On this last day of February, this is my last post (for now) about my plans for the Advanced Advocacy and Community Practice course.
I’m ending the semester with a sort of ‘sending off’.
One of the hardest parts of advocacy practice–in my life, and, I believe, in the lives of many social work practitioners–is sustaining oneself for the journey.
It’s not just about preventing burnout, although that is, of course, important. It’s also about finding a sort of group of colleagues–a team–even when, in many organizations and fields of practice, there are relatively few social workers and/or relatively few practitioners engaged in advocacy practice in a concerted way.
It’s about finding sources of inspiration to give perspective during difficult fights. It requires the ability to center oneself on an animating vision–the world as it should be–without giving up in despair when we fall so short of that ideal. It requires taking care of oneself without retreating to the exclusively private sphere.
It is, of course, a very tall order for a 2.75-hour class period.
I’m going to show some film clips and share some poetry and have them do some journaling. We’re going to utilize some online forums to connect ourselves. I will, as I do every year, offer myself as a mentor and cheerleader.
There may be tears.
And, I’m hoping to crowd-source it a bit.
What sustains you?
What examples are inspiring to you? What do you do to take care of yourself? How do you stay connected with peers? How do you keep going during difficult times?
What advice would you offer to my students, as they begin their own advocacy careers?
What lights would you offer for their journey?