What is advocacy and where does the word originate from?
The Online Etymology Dictionary defines the word as, “the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending”, which comes from the Old French avocacie and the Latin advocare meaning, “to call, summon, invite”. The act of advocacy itself has transitioned throughout history and what was implemented during the time of Caesar and amongst Roman advocates might not necessarily be the same in the modern world.
Advocacy carries a huge array of opportunities and contrary to the norm, it is not an action reserved for lawyers, legal advisors, attorneys, or advocates.
As previously defined, the term means to invite and ask for support. In this case, advocacy is an open-handed invitation towards change and improvement. We all strive to implement our environment and society, and who knew that a small chat with a colleague or friend was a discussion on advocacy and nothing else.
Let’s break the advocacy myths together:
Advocacy is done only in the courtrooms. This is only an aspect of legal advocacy in which a lawyer represents his or her client. Advocacy is never constrained nor limited to a set place or location, and thus, courtrooms are not the sole space of speaking out and shifting a perspective towards a positive light.
Advocacy is all about politicians and their suit and ties. On the contrary to what might be viewed on television shows and lobbying efforts and practices, advocacy is not centered around politics. Surely, it is required to voice out societal, educational, and economical concerns to start an effective wave, but by no means does this bound advocacy to politics.
Advocacy requires legal skills and immense time. This is perhaps the biggest myth of advocacy time. It is only enough to truly believe in something and strive to create a constructive impact and you have achieved the frame of advocacy. It doesn’t need to be a one-man job that takes months and years but can be a collaborative effort that saves time and produces a bigger output.
With that said, you now know that advocacy isn’t an act reserved for fancy politicians or A-tier lawyers but can be exercised by any citizen of the globe. By the mere mean of intellect and language, we each have the capability to advocate and amend approaches and conducts for a larger and more widespread result. It is time to break the myth and advocate for that which truly sparks a light in you—take the leap and make a change, advocate!