As many of us have today off to celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, I was reminded by his quote:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
We focus on our work at hand, whether it be in the program that we are implementing in a school or the community-wide initiative that we plan for, and are silent when opportunities for advocacy present themselves.
Being vocal can include setting up a meeting with your Senator or Congressman, which the CADCA’s 26th annual National Leadership Forum will provide resources and support. CADCA also offers a Strategizer: Guidelines for Advocacy: Changing Policies and Laws to Create Safer Environments for Youth.
While it is important to have those conversations with elected officials, our responsibility for advocacy doesn’t end there. Too often we get bogged down with the notion that the only conversations that matter are those of individuals in high offices. Speaking about what you do and the changes you are trying to make should be a daily occurrence.
In a conversation with a co-worker at Macy’s (a job I’ve enjoyed since college), she said that should she be diagnosed with cancer, she would just smoke marijuana instead of using doctor-recommended chemicals, because according to her, “it doesn’t make sense to take poison to make you healthy”. It provided me with a wonderful opportunity to provide information and education in an environment outside of what is typically considered a prevention environment.
As you enjoy this holiday, please keep in mind that while the day may be free from our profession, prevention work is an everyday part of life.
When the voices of the opposition become louder, don’t fall silent – speak prevention, live prevention, be prevention.
It is not just your life that you are saving, but the lives of those you encounter along the way.
Have a question, or comment, please let me know! This blog is dedicated to those who work or volunteer in substance abuse prevention and health promotion and your feedback is valuable.