Bright Spots: Advocacy

written on 25 September 2020 by Indy Hollway & Erin Iwata

Art by Brandon Heim

Our Church Too is all about sharing stories and advocating for each other. However, advocating can be really difficult, and it’s important to be in the know. This week we have shared two stories about ways that we can advocate for issues we might not be attuned to. So, to support you on this journey, here is a collection of Instagram posts that we found particularly useful when coming to grips with healthy advocacy and educating ourselves. We hope that you find that these posts challenge and shape you, as they challenged and shaped us.

This piece by @i_weigh describes what intersectionality is and why it’s important. Without an intersectional mindset, good advocacy is impossible because without it, certain areas of oppression are prioritised over others, and the experiences of those who are at the intersection of multiple areas of oppression are left out.

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It’s #LearnOClock❣️ This week: OUTDATED PHRASES TO STOP USING IMMEDIATELY! Title art by @zeaink ❤️ Language is constantly changing and that’s a good thing. If you’re not here to learn, this lesson probably isn’t for you 😅⁣ ⁣ I’ll tell you why the words below are outdated and what to say instead. ⁣ ⁣ “sold down the river” - Literally refers to chattel slavery, violent displacement and family separation. Don’t belittle the atrocities of enslavement. Say betrayed. Use a thesaurus.⁣ ⁣ “homosexual” - Has historically been used by anti-gay people and groups in derogatory ways. Say gay, lesbian, or other current language. If a person self describes as homosexual that’s ok.⁣ ⁣ “underprivileged” - Used to vaguely describe people across class, race, religion, ability, etc. without naming specific forms oppression. Instead, be specific. If you say this word but actually mean Black people, say Black people. ⁣ ⁣ “inner city” - The racist practices of redlining (covered in E1 of @americadidwhat) and over-policing caused “inner city” to become code for people of color, crime, and poverty. If you’re talking about an area of a city that’s fine. If you’re talking about people, be specific.⁣ ⁣ “minority” - It replaces a group’s actual identity with their total population numbers. Also, “minor” can convey a sense of being lesser. Be specific or say “historically oppressed” or “marginalized groups.”⁣ ⁣ “differently abled” - This phrase is viewed to avoid directly talking about disability or saying disabled. If you mean disabled or disability just say that. If a person self describes this way that’s okay.⁣ ⁣ “prostitute” - In the 1530’s this word was first used to associate sexuality with shame. In 1607, it was first used in English as an anti-woman insult. If you’re describing a worker in the sex industry just say sex worker.⁣ ⁣ “third world” - Cold War era language that was used to describe countries without alliances. Today it has classist connotations. Be specific and say the country or SPECIFIC REGION EX: “the Global South.”⁣ ⁣ For more lessons like this follow my friends @_languagematters!⁣ ⁣ Full lesson goes up on Patreon on Monday. Sources & image description pinned below ❤️

A post shared by Blair Amadeus Imani (@blairimani) on

This piece by @blairimani demonstrates the importance of being thoughtful and intentional with our language. The words that we use, and the contexts we use them in, are super powerful and can trigger and hurt people. It is therefore crucial that we think about what we say before we say it, especially when we are advocating for people whose experiences are outside our own.

This post by @stillgrowing on toxic positivity is especially crucial in a church context. Although we know that we have been given the greatest gift, and that God’s grace is something to be celebrated, this doesn’t mean we should discount the negative. Whilst the gospel is wonderful news, Jesus was not blind to the suffering around him, and neither can we be.

@i_weigh made a super useful graphic to help us become more aware of where we are on the journey to anti-racism. The post explains the difference between reactive and proactive allyship and provides some really useful tips on how to move to the next stage of our journey.

This graphic by outlines what ableism is, and how people often express this through microaggressions such as assuming that disability means inability and belittling disabled persons. The images help us to check our own behaviour and know what to look out for in others.

@sophjbutler outlines the important problem of a lack of representation in media for disabled persons. She explains how disabled people rarely feature in movies or tv shows, and when they do the roles are often written and played by non-disabled persons, with the disability being the entire focus of the role. She argues that we need better and more accurate representation, and that this would help us have a more healthy understanding of disability. This post helps us to look at movie and tv representation critically and to check those assumptions that this media causes us to have.