Practitioners' Persistent Efforts Bring U.S. House Resolution 281 Closer to Congressional Vote
(Minghui.org) U.S. House Resolution 281 was initiated this summer by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida and Congressman Robert Andrews from New Jersey to condemn the systematic, state-sanctioned, forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China, a large majority of whom are Falun Gong practitioners. The Chinese communist regime has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocents for their organs, reaping huge profits while completely disregarding the preciousness of human life.
As of August 2, 2013, right before the summer recess of the U.S. Congress, House Resolution 281 had 88 co-sponsors, 16 of whom are from the Foreign Affairs Committee. It now qualifies for finalization by the Committee for general voting by the members of Congress.
The U.S. House of Representatives will be in session again on September 9. This date marks the next phase of House Resolution 281.
Between June 27 when the resolution was first introduced in Congress and August 2, quite a few Falun Gong practitioners across the United States collaborated with practitioners in Washington, D.C., to discuss the issue with elected officials and the public.
A few practitioners who have been actively involved in this effort have shared their experience below.
Sincerity and Respect
Beth is a Falun Gong practitioner who lives in a state far from Washington, D.C. Through her collaboration with practitioners in Washington, who visited congressional offices on her behalf, nearly every Congress member from Beth's state agreed to co-sponsor House Resolution 281.
Beth expressed sincere gratitude for the practitioners who covered the appointments she made in Washington. Instead of taking for granted their assistance, she sent an email to the group, sincerely thanking them for their effort.
“As Americans, our parents and society stress the importance of politeness, humbleness and consideration for others—and that honesty and truthfulness are treasures,” she said.
“I have so much respect for [the congressional staff] from meeting with them and getting to know them,” she continued. “If you remember little details about their lives, they'll know that you care about them. I always buy absolutely beautiful and elegant Christmas cards for them. I want them to know that I would never lie or stretch the truth to them. I want them to see that I respect them and am so thankful to have made their acquaintance. I feel a real friendship with each of them.”
Reaching People's Hearts
Another practitioner, Sherry, realized the importance of clarifying the facts to elected officials about the persecution of Falun Gong in China several years ago. She then began reaching out to these officials to help them understand and support Falun Gong.
Sherry said that one way she shows respect when working with government officials and their staff is by being prepared for the meetings. She studies relevant materials, then summarizes the information in bullet points, memorizes the points, and builds a logical progression of facts, so that she can logically explain the key points to people who have never read the materials or heard of the issues related to the persecution of Falun Gong.
Once Sherry, requested a letter of support from the aide of her local representative in the state legislature. The aide was not eager to fulfill the request and told her: “I don’t know why you want this. Why do you guys give us so much information?” Sherry thanked her for the feedback and promised to discuss it with other practitioners.
Recently, Sherry called the aide again to request a meeting regarding the issue of forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China. She held no resentment about the aide's past lack of support, and this time the aide was friendly and gladly scheduled a meeting.
When the two met, the aide did not appear to be very patient. She said: “I don’t know why you are here. We are on the state level. This is a federal thing.” Finally, she said: “What do you want?”
Sherry responded: “I simply want for you to understand this. We want to raise awareness about how every one of us matters.” The staffer’s eyes filled with tears.
“I saw her as a friend,” said Sherry. “I refused to see her as someone being difficult. I saw her heart. I also came prepared with what I wanted to say and had materials to leave with her. I wasn’t looking for something for me. It was for her.”
After Sherry talked more about the persecution, the aide gave her names of others to talk to in the state government. The aide was very helpful and promised to work with the elected official to help him understand the issue as well.
Some practitioners have debated whether a Chinese person or a Western person should take the lead when meeting with elected officials for maximum impact. According to Sherry, both Westerners and Chinese people can make a difference.
“I would encourage Westerner practitioners to step up. I think it’s very powerful to have a Chinese person and a Western person together. Both are needed. Both bring very important perspectives,” she said.
“If a Western practitioner takes the back seat or if a Chinese person treats a Westerner as though he or she should not take the lead, none of that makes sense,” she added.
Sofia, another practitioner, lives in the same state but a different city from Sherry. When Sofia met with her state representative, Sherry sent righteous thoughts from home to help ensure that the meeting went well.
The meeting got off to a rough start. However, the state representative unexpectedly asked which city Sofia was originally from in Russia. It turned out that he had just adopted a boy from Sofia's hometown! After the two found common ground, the meeting went very well. In the end, the state representative wrote a letter to Sofia’s congresswoman to urge her to co-sponsor House Resolution 281.
Practitioners in another state also experienced things turning around at a meeting as a result of righteous thoughts. While they were in the elected official's office, several other practitioners waited in the hallway and sent righteous thoughts.
Many practitioners across neighboring states worked diligently to clarify the importance of the resolution to government officials and the public. The regional coordinator hosted daily meetings with the team, which included Chinese and American practitioners, to share progress, review action items, and send righteous thoughts together. He also called everyone in the region to keep them informed.
While the younger English-speaking practitioners approached congressional offices and media, the elderly practitioners actively participated in collecting petition signatures to gather public support.
The team also worked together to publish an op-ed article about forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners and House Resolution 281 in an influential regional newspaper.
Practitioners working together on this project have had a strong sense that this resolution is a precious and urgent opportunity to reach the general public and government officials at all levels, allowing people to understand the facts and position themselves on the right side of history.
Category: Organ Harvesting