When most people hear the term MIA, or missing in action, they think of it in relation to the military. In a recent speech to the Turning Point Council, I referenced how this acronym can also describe three attitudes that hurt our children.

The “M” stands for maliciousness, or manipulating the facts of a discussion to benefit one’s own personal self-interest. Having worked at the Capitol for more than two decades, there is no question that there are factors at play that sway some to prioritize profit over the policies which could help the youngest of Oklahomans. This can be seen with some businesses that promote the sale of a product over health concerns. Some put profits over good education or health policy. Others misrepresent data to support a personal agenda over the common good.

The “I” stands for ignorance. This is more prevalent today, thanks to social media posts that are shared, either by well-intentioned readers or closed-minded folks who refuse to see the entire story. The best way to stop this practice is to get the facts. Make sure what you are reading comes from a credible source before sharing.

The “A” stands for apathy. In my opinion, the greatest danger in the fight for children is also one of the most prevalent dangers: apathy, or a lack of passion. Seeing apathy from those who have influence or the ability to make a difference is extremely demoralizing for those of us who want to see a better future for the children of our state, our nation and the world. When people decide it is “not their fight” or they simply do not have time to make their voice heard, malice and ignorance are able to grow stronger.

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was formed in 1983 to battle against the malicious, ignorant and apathetic treatment of children in state custody. The OICA works every single day to overcome the MIA attitude we face from far too many people. To stop being MIA in the fight for child advocacy, simply do not believe what you are told about policy without investigating it first, do not spread misinformation without verifying the source is speaking the truth, and do not just sit back and assume that others will do the work that is required.

If you want to be a part of the solution, I strongly encourage you to register and attend our 2019 OICA Fall Forum on Oct. 1-3 in Oklahoma City. We will have lawmakers present to discuss a myriad of policies to better the lives of our youth. Attendees will have the opportunity to help OICA shape a solid list of goals for improvements which can be implemented by the state, and they will be surrounded by like-minded champions wanting better for our state. Please do not be missing in action for this. Together, we can make a difference.

Go to oica.org to learn more about the 2019 Fall Forum and how you can be a part of the solution.

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