Chronic Illness · Coping Tools · CRPS/RSD

Hear Our Voice: How to Advocate for Your Beliefs From Your Couch

advocate-pt-finalI am a social worker. Not only as my job, a way to make money and put food on the table but also as a person. It has been a part of my identity for the last decade. The passion that I have for making a difference in those lives around me is a fire that has run deep in my veins for as long as I can remember.

As a child I rescued baby bunnies, kittens and colored pictures for the nursing homes. Now I help courageous people make a better life for themselves and their families.  I am an advocate for those that don’t have a voice. I am an advocate for those that are frightened and those who are too tired to fight anymore.

Although I have always been a social worker, I have never been a political person.  I have signed petitions and tried to keep current on legislation that affected my clients but the political world seemed confusing to me.  I continued to advocate for social justice but on a much smaller level in our communities.

In the last few month surrounding the Campaigns, Election and now the first weeks of Trump’s Presidency, I have a restless feeling. A gut feeling that things are not okay.  As a social worker it is difficult to see my clients fear the country that they have lived in all of their lives.  As a human being, I am disgusted and I am at a loss for words as this man seems intent on destroying the fundamental core of America.

This past weekend, I rallied all my energy into joining my friends as we marched through the small city where we lived.  I knew this was a risky move, not because I was afraid for my safety or afraid family members would disown me but because I am sick.

I have a disability and a diagnosis that keeps me from being able to fully participate in events that demand a physical presence.  My CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) is also exacerbated by stress and spirals into relentless flares where my body feels that it has been doused in gasoline and lit on fire. Living with this diagnosis has forced me to limit and take note of my stress levels as well as checking in constantly to listen to what my body is telling me.

5 women posing for a picture with protest signs for civil rights
Me with my friends at a Women’s March in Winchester, Va

Self care is one of the most important things that I must do everyday.  I have fallen into routines of making sure I am taking care of myself but recently that routine has been jarred by the events happening in our country.  I felt my stress rising and my heart breaking as I read news article after news article. How could I take care of myself and stand up for what I believed in?

I knew as a Social Worker I needed to do SOMETHING and I felt this restless energy to fight for everyone’s Civil Rights.  I felt powerless sitting at home, scrolling through Facebook, reading horrific news stories and watching videos of hearings in Congress.  I was happy that I had Marched over the weekend but I knew I could not continue at that pace.  I needed to be involved in another way.  A way that people weren’t talking about.  I couldn’t go to meetings, join in anymore marches or protest.  I didn’t even know if I had the strength (or enough spoons-in chronically ill language) to add the extra stops to get envelopes, ink for my printer and then consistently drop off letters at the post office.

I felt hopeless. I had to do something. This Social Worker could not sit quietly while I felt the world was crumbling around me.

So I research. and researched. and researched some more.  I tested out Apps on my phone, read up on organizations online and signed up with many groups in my area.   I wanted to help my clients and those who are in danger of losing their civil rights but I also wanted to create a resource for people like me. Who were unable to physically participate but had a strong, powerful voice.  I wanted to provide a resource for people who want to make a difference, to do so. This by no means is all of the resources but I felt it was a good start!

Resources to get you involved from your couch

Countable:

  • App
  • Put your zipcode in and see your representatives.
  • Customize your feed on topics such a environment, social justice, work, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton & Trump
  • Updates users what Congress is voting on this week.
  • Check out Bills (They offer a summary that is written for the average person to understand) and then you can tap “Yea” or “Nay”, leave a comment or share to social media page (Or ALL 3!).

I LOVE THIS APP! You vote goes to your representative and you can add an opinion that your representative will see. You can even make a video message for the lawmaker to watch. I feel empowered!

Democracy Now!

  • Phone/Tablet App for news on what is currently happening.
  • It is not owned by huge corporations
  • They claim to be unbiased and unfiltered new report
  • Offers website https://www.democracynow.org

icitizen

  • App
  • Track trending news, polls and issues in community
  • Raise awareness on issues and topics important to you
  • Weigh in on issues that you care about
  • Choose your news feed on your interests:
  • Trending issues. State. National. Created. Voted.

All Voices-Daily Progressive,Liberal Politics

  •  App for iPhone, iPad
  • Provides easy access to left leaning podcasts/radio
  • Interesting articles
  • Latest news and interviews
  • Can opt for notifications on issues that are important

NPR One:

  • App
  • Allows you to customize your content and puts into playlist
  • “Personal NPR station to go”
  • Who doesn’t love NPR stories??

Indivisible:

  • Site put together by former congressional leaders with tips on how to make congress listen!
  • Podcast:
    • The first 100 days and how people on both sides are adjusting. I listened to this on my way to work this week and I enjoyed it. Even hearing opinions that don’t match my own so I can begin to understand other point of views

https://www.indivisibleguide.com

Women’s March

10 acts in 100 days. Go to the website. Download the template for post cards and send them to your senator voicing your concerns. You can search for the representatives in your area

www.womensmarch.com

icitizen

  • App
  • Track trending news, polls and issues in community
  • Raise awareness on issues and topics important to you
  • Weigh in on issues that you care about
  • Choose your news feed on your interests:
  • Trending issues. State. National. Created. Voted.

CivilRights.org

http://www.civilrights.org/action_center/toolkit/congress.html

  • website
  • Making your voice heard
  • Information, how to guide and ideas to build relationships with your congress

4us.com

https://4us.com

  • find out your representative’s voting history and hold them accountable!
  • You can filter and search through bills
  • Look at trending news that affects Congress
  • Popular discussions

House.gov

http://www.house.gov

Go straight to the source.

  • Watch live
  • List of events
  • Who is your representative
  • And if you really need to break it down you check out their kids site: http://kids.clerk.house.gov

 

We all have our strengths and things we are naturally good at.  Use those to your advantage as you find a way to stand up for what you believe! And if you are just feeling worn down and need to see some positivity around you, check out this week’s Mindful Monday Post on 37 ways to be kind.

If you have a resource that is helpful to you, please suggest in the comments below!

As Always, Much Metta,

Kelly

3 thoughts on “Hear Our Voice: How to Advocate for Your Beliefs From Your Couch

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