I can’t remember what grade I got in Social Studies way back In elementary school; but I’ll tell you-nothing could have prepared me for being in the heart of our nation’s Capitol actively participating in American democracy. It was exhilarating.
Washington DC is an incredible place. A landmark, if you will, chalk full of history and rich culture. It would take months to really experience all its museums, sights, eateries and more. My eyes couldn’t keep up as my Uber driver made the drive to the Fairmont Georgetown Hotel Saturday afternoon. It was time to meet the 99 other women who had earned their way to DC, and Beautycounter’s corporate team made up of some of the sharpest, most passionate young movers and shakers I’ve seen. (I say young because I don’t think anyone on the entire staff was over 50 years old, most under 40.) There is a freshness and innovative energy about this company that seems to light the fire in all of us who chose to join in the mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone.
Meeting consultants from all 50 states was like a pageant, as we all introduced ourselves with where we’re from. Each and every woman I met was fantastic; and our welcome reception was light, celebratory, and a chance for all of us to bond and mingle. Our founder & CEO welcomed us as we nibbled on shrimp, oysters, paella, and veggies. The evening was quick and fun. The big work was to be done over the next 2 days.
After breakfast we sat in for training. We heard from our CEO as well as other leaders from our Santa Monica based headquarters. We were educated, motivated, and armed with all we would need for meetings on Capitol Hill the following day. It’s safe to say, all of us from the home states were feeling a bit overwhelmed and nervous. It’s fun to consider going to DC as part of a movement; but actually sitting in front of members of our government and expecting them to listen to us had most of us shaking in our boots.
I’ll be honest, I felt so inadequate and so unprepared. I wished I had paid more attention in school and read through the whole book Beautycounter sent us on how to influence law makers. Could I maybe call in sick on Monday?
No time to worry, we were off for a group photo at the Lincoln memorial followed by a bus/walking tour of the National Mall & surrounding sights. I enjoyed the history refreshers, reading so many profound quotes at Martin Luther King’s Memorial, and witnessing how our fallen heroes have been honored for their sacrifice. It was a humbling afternoon.
Can I just stop now and say that Beautycounter knows how to put on a party. Wow! Pinterest ain’t got nothin on this company!! We had an Oscar worthy evening at the National Portrait Gallery, complete with red carpet, voting ballots, and signature cocktails. Women and men were dressed to impress and the venue was absolutely breathtaking. After a night in “old DC” style, our second big night out was in “modern” chic at the Newseum, celebrating our work and accomplishments of the day (and everything leading up to it). Fine dining, DJs, and the best of party-fare to make our evenings unforgettable. I think I may have a crush on my company.
But let’s get to the nitty-gritty. What did 102 consultants from 50 states actually do in DC that affects you? Well, we marched onto Capitol Hill (with fiercely red lips and sassier than average style) to sit in 100 meetings. Women from across the country, from varying backgrounds, races, socio-economic status, and political views took to the House & Senate to ask for more health protective laws. We shared facts, testimonies, and lent our voices on behalf of the states we hail from to say that this MATTERS, that this is important to all of us, and we are asking our government to do something about it.
I was able to speak face to face with staffers from Hawaii’s Senator Mazie Hirono & Rep Tulsi Gabbard’s offices during the meetings I joined. I was able to tell then that as a Hawaiian, and as a mother and daughter - I am not only shocked that products I trusted contained harmful ingredients, but that we all think the public should be more aware and more protected. The S1113 bill would allow the FDA to better regulate what is allowed in products, require full disclosure in labeling, and set recalls in place - all things that are not currently required with present legislation.
It was great to be heard, to be well received, and to work together with government representatives and constituents alike. There’s still a lot more to be done but the progress made March 5th is something I’ll forever be proud of. I’m so incredibly inspired, and more dedicated than ever to share the message and mission about safer because we will fight for this until all people have access to safer products. We Deserve Better.
Malia was born and raised in Kaneohe, Hawaii and graduated from Azusa Pacific University. She spent the majority of her career as an Early Childhood Education Teacher/Administrator.