Top 5 Reasons Why Advocacy is Our Responsibility

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I am working on an upcoming workshop entitled, “Advocacy is Our Responsibility.”  In preparing for the workshop, I was exploring the issues of why do or why don’t people advocate for themselves?  I realize that advocacy is not an easy job and so for many people, they choose to avoid these situations.  Though for some people, it is second nature to stand up for themselves. What I have discovered is the most common reason people don’t advocate for themselves is fear.

Fear is associated with having one’s feelings hurt or receiving a negative reaction.  Often, advocacy requires confrontation and can be “self-consuming.”  It consumes one’s time, emotions, commitment, knowledge, and energy.  Who has the time?  Who has the energy?  Why do “I” have to do it?

The response I often offer is, “If you don’t, then who will?”  Further, who will protect your rights and the rights of future generations?  Here is my list of top five reasons why advocacy is our responsibility:

  1. Advocacy is a commitment to protect our community today and future generations.  Our predecessors fought for our basic civil and linguistic rights.  (Remember the days where interpreters were not available or we couldn’t get car insurance.)
  2. Advocacy ensures our rights will continue to be protected.  Our voice must be heard and be inclusive.  Through vigilant education, people who have great power in making decisions are aware of the affects on our lives everyday, with respect our rights.
  3. Advocacy continues to promote our values and identity as deaf individuals, members of the deaf community and culture.  “We are here.  Respect our rights.”
  4. Advocacy bridges the message with the cause.  Causes nurture passion and bringing communities together.  Enduring years of oppression and discrimination, the deaf community continue to stand strong because of advocacy.
  5. Advocacy is the right thing to do.  To advocate for yourself, you advocate for us all.

Advocacy remains important.  Your voice counts.


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