Military Spouse Magazine

JAN 2019

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Page 13 of 35

W H A T W E L O V E WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING WRONG IN THE MILITARY COMMUNITY, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT? Can one per- son's voice truly bring about change? Recently, several military spouses have demonstrated the value of raising our voices and being advocates for our community. If you discover a problem that seems to be widespread across the military community, here's what you can do: COLLECT EVIDENCE AND DATA It's difficult to bring about change without recorded evidence. Whenever you file complaints with your base or Public Private Venture (PPV) company, document the problems. Take photos of issues. Re- cord dates of phone calls and who you spoke with. Save tickets from maintenance requests. Put complaints into writing and save the emails. You can also gather evidence from other military families. How common is the problem on your base? Across the country? Research and gather data to report numbers. Collect stories, photos, and evidence from other military families to gauge the severity of the problem. Be Heard How to speak up about issues that are important to you. By Lizann Lightfoot, Marine Corps Spouse ELEVATE YOUR COMPL AINT If the base housing or transpor- tation office isn't addressing your issue, then escalate it. For housing, the Housing Manage- ment Office provides oversight. Talk to your spouse about approaching his chain of com- mand. Service members may hesitate to share "personal" problems with their leadership, but ultimately military lead- ers are concerned with service members' well-being. If a health, safety, or financial concern is impacting the service member's family, then the command will want to address it. Use Inter- active Customer Evaluation (ICE) complaints to escalate your concern to base leader- ship. You can also get support from the base Judge Advocate General (JAG) office, from off- base physicians, or from outside organizations like the Health Department or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). GATHER SUPPORT If your research and inquiries haven't resolved the issue, build your movement using grassroots efforts. Collaborate with other families from your base or branch to voice the prob- lem. Create Facebook groups where others with a similar complaint can be heard. Create a petition and go public with your concern. The wording of a petition is important: clearly state the problem, then propose some suggest- ed solutions. You will want to share your petition in a variety of Facebook groups and online locations, then consistently remind people about it. GET ADVOCATES Start with your own state sena- tors and representatives, but don't be afraid to explore additional options. Look for congressmen heading relevant committees. You can contact their chief of staff to ask for a congressional hear- ing about this concern. Keep your message clear and find a way to make your petition relevant to that congressman and his constituents. Illustration by Karen Jones 14 MILITARYSPOUSE.COM / JANUARY 2019

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