It was six years ago at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, D.C. that Kelly Davis first tried advocating. She had done the training. She had studied the issues.
“But I was pretty nervous,” she says.
Then when she walked into the Congressional offices and started talking, it hit her. “There was something magical about being on Capitol Hill, talking to legislators,” Davis says. “That moment you realize that they work for you, not the other way around, it becomes so much less intimidating. That happened to me that day.”
Now when she goes to the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, Davis is the one doing the coaching, leading her colleagues into their advocacy sessions.
“The people in Congress are just normal people like you and me who have been elected and have a big job to do,” she says. “That takes a lot of the fear out of it. They have to represent you. That’s why you elected them to go to Washington, not to represent themselves, but to represent you.”
Davis, 34, grew up in suburban Cleveland and still lives and works there.
“Since God has given me this voice, I feel I really need to use it to speak up for our brothers and sisters who have systematically had their voices taken away.”
Davis doesn’t raise that voice just once a year in Washington, but regularly with her local members of Congress, in addition to promoting action alerts and organizing letter-writing campaigns.
“I meet with the office of Rep. David Joyce at least three other times every year,” Davis says of the congressman from Ohio’s 14th district.
Davis has advocated on a variety of issues around international aid, but one that is close to her heart is immigration. After graduating from Heidelberg University, she spent a year in Chicago with AmeriCorps VISTA working on refugee resettlement.
Davis admits the advocating can be frustrating, a long and hard process to change minds, to change the system, to get those in power to hear the voices of the voiceless.
“That’s the job God gave me and he made me stubborn enough to do it. I’m going to keep it up. He chose the right person.”
Interested in joining other passionate advocates from across the country, and world? In the next phase of the Share the Journey global migration campaign, we invite you to take part in a pilgrimage to support and walk with refugees and migrants in their journey.