25 Things for 25 Years (No. 2)
We’re celebrating our 25th anniversary this year! As part of our celebration, we’re releasing a series of three blog posts focused on our team’s fav things — many are connected to our work and mission and some simply inspire us.
In the second part of the series, we discuss advocacy. Our team shared informative articles, inspiring activists and organizations, as well as tips for being an effective advocate.
WHAT IS THE MOST INFORMATIVE ARTICLE YOU HAVE READ REGARDING SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, OR RACIAL JUSTICE?
1. “How Do the Police Actually Spend Their Time?” by Jeff Asher and Ben Horwitz with The New York Times. This article explores 911 call center data to figure out how police actually spend their time, and it's very striking how little of their work involves actual crime, much less violent crime.
2. I loved and learned so much from Latria Graham's article "We're Here. You Just Don't See Us" in Outside Magazine in 2018. It is mostly about the history and safety of being Black in/on public lands in the U.S. But, it has implications for what it means to be a person of color in public in the world.
3. Anything and everything by Nikole Hannah-Jones, including her twitter feed. “Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City” is an older article, but one of the most morally challenging that I've ever read.
4. I've been enjoying a newsletter series by Dr. Joanna Shoffner Scott called “Race in the Workplace.”
WHAT ACTIVIST, ADVOCATE OR ORGANIZATION INSPIRES YOU? WHY?
5. Megan Rapinoe, who consistently advocates for equal pay in women's sports and LGBTQ+ rights. Symone, the drag queen who recently won RuPaul's Drag Race, uses her platform so well to advocate for Black Lives Matter. The intersection of her drag is that you can be black, queer, and be proud of your entire self.
6. Carmen Llanes Pulido from GAVA, because she not only advocates for the community, she makes sure that the most vulnerable are prioritized while being able to listen to all sides of an issue and navigating local politics with integrity.
7. If I'm being completely honest, every kiddo I've come across that has pushed through the hand they've been dealt to move forward with their lives and make it better for them. Our urban neighborhoods are war zones, and when those kids walk across that stage and follow a path towards a safe and better life, there is nothing more inspiring to me than that.
8. Every grassroots advocate I have ever worked with, who is advocating for systemic change that benefits everyone, while struggling with the effects of the same systems and policies on their own families.
9. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Having one agency focused on the financial well-being of all people in our country is necessary in the increasingly complex and diverse financial world we live in.
10. Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. I saw him speak at the IMPACT conference and felt so validated and seen in my experience growing up in a town that lives by white supremacy to my first job that also lived by it. I think about his words like, "the heartbeat of racism is denial..." a lot.
11. An organization that inspires me is The Trevor Project. They do such great work in serving LGBTQ+ youth.
12. World Vision. They have a strong support for women and work to empower girls to have futures filled with education, opportunity and hope.
13. Malala Yousafzai. This girl is a beast! An amazing young individual who stood up for her right and the rights of others to be educated and in a war zone! She is so inspiring.
14. Texas Appleseed. Truly! I am blessed to work with passionate, diverse, well-informed colleagues who advocate for the cause.
15. Adrienne Maree Brown. The curiosity, creativity, and urgency of her writing never fails to inspire me. A lot of her perspective is rooted in Afrofuturism, which has a lot to teach all of us about what is possible.
16. Harvey Milk and MLK because both spoke up and gave a voice to a movement that really did not have one before them that was widely known.
WHAT IS YOUR NUMBER ONE TIP FOR BEING A GOOD ADVOCATE?
17. Make sure that you are passionate about something. How can you successfully advocate for something if you do not feel passionate about it? Find ways to educate those who don't understand rather than belittling those who don't understand.
18. Speak up to those in your own circle (family and friends) to educate them!
19. Community building is key. Building a broad-based community of people with the same policy goals keeps us true to our values and ensures beneficial impacts on Texans.
20. Work with others! Don't power hoard; this work is done in service of others. To empower them, you can't go at it alone or without their voices.
21. Know your data but ask questions first.
22. Be curious and willing to listen to those who may disagree in good faith, in case you can find areas of common ground.
23. The personal is truly political, and it's important to keep that front and center in the quest for racial justice. Don't run from that reality.
24. Engage and listen to the community, make sure to reflect their needs to the best of your ability.
25. Personally? Be nice until it's not effective. Then, throw everything you have at them.
View the first blog post in this series here, and stay tuned for our third one!