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LiveBlog: Advocating on Behalf of Those Who Cannot Advocate for Themselves

By Sonja Egeland Kelly

Those living in chronic poverty often do not have a voice. Who is here to advocate on behalf of the poor? We are.

In the breakout session, “Stand Up for People in Poverty,” an advocacy workshop at Opportunity’s Fall Microfinance Conference,http://www.opportunity.org/blog/meet-jennifer-kottler-leader-of-a-breakout-session-at-fall-microfinance-conference/Rev. Jennifer Kottler[/intlink], Director of Policy and Advocacy at Sojourners, reminded us of our role as advocates advancing the rights of people living in poverty.

Kottler asks, “How can we focus our advocacy so that we can achieve justice for and with people?” She reminded us that advocacy is a blessing to those who do it.

Kottler’s encouragement and practical advice, based on years of experience, were both interesting and inviting.

“If I keep talking to people, and if I am persistent and faithful,” insists Kottler, “God can change people’s hearts.”

She closed with an apt reminder from Ghandi, who was the ultimate advocate for those living in poverty: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Kottler’s experience certainly speaks to this reality.

At the end of the session, Ian Haisley, Online Communications Manager at Opportunity, and Rob Meloche, Vice President of Communications, also gave a brief tutorial on how to use the online sphere, including TwitterFacebook and blogs, and the offline sphere, such as a personal network, in order to educate people about the problem of poverty. Their tutorial was a compelling and practical complement to Kottler’s insistence on advocacy.

Thanks so much Rev. Kottler, for your challenge to advocate on behalf of those living in chronic poverty!

For more information on advocating on behalf of those living in poverty, or to get a form letter that YOU can send to your representative, email [email protected].

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