I have had the pleasure of attending the Consumers Union Activist Summit in DC and it has far exceeded my expectations. From my initial surveying of the crowd the attendees skew an older demographic and yes it is somewhat homogeneous. I’m not going to voice a complaint about that at this time because from speaking with the lovely staff I’d say any “lack” of a more balanced participation comes from you..and you and you.
The Consumers Union publishes the Consumer Reports magazine – which many will be more familiar with. They are an independent non-profit. Now, I will say they should take steps to actively partner with other organizations and groups so that others will know who they are and what they do, but I found the parent organization through social media. So I know others can as well.
The most exciting aspect of the Consumers Union has been discovering their behind-the-scenes legislative initiatives. Yesterday we met with Speaker Of The House Nancy Pelosi and others on the Hill before attending our afternoon panel sessions. The Pew Charitable Trust graciously has set up use of their beautiful office and conference rooms for the two-day summit.
The best news to come out of the conference is the pending creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency as an entirely new government agency which will redress all the ways we as consumers have been taken advantage of or harmed by bad policies and loopholes from credit cards, to mortgages, to car loans to bank overdraft fees. There will also be a huge initiative at educating people so they make better choices from the onset.
This is by no means a comprehensive detail of everything I’ve participated in, but is instead a general overview of the purpose and scope of what many individuals are working towards. I’ve already made what I know will be valuable connections with organizations from others who are thinking about pushing their communitiess forward. Especially related to broadband access and use. At the end of the day this is about regular people working in the trenches to move forward.
What about you? Think of this as your call to action to pitch in and get involved. There’s current legislation on the table that would benefit from your voice: Food Safety and Financial Reform. Check out the site, click on the link and contact your representative TODAY.
**I still have my reports from Gov 2.0 and Tedx coming. Next week is DC Capital Week and Blogging While Brown. Stay tuned….