When we take a stand for others we are being advocates. Many of the biggest and most impactful changes in society — from Black Lives Matter to the #metoo movement — can be traced back to a small group of individuals that inspired others to take action. Bold voices that recognized inequity and challenged pre-existing systems that paved the way for others to do the same, spurring widespread change.
Advocacy is the expression of our needs and the needs of others, in order to create positive change. While advocacy can lead to societal change, it often takes place on a smaller scale in our daily lives, such as standing up for a friend or family members, or even ourselves. Think of it as a problem solving approach— identifying something that needs to change, figuring out the support and resources required, and effectively communicating this need to the people who can help.
Becoming an advocate for what we care about is no easy feat— it takes deep empathy and understanding, strong communication skills, and the confidence to put what you learn into action. You can practice advocating for yourself by being reflective, understanding your needs, and asking for help or standing up for yourself. And advocating for others requires social awareness and respectful solution-finding that isn’t based on assumptions. Now we will take this one step further and develop our voices in a world that needs them now more than ever.