Saturday, April 20, 2013

Advocacy

Oh my gods!  I am exhausted.  Yesterday's Advocacy Day was full of information and really well attended (3 of our state Representatives  2 Congressmen, and a bunch of superintendents  including one who got a helping of karma while onstage and over 150 local PTA members who were there to ask questions and look for better answers).  My head is spinning a little from trying to take in so much information.

The opening speech may have been the biggest lesson of the day, though.  One of the council presidents was speaking about the history and purpose of advocacy day.  She also said that advocacy seems to be a scary word for a lot of people.  This, of course. got me thinking.

I advocate for many things- better gender equality, peace, the elimination of poverty, fair labor practices, violence prevention to name a few.  Advocacy is something I do all the time. I have come to understand in my life that very few people will speak up for their own needs, much less someone else's, and so I speak up so that officials cannot claim that the people were silent on an issue.  I know that I may not affect change, but I also know that I can't bitch about the system if I never get involved.

So before your gods, before your government, before your own conscience, you must advocate for the change you want to see in the world, just as you must model that change.  Silence equals assent.  If you never advocate for yourself  you cannot expect anyone to understand your point of view, much less help you change things. Even when your efforts seem to have been in vain, you can at least say that you tried to make change, and that is far more than many, many people will ever be able to say.  Trying and failing is far more empowering than doing nothing.

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