“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth. ”
– William Faulkner
Take a good close look at this image.
It was what Wikipedia showed me as it blacked itself out to protest the SOPA and PIPA bills now before Congress. It shows who my representatives are. If you have to, click on it and look closely.
In the United States, people directly elect two Senators and a Representative.
Notice that I have no Representative!
Through a strange twist of fate, and the resignation of our last Representative for the 1st District of Oregon, David Wu, I had no representation to call to oppose the SOPA bill in the House of Representatives.
The irony is that I rarely have need to call my congressman. Today, I did. And I had no advocate.
We all need advocates throughout our lives. If a relation passes away, we need a legal advocate to help us through the hurdles of an estate. Having an advocate at a hospital to ensure a loved one receives proper medical care is essential. Any employee knows that the Human Resources representative is invaluable if there is a problem at the office. A capable accountant can help us out of a thorny tax mess with the IRS. For those with financial means, it’s easy to take these advocates for granted.
Not everyone has those means, however.
There are people in this world who lack any advocates and their situation is much more dire. A homeless woman on the street. An abused child who suffers at the hands of an abusive parent. A family that lives in a country with a military government. An undocumented worker with a family to feed.
Who are their advocates? And if they have none, who will teach them about self-advocacy?
As my children grow, my wife and I try to teach them about self-advocacy. We teach them to stand up and speak up. But it’s not an easy lesson to learn. It requires courage and an understanding of the who’s, how’s, where’s and when’s of getting help. It’s a lot of knowledge for a child. Even when they have years to learn it and parents who are willing to help.
If you’re in a position to advocate for someone, please do. They may not have a representative either.
Called my two Senators expressing my opposition to the SOPA and PIPA online piracy bills… Also, got some feedback from a teaching friend to help another teacher who was asking for some advice on sparked.com.