by Dave Therkelsen, ARCRA President
A good friend from my working years in American Red Cross got in touch with me just a couple of days ago. Herself long retired, my friend doesn’t know what to say or do when she hears criticism of ARC. Since, as ARCRA president, I sometimes have access to more information, my friend hoped I would have some advice for her.
I hope so too, but my former colleague’s inquiry caused me to reflect on the nature of advocacy as part of the Retiree Association mission. Since the ARCRA officers and board of directors are the direct link between retired Red Crossers and the current top leadership of ARC. It occurs to me that advocacy – and sorry about the cliché – is a two-way street.
It is our role to advocate for our members on matters such as health care and pension benefits, and we do so diligently. It’s also our role to advocate, when appropriate, to our members, on behalf of American Red Cross.
We are independent of ARC, and it’s not our job to mindlessly advance the “party line,” uncritically. But today’s Red Cross, different though it may be from the Red Cross most of us worked in, still does a whole lot of good for our communities and our society. Letting our members know about the good works of ARC, so they can be better informed in their own interactions with friends, family and community, is an important part of our work. Interpreting ARC’s actions when the organization is under critical scrutiny is also part of advocacy.
At its most recent board meeting ARCRA decided to step up its advocacy work by creating an Advocacy and Education Committee, that will give focused attention to our communication, in multiple directions, about any and all matters that affect the retirement well-being of our members.
For this and other committees, we’re trying to look beyond our board members and to our membership as a whole for people interested in the work and willing to serve. So let me know, or let the office know, if you’d like to join in our advocacy work.