Friends and foes of advocacy, social justice and making a difference


After working with families, advocates and providers and learning about how people, advocacy, stereotypes and awareness can all influence policy for better or worse and reflecting a bit, I can honestly say that I believe that advocacy has Friends and foes.

I’m not much of a blogger but I am an open book who feels that sharing can only strengthen my (and our) ability to do what it is that we do better. These are just my thoughts, my observations and conclusions. I invite you to read them, take them, leave them or share your thoughts… I say it all with love & good intention.

Friends – Help to advance serve as allies
– Understanding that being displaced can be hard, scary and traumatic. When we are in difficult situations we cope and handle it as best we can. My best may not look like your best but that’s ok.
– Understanding the need for compassion and logic.
If we seek shelter or food the logic behind that is that it is lacking and badly needed… that logic should be followed by compassion & understanding that want and need are not interchangeable.

-Understanding that togetherness and united efforts are the only thing that can change situations, systems and a world that is bigger than us.

When we combine our blessings, experience and advocacy, we can make sure that everyone has what they need because it is social justice that we seek. Human rights for all, health safety and stability for children, families, elders, neighbors …human beings .

Foes – Can hinder efforts serve as a barrier
-Us and them
Providers, families, residents , formerly homeless… we all want the same thing.
When we begin to look at the lines that divide us VS the ties that bind us we pay a big price.
When we buy into the concept that by separating ourselves by what we do more, right or better, is a good idea. It’s counterproductive (divide and conquer)

– Susie and Sally
“What Susie says of Sally, says more of Susie.. than of Sally.”
When we put down others in our own situation (perhaps shelter residents, families in low income housing, others with different ways coping and handling adversity) it reflects poorly on all of us. It hurts our argument, magnifies our flaws and sets back the movement giving others who don’t see marginalized populations as worthy of much at all.
You may likely be lumped in with the group that you are criticizing, guilty by association

-Expressing the want not the need & failing to mention the mutual benefit
Everybody WANTS something, but to need is different. Wants are easily written off as entitlement and dismissed. What you want (housing) is actually what you need to survive and stabilize your family. Outline the mutual benefits- What’s in it for the skeptics?

When I say friends and foes, It is not in reference to us (you and I) who are working to create change, a better system a better world.
By saying Friends & Foes I intend to point out the things that help or hinder our efforts to move forward in our collective efforts…

Thank you for allowing me to share with you some of the things that have discovered in my journey in pursuit of social justice

Post by: Nilaya 

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