Friday, February 28, 2014

What is an Advocate?

“This post is my February entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at

The question this month, is "What is an Advocate"? 

Hm. Tough question. 

All my life I have considered myself an advocate for various things. When I was a freshmen in high school, it was for animals and I claimed vegetarianism for a lifestyle for the next five years. College and bacon got involved then. 

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was diagnosed with t1 diabetes, and I became an advocate for finding the cure. I still advocate for that. 

When I was in college, I stumbled upon social justice. And fell in love. I advocated for the children of Ecuador and Norristown. I graduated and taught in Arizona and advocated for the Navajo students I taught. I went back to school and advocated for the inner city students I now work with.

So, yeah, I guess you would say I am an advocate. But how to describe one? Ah, well, that one is harder. It depends. That sounds like a cop-out answer, but I promise it's not. 

I see advocates march on Washington, pick up microphones and shout their ideals. Our history books tell us of advocates who risked their lives and their freedom to speak for others. We are coming off of a month that celebrates some of the individuals who made so many rights in America possible for many people. I see advocates who hit facebook and twitter and spread inspiration like a virtual wildfire. I see blogs dedicated to causes, and I see people worldwide united under the same cause. I see and hear the news. I see signs posted and I hear songs written. 

I know this blog is supposed to be about diabetes, so here is advocacy from my perspective:

Advocacy is the people who never gave up on me when I was struggling in my low points of diabetes. Advocacy is the girl at my lunch table who threw her tater tots at the other girl who called me a needle freak in high school. Advocacy is my 5 year nephew studiously watching me prep my materials so he knows what to do in case I have an emergency. Advocacy is thousands of people lacing up sneakers and walking across America to support research to finding a cure, and the random lady who puts her change in the collection jar at the local WaWa and buys a paper sneaker for the window. 

Advocacy is refusing to be quiet, to sit down and shut up, until a cure is found. 

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