Advocating 101: Learning

Contrary to popular opinion, advocating isn’t something that you can do overnight. There are several steps that come before the act of advocating. One of those steps is learning everything you can about what you are advocating for.

While this step is never-ending, it’s important to have a good foundation of knowledge about what you’re advocating for before you start advocating. It just makes sense. Why would you advocate for something that you don’t even know about?

When I started advocating for food allergies through nallergy, I thought that I knew everything about food allergies. I’ve been living with them for about ten years; what is there not to know? But I quickly learned that there was actually a lot that I didn’t know about food allergies.

I didn’t know everything about labeling laws. I didn’t know what it’s like to go through a food allergy treatment, such as OIT. I didn’t know about food insecurity and food allergies, or what it’s like to have a soy allergy, or what it’s like to live with allergies outside of the top eight. Basically, there was, and still is, a lot to learn.

So, how do you learn?

In my opinion, the best way to learn is online. You have a whole world of knowledge about anything and everything at your fingertips.

I started by following food allergy influencers on Instagram. This is the best way to learn about what it’s like to physically live with food allergies, or whatever you are advocating for.

If you’re looking for more specific or scientific knowledge of what you’re advocating for, I would recommend listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and going to websites that advocate for what you are advocating for. For example, if you wanted to advocate for childhood cancer, you could go to St. Jude’s website. Other ways to learn about what you are advocating for include reading books and going to conventions.

What do you do after you have done your research? Well, that’s when we start acting on advocating. The blog post for how to advocate will be out on Sunday, January 24 at 3:00pm EST; don’t miss it!

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