Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Color of Advocacy

There is a  line in the movie Steel Magnolias where Shelby says "my colors are blush and bashful."  Whereas her mother says "her colors are pink and pink!"

Your colors are neither, you are not an expert
I understand Shelby's exasperation.  I feel it toward myself as I am often torn between the colorful topics of cancer and nuclear power. Two distinct topics that I have written children's picture books about.

With my writer's imagination I hear Shelby saying in her Southern accent,  "your colors are breast cancer awareness pink and nuclear advocacy green ."  To which her mother admonishes , "your colors are neither, you are a children's book writer not an expert."

Which is why I am always, amazed, mystified, and extremely honored when, bona fide advocates and experts  of breast cancer awareness and nuclear energy are appreciative of what I do and include me in their initiatives.  

Last September when my "baby" left for college. I left my empty nest in North Carolina to hide out in an apartment in Alabama where my husband works.  Life as I had known it was over, and I was feeling sorry for myself, when I received a call from Christine Andrade, a woman I had never met.  

Christine is the Corporate Sponsorship Manager for the NC Triangle Susan G. Komen Foundation. She called to tell me that she had nominated me for 2012 Maureen Thomas Jordan Spirit of Survivorship Award.  

I was moved, flattered, and  astonished to discover someone had nominated me, and that someone was affiliated with the Susan G. Komen Foundation!  A foundation synonymous with breast cancer pink, but for me pink is synonymous with learning to embrace change. 

In  January I was contacted by John Shanahan, author of the Shanahan Energy Letter and  the founder of Go Nuclear! Inc., regarding my nuclear education programs and children's book about nuclear power.  He appreciated  that I had done both a children's book about cancer and one about nuclear power plants.  As he explained, anti-nuclear advocacy had  not just tarnished the clean green hue of nuclear power plants, but  also nuclear medicine and treatments that benefit cancer patients.

Go Nuclear! is a non-profit global initiative whose mission is to inform and educate our youth and young professionals about nuclear energy and nuclear medicine in the hopes they will pay it forward. John wanted two more advisers to represent the United States and asked if I was interested. 

He was asking me to consider having my name listed amongst the real world equivalent of the PhD-ed  IQ's featured on The Big Bang Theory. Not much for me to consider, of course I was interested!

Along with  flattered, I usually feel overwhelmed and out of my league most the time. It is humbling to be able to call these amazing, intelligent, courageous, colorful advocates my colleagues. 

Like Artist Suzanne Hobbs Baker, Executive Director of PopAtomic Studios which established The Nuclear Literacy Project. This February she  packed up her art supplies and headed across the ocean to explore the European nuclear industry.  Along the way she is blogging about her adventures in Diary of A Nuclear Tourist. 

The color of advocacy is as varied as Suzy's paints, but one thing is certain, coward yellow is not the signature color of any of my colleagues.