by Kari Lutes, Features Editor
On Feb. 15, actor Ashton Kutcher testified before the Senate against human trafficking. While Kutcher’s advocacy is laudable, it does not take millions of dollars and celebrity status to become an advocate. Last week, The Collegian released our advocacy issue, using our voices as journalists to give voices to many who go unheard, such as the unborn or victims of sexual harassment. Here is a list of tips to help all students find ways to lend their voices to the voiceless:
- Speak Up
First and foremost this is the key to advocacy. While most students don’t have a platform as large as Kutcher’s, our generation has a platform larger than that of any generation before us. We can us our social media to speak up for those who can’t speak. But that should only be where our advocacy starts, not where it stops. One way that students can up the volume of their voice on behalf of the voiceless is to contact their representatives. Students can go to www.senate.gov or http://www.house.gov to find their house and senate representatives’ contact information and make sure their voices are heard in Washington.
Advocacy is speaking on the behalf of another person, but students will not be able to speak for another if they do not listen first. Students will need to know the stories and realities of those for whom they hope to advocate. Read stories about the helpless, watch documentaries or speak to a refugee or former victim of sex trafficking. Be sure to listen when the once-silenced speaks—that’s the first sign of hope in the fight for advocacy.
One way to be sure to hear stories is to become a part of the movement. There are many opportunities to get involved in whatever cause students support. Students can volunteer at charities in and around Lexington by checking out volunteermatch.org, or get involved on campus by serving with one of the Asbury Outreach Coalition groups. Students can also join advocacy groups on campus, such as Threedom, a nation-wide group of college students fighting to end slavery and human trafficking.
If students find that their time is taken up with classes, work, and internships, another way to provide tangible advocacy is to donate to a cause of choice. Students should research charities and non-profits to find one they trust and support. To advocate for children in poverty they should look into sponsoring a child, or as an environmental advocate, look into donating to parks and conservation funds. It helps to look at giving to a cause as a part of tithing—a means of showing the love of Christ to the marginalized.