In order to create a more just society being an active citizen and engaging with our community is foundational. By engaging with our community we are able to move from a member of the society to a citizen that seeks to better our community at a foundational level.
Active Citizenship Continuum
As we grow as leaders we start to see that there are a variety of ways to engage with our community. Some tangible ways to become an active citizen is through volunteering, advocacy, and voting.
Being educated about your community, state and country is foundational to be an informed and active citizen. Below are a few resources to learn more.
“The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy.” Former Congressman John Lewis
To find more resources about voting check out UA Turbo.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. It is time for you to make a plan! How will you be voting?
The mission of Crossroads Civic Engagement Center, an initiative of the Division of Community Affairs, is to develop engaged citizens for the State of Alabama and the world. We do this through teaching, research, and service focused on four civic pillars: values, knowledge, skills, and action.
The Crossroads Civic Engagement Center’s vision is of a University that develops the civic capacity of its students and its community partners in ways that foster a thriving democratic society at the Capstone and beyond.
Effective dialogue about the toughest civic topics of the day takes skills and practice. The following tools will get you started with the fundamentals of Campus Dialogues.
By advocating for issues that we care deeply about we are able to support those in our community and elevate their voice if it is not being heard. Advocacy can take many forms ranging from contacting elected officials to educating your friends and family about a specific issue. Advocacy is important because it can raise awareness, influence and change policies, and give voice to individuals and issues that have been silenced.
Types of Advocacy
Self-advocacy refers to an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights.
In individual advocacy a person or group of people concentrate their efforts on just one or two individuals. According to the group Advocacy for Inclusion “Advocacy is having someone to stand beside you if you think something is unfair or that someone is treating you badly and you would like to do something to change it.”
There are two common forms of individual advocacy – informal and formal advocacy. When people like parents, friends, family members or agencies speak out and advocate for vulnerable people this is termed informal advocacy. Formal advocacy more frequently involves organizations that pay their staff to advocate for someone or for a group of individuals.
Systems advocacy is about changing policies, laws or rules that impact how someone lives their life. These efforts can be targeted at a local, state, or national agency. The focus can be changing laws, or simply written or unwritten policy. What is targeted depends on the type of problem and who has authority over the problem.
Forms of Advocacy
- Create and Disseminate an Awareness and Education Campaign
- Email & Letter Writing Campaigns to Elected Officials
- Social Media Campaign
- Call and Engage with Elected Officials
- Create and Sign Petitions
- Organize and Mobilize a base of people passionate about the issue
- Collaborate and Build a Coalition
- Write an Op-Ed
- Schedule meetings with the decision makers
- Run for Office