Advocacy is at the heart of our being human. It is our own personal and God given catalyst for the change we want to see. In our hearts, we are all advocates who want to drive social justice and improve behaviors in the world because we know the rewards for advocacy are many and fulfilling. Perhaps the greatest benefit is that you get to work to improve laws, policies and systems that affect the communities you live in and greater ones too.
Advocates aim to make a difference. Today there are many in every spectrum from global poverty (Bono and Angelina Jolie), to global warming (Al Gore), HIV awareness (Madonna), to advocates for a range of important topics (Jack Bonner).
As powerful and needed as advocacy is though, there is a major problem today: and part of it is real and another part is imagined.
The real part is that our world today is getting more cynical. We struggle with whether we should take a real interest in our fellow man, when we are so worried about the well-being of ourselves and our immediate families. We see people receive help that we feel like we could not get, and it makes us think the system is unfair. This can make us callous towards others. Not only those from different places and who don’t look or act like us, but even those who we have been around all of our lives and who think just like we do. These are real feelings and they should be addressed by understanding that by helping others we also help ourselves. If we advocate for better schools in all neighborhoods, we reduce the crime rates in every neighborhood, including our own. If we advocate for clean water in Flint Michigan, we safeguard against a similar water disaster in our cities or cities where our extended families may live. The effect of advocacy does not end at a border or street, it sends a message to all that people are listening and will take action on important issues that affect some or all of us.
The imagined part is that advocacy too often seeks to redistribute limited resources away from you. This is never the case. Advocacy says that what is needed for everyone to do well is available, it was just not used or it was misappropriated. When a company makes defective products and their response is that they had cost overruns and needed to cut corners, the reality is not a product that could not be made and sold for a fair price, it is usually either the company’s inefficiency or they are paying their top end employees too much salary and bonuses. That money should have gone to improving their products or maintaining acceptable quality for them. Advocacy shines a light on these issues and compels those highlighted to take the problem head-on and fix it.
There are dozens of great reasons to advocate. I have pulled together a few here for you to appreciate:
- You can make a difference and together we can make a bigger difference.
- With advocacy, laws can be changed or improved.
- Policy makers need your expertise and passion on important issues.
- You have a story to share and others need to hear it.
- Your children having a better world depends on advocacy