I had the distinct honor of being a member of the panel discussion for PFLAG of Northern Illinois’ Fall Conference on October 8. The theme of this year’s event was “The Power of Advocacy.” (advocacy power) This a perfect theme as our voices is needed now more than ever.
Prior to the panel discussion, which concluded the day, we heard from several speakers from Howard Brown and Equality Illinois as well as those who shared moving personal stories. The common thread? Alarming statistics and a call for continued (dare I say increased?) advocacy. Here are just a few:
- More than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in state capitals across the country this year.
- The Dobbs decision created a dangerously slippery slope for reproductive, LGBTQIA+, and human rights in general.
- Anti-LGBTQIA+ harassment and discrimination are once again on the rise.
- Books are being banned from schools and libraries around the country at an increasing rate.
There is hate, hostility, and fear. There is misinformation, manipulation, and more fear.
However, I walked away from this conference with HOPE, and I know for certain I was not the only one.
Our voices can and DO make a difference. Education makes a difference. Compassion makes a difference.
As I listened to the stories of the other advocates on the panel whose words for the day were: hopeful, resilient, connector, wavemaker, grassroots activist, renaissance woman, and embrace, I felt re-invigorated to keep pressing forward.
While being an advocate can certainly be in the grand wide-reaching movements; more often than not, it is found in the small, everyday moments. The conversations, the kind corrections, the non-judgmental curiosity offered instead of a harsh comeback.
A Lesson and Motivation:
Each one of us can be an advocate. Think of one small thing you can do today and commit to it in the comments. It is an honor to be on this journey with you! And we need to understand the responsibilities of an advocate.
That is all some things about lawyers.