Posted on September 14, 2021 by Jayde Petrie
Hi there and welcome to Advocacy 101, your quick course on how to be the best advocate for the issues you care about. I’m Jayde and I will be your lecturer this evening… okay maybe not a lecturer – definitely more like PROJECT ROCKIT presenter here to help you out on your first steps into the world of advocacy.
Hi there! It’s me ^__^
First off, what is advocacy?
Let’s jump straight into it. Advocacy involves taking positive action. If you’re an advocate, it means you’re someone who publicly supports, recommends or speaks out on different issues that you care about that might affect yourself or those around you.
Now, if you’re feeling like that’s a really big statement, you’re right. Advocacy looks different for everyone based on their confidence levels, privileges and what everyone has access to. So how do we go about breaking it down and working out how we actually use our voice to create some sort of change that also meet us on our own level?
It’s important to find what you care about or what issues you’re hearing about (or experiencing) that you feel particularly passionate about (If that’s you, move straight to Step 2, my friend) but if you’re not sure, here are some quick and easy ways to figure it out. To get started we recommend asking yourself a couple of these questions to get a feel for what things come to mind:
(look at all those chickens!)
The next step is to find or build a space for other passionate people. This might be finding a group that already exists that is doing great work towards your social issue, or putting yourself out there to be the person to start the group. Trust me I know this sounds a little scary (hello fellow introverts!) but I can guarantee that if you are passionate about something there are others around that are just as passionate as you, all it takes is finding them. There are a few ways you can do this including: posting on social media, reaching out to friends and family, or even asking your school if you’re able to start a group during recess and lunch time that can meet to take action
I’m really passionate about body positivity for example, so I found an organisation (oh hi there PROJECT ROCKIT) that was passionate about a lot of the same topics I was and gave me a platform to empower other young people to speak up on the topic. By finding PROJECT ROCKIT I was able to find a whole group of change makers who were passionate about all issues that affect young people, including body positivity.
It can be really overwhelming to think about not only finding our voices, but also being vocal about something we care about. The good news? There’s so many ways you can take action that don’t mean standing in front of hundreds of people. However you use your voice, there are people out there who want to hear it.
Finding my voice was a hard one for me. I am not a smooth talker, and I don’t do well talking in front of people (yes I get that whole palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms heavy kind of stuff) but I worked out that surrounding myself with likeminded people meant I felt more comfortable and confident to use my voice. That led to me being a workshop presenter, and even led to getting to write and star in an episode of PROJECT ROCKIT TV which was dedicated to unpacking Body Image. My Oscar nomination is definitely not in the mail, but it was an awesome opportunity to speak about what I am passionate about in a way that worked for me and can have a lasting effect. (shameless plug: you can watch the episode below)
So, they’re my three tips for finding your inner-advocate. To recap: focus on what you care about, find your people and find your voice (or platform). It’s okay if you feel like you’re sill figuring this stuff out – no matter what your part is towards tackling your social cause, whether it be big or small…
It will have impact.
It will make a difference.