Advocacy makes a difference
Bellen Woodard was an advocate the day she decided that not every “skin color” crayon was peach colored. As she said, when asked for the skin-colored crayon, the default was to pick the peach crayon. “I just want to ask [my classmates] what color they want because it could be any number of beautiful colors.” Because of that simple question, everyone in her school started talking about skin color, and Bellen started More Than Peach, a project supported by Crayola, to send kits of art supplies and multicultural crayons to schools.13
Malone Mukwende, a 20-year-old medical student in London, noticed a lack of teaching about how certain symptoms appear differently on darker skin. In class he found himself repeatedly asking the question: “But what will it look like on darker skin?” As a result, he co-wrote a book for medical schools worldwide, Mind the Gap: A Handbook of Clinical Signs in Black and Brown Skin to ensure that patients with darker skin get better care.14
Information is Power, and It Is Powerful
Information helps us understand the world around us. Gathering information about a situation or issue at your workplace, your school, your child’s school, where you buy your groceries or daily coffee, or where you get your news, is critically important. Information helps to identify what change is needed, which is the first step toward advocacy on an issue. It’s worth noting that sometimes advocacy focuses on protecting laws and policies already in place, such as a good policy on sexual harassment, or laws allowing access to family planning services.
Simple questions can help you gather critical information, and can also spark conversations fundamental to advancing the equality and empowerment of women and girls. Even if we don’t have a lot of time to devote to activism, each and every one of us can ask one or two questions about the policies and practices of a business, a school, or any type of organization. These questions can happen face-to-face
(even socially distanced), by email, by letter, by social media postings, or by phone.
Throughout Take Action: Fighting for Women & Girls there are lists of questions that you can ask across institutions – questions that are tailored for political and business leaders, financial advisors, teachers and school administrators, law enforcement, media executives, and decision-makers at your own place of employment. Use these questions, modify them, or ask other questions that work for you.
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