community.

Introducing the New Administration to our Policy Priorities

To start, Fight CRC reached out to President Biden and Vice President Harris to welcome them to their new roles, and knowing they have both lost loved ones to cancer, we wanted to give them an overview of where we hope to work together. This includes but is not limited to:     

  • Increasing Access to Colorectal Cancer Screening
  • Support for Research into Early-Age Onset Colorectal Cancer
  • Addressing Health Disparities in Colorectal Cancer 
  • Sustained Federal Funding for Colorectal Cancer Research 
  • Declaring March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

A New, Record-Breaking Congress

In addition to a new president, vice president and cabinet officials, there are over 60 new Members of Congress who took office at the beginning of the month. The 117th Congress is one of the most diverse in history and they are ready to hear from you. 

  • 118 female Members will serve in the 117th Congress – the highest number to date 
  • 58 Black Members will serve in the House of Representatives – the highest number to date
  • 44 Latino Members of Congress
  • The first openly gay Black man to serve in Congress
  • The first openly gay Afro-Latino Member of Congress
  • The first Iranian-American Member of Congress
  • Three new Members represent the first Korean-American women to serve in Congress
  • The first Native American Republican woman elected to Congress
  • The youngest person to serve in Congress since the 1700s (age 25)

These men and women and the men and women who work for them may not know about colorectal cancer — what it is like to receive a diagnosis, the importance of early screening, and the need for more treatment options. They need to hear from us. They are potential champions and it is up to us to show them what it means to be a relentless champion of hope. 

Next Steps: What Can You Do?

You can start today! Reach out to your Member of Congress, whether they are newly elected or have been there for years, and introduce yourself. Tell them what it is like to be a member of the colorectal cancer community. Urge them to pay attention. Let them know that lives are at stake. 

After that, if you haven’t already, sign up for updates about Call-on Congress 2021. This year is going to be bigger than ever. Whether you are able to travel to Washington, D.C. or not, starting in March we will give you all the tools and resources you need to learn how to share your story, how to engage your Member of Congress, and how to advocate for meaningful policy change. 

Now is also a great time to check out Fight CRC’s advocacy portal to find fact sheets on our state and federal policy priorities, information on colorectal cancer screening in your state, and read about how other relentless champions of hope have turned their pain into purpose through advocacy.

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