Receiving an Arts Advocacy Award from the US Conference of Mayors this winter was one of the most pivotal moments in my career. After my acceptance speech, I was asked to be part of the Americans for the Arts Advocacy Day in Washington DC. I never thought saying yes to these two days would forever impact my life. Two days of meeting and speaking with other advocates like myself who have devoted their lives to empowering the arts community. Little ole me talking with Senators, teachers and students. They all wanted to hear what I had to say. Honestly, I didn’t know what to say. I simply used my experiences as a little girl, loving music. With that, I reminded them of the people they were there to lobby for. I reminded them of the importance of arts in our schools, and the impact the arts have on our students. We were all once a “little person” wanting someone to see our talent and help us shine. I reminded everyone of their little person.
The most empowering moment for me was speaking and singing on the hill where no singing was allowed. The tears in the eyes of most of the people in the room and the applause afterwards wasn’t like being on stage. I was able to use my voice as a speaker as well. In that moment, I knew I belonged right where I stood. For the rest of the day I gained a confidence I never knew I had and pounded the Washington steps like all the other advocates. This day has started me on a journey to start my own foundation and continue my passion for advocacy. Thank you to Bob and everyone at Americans for the Arts for inspiring little ole me.
You can find the full video of my speech below.