What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is not a science. It requires persistence and patience.
Advocacy is persuading a person with influence, the public, businesses, organizations, or governments to change attitudes, policies and/or practices about a certain issue. There are several types of advocacy:
- Individual Advocacy
- Third-party Advocacy: when a person or organization, not directly involved in the issue, represents a person or group in advocating for change
- Systemic Advocacy: aimed at changing legislation, policies, regulations or attitudes in order to benefit a group
Even in a perfect world, where systems work, and needs are met, there will always be people whose voices remain unheard and their need unrecognized. Advocacy is based on principles that each of us have the right to be heard and control how we are treated. Often, getting what we need is simply a matter of knowing where to go for advice or an answer, or finding what is available. There are situations when getting what we need requires that we convince someone or defend our rights and challenge a system that is rigid and archaic. In these situations, changes are needed. The way to make these changes is advocacy. This may mean, raising awareness or educating the public.
Purpose of Advocacy
The unpredictable “flares” of lupus can severely affect many aspects of daily life. As a result, you may often turn to family, friends, the medical system, governments and other services for help. This can sometimes be a frustrating and unsettling experience. This kit was developed as a support resource to provide you with information, tips and techniques on how to self-advocate for yourself. The goal is to educate you about your rights and how to get what you need.
Although this kit focuses on self-advocacy, this is one facet of advocacy. This is explained further on in this kit. Broader coalitions, systemic awareness and education campaigns are also a very important part of advocacy. This kit is a starting point. While it is important for you to take action yourself, you are not alone. Lupus Canada is your partner in advocacy.
Empowerment is the basic attitude underlying advocacy. It is the conviction that every person has the right to be heard, the right to understand, the right to decide, the right to that “level playing field”. The more we act on this attitude, the more people will come to recognize the rights of persons living with lupus.