This month, I am working with the kind promise “I will advocate courageously.”

I was raised to believe in advocacy. If you saw an unjust system, you joined with others to work to make things right. For example, when I was a kid, I was not allowed to eat grapes. My family participated in a boycott spearheaded by Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. I learned, literally at my mother’s knee, about the power of collective action and about taking responsibility to do what we could.

Advocacy means “to speak up on behalf of an individual or group to uphold their rights or explain their position.” (That’s based on the APA Dictionary of Psychology definition.) Down

I found a useful article on the “spectrum of advocacy” written for patients at Triage Cancer. The article defines and gives examples of personal, community, organizational, media, scientific, policy, and legislative advocacy. I like the idea of a widening circle of advocacy, moving from individual concerns to the greater good of society.

On a recent Saturday, I went through the “promotional” and “updates” tabs of my Gmail messages. I subscribed to many lists. Renewing my awareness of lists to which I subscribed was a good way of remembering what issues have felt important to me in the past. To borrow a lyric from the Atlanta Rhythm Section “the world is in an uproar and I see no end in sight.” There are many issues that call me to activism. How do I set priorities?

Theologian Frederick Buechner defines vocation as the place where “your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

My mother had a quote from Henry David Thoreau above her desk. “It is not enough to be busy,” he said. “The question is what are we busy about?”

This month’s kind promise invites us to answer that question.

In your journal:

  • What does advocacy mean to you?
  • What do you believe is “the world’s deepest hunger”?
  • What activities or issues elicit “you’re deep clad this”?