Learning to advocate is an important part of becoming a complete person. We advocate for ourselves, we advocate for others, and we advocate for organizations. A focus of this workshop is to help develop the inner-advocate. In my line of work, I have found so often that girls, women, children do not know how to self-advocate or advocate for a cause they are passionate about. Where do you begin? How do you gain the confidence? How do you really make a difference? How do you make that educated risk? Week 2 of the Roam Your Soul workshop is all about that.
There are three steps in advocating:
First, we learn how to Self-Advocate: Being a self-advocate is how we get ourselves through and beyond life’s challenges. As a self-advocate we build self-efficacy, confidence and the ability to win/overcome challenges and barriers.
Then, we learn to Advocate for Another: Once we learn how to better our own situations and stand up for what we believe in, we move to advocating for those that are unable or unknowledgeable of how to do so. We find the friend who is in an abusive relationship and reach out a hand, we bring food to our church to hand out at Thanksgiving, and we begin to notice those around us that may need inspiration and we seek to provide it.
Then, we Advocate for an Organization/Group: We begin to realize that there are many more people in the world that have come from similar situations or haven’t had it as great as we have and we now want to make a bigger difference in a bigger population. We no longer can sit in our bubbles and do nothing while knowing that something can be done and is being done through wonderful organizations around the world. We become a pro-active advocate.
There are many ways to actively advocate:
Think outside the box. You can participate in a marathon, a march, a protest, a sit in, a walk or you can shout from the top of a building. Decide how you would like to advocate. Make contact with whom you would like to advocate. If it is yourself, do some journal reflecting and talk to your advocacy friend. If it is another person, reach out and discuss ways advocacy can occur. If it is an organization, make some phone calls and find out more about how you can be involved.
Being active is key to advocacy:
Follow through on your plan for advocacy. Climb that hill and shout from the rooftop. Make your signs and sit on the corner. Visit the community center and volunteer. Make advocacy an active part of your day.
Advocacy comes in many forms:
Each person expresses him or herself differently. We all have different skill sets and different experiences. Find what is meaningful to you and incorporate that with what you are good at. Students from MIT created a video game to discuss being gay, It Only Takes a Girl made a powerful video based on international statistics for women, She’s the First coordinated a rock concert to benefit girls’ education, and so many many more people have taken an idea and created a message.
What’s your message?
MIT: A Closed World, Video Game (Click the picture)
She’s the First, a Short Film