Marian Wright Edelman said, “If we don’t stand up for children, we don’t stand for much.” Truly, speaking up for our kids is probably one of the most primal instincts we have, but what exactly does it mean to stand up for your kids? What is this thing called child advocacy?
It sounds daunting, but the word “advocacy” really only means actively voicing your support for a cause. You are probably already advocating quite a bit and you may not even know it. Maybe you told a friend how you’d like your child’s health insurance to be more affordable and inclusive. That’s child advocacy. Maybe you told the cashier at the grocery store that you’d like to see organic food included in the WIC program. That’s child advocacy.
In the simplest terms, if you have an opinion about how society functions and you tell someone else, you are an advocate. Welcome to the fray. Now that you see how easy it is to advocate, how are you using your voice to stand up for your kids?
In my own work advocating for healthier environments for children, I’ve been pleasantly surprised over the past year or so to watch how many more moms (and dads) are standing up for kids’ health. When I first started educating parents about toxic chemicals in everyday products, the main question I heard was “what can I buy?” The problem was seen as something that could be solved at home simply by making smarter purchasing choices. This is where it naturally begins, but now I’m hearing more “what can we do?” Parents have quickly tired of deciphering labels and trying to find the safest products; they want to change the entire system so they don’t have to worry about it anymore. This shift has been so inspiring for me to watch and participate in.
Today, using technology, it’s easier than ever to be an advocate. We have information and tools at our fingertips. We have immediate and constant access to a vast network of experts and “co-conspirators.” We have the ability to publicize and magnify our efforts in ways that were previously unimaginable.
And every voice counts. And every effort counts – from talking with your neighbor to talking to your federal representatives. What are you saying and who are you talking to?
Stand up for kid’s health and help make a healthier world for everyone. It’s really much easier than you think.