July 18, 2007 was a busy day for the central rout van. We began the day at 6am rushing to make sure that all were showered and dressed, fed and happy, and prepared and pretty for the 10:00am meeting with Senator David Valesky’s Chief of Staff, Cort Reddy. Our first order of business was to make copies of the documents that we intended to forward to the Senator, a seemingly simple task. As a result of the astronomical per sheet cost of printing, unexpected technical difficulties, and the impatient copy center counter attended our success with first task of the day prepared us to overcome any adversities that might follow.
After our copy center catastrophe we traveled to a local coffee shop to meet our Syracuse Marriage Ambassador, Rick and gather our thoughts for the meeting. In contrast to the our interactions with the copy center attendant, the baristas at the coffee shop went out of their way to ensure that while in their care, we especially enjoyed caffeinated beverages. These beneficent baristas made a point to pay attention to our ingredient specification and after serving us with our beverages, they made sure that we were happy with the end results of their mixing efforts. These baristas went out of their way to do their jobs well and in so doing they provided us, the customers with exceptional service.
We decided that we should model our interactions today after our new barista friends; we vowed to communicate a personal investment in both the people we met with and the marriage equality issues that we would discuss. Rick told us a little bit about his local community and the work that he does in his community which includes diversity training, and social justice work. Rick’s dedication to his community and his investment in working toward marriage equality was indicative of his admirable ability to envision a world where people interact with one another in a compassionate manner.
Rick provided us with yet another model for the day. We would commit our selves to our cause, and hope that our presentation of the facts and the experiences of ourselves and the people for whom we are advocating would provide law makers with a new understanding of the need for marriage equality. Our meeting went well thanks to our Barista-Rick model of advocacy. Following the meetings we grabbed lunch and debriefed and then the second group of central van routers went in for their meeting with Assemblyman Magnarelli. This meeting was particularly unique as it was one of thanksgiving to a lawmaker who voted “yes” on Governor Spitzer’s Marriage Bill. The attendees of this meeting were given insight into the process through which the lawmaker incorporated statistics, trends, the constituency opinion, and personal beliefs into his decision. Today’s experiences showed us the value of keeping service in mind when speaking to lawmakers about extending rights and protections to the citizens this country.