Thoughts on self-advocacy

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Guest post by Heidi Delaney, Equality Ohio volunteer

Heidi Delaney is a Native American lesbian. She describes herself as courageous, independent, outspoken and strong. Heidi is a poet, has a disability and uses self-advocacy to meet her goals.

Self-advocacy comes from the civil rights movement for people with disabilities. It is an important term in the disability rights movement, and generally refers to a person with disabilities being in control of their own lives, medical decisions, and futures.

There are many daily battles in this world. The best defenses against these battles in this often-harsh world is knowledge, and knowing you are an extraordinary person.

Self-determination will empower you and provide what you need for a successful life. Arming yourself with knowledge and strategies will help your decisions turn in to reality. Self-advocacy is a strategy that I use.

What is self-advocacy?

Learning how to speak up for yourself to make decisions about your own life. Learning how to get access to information that you can use to understand things, like the laws that impact you. Knowing your rights is key.

Why is self-advocacy important?

Self-advocacy is important so that you have the knowledge needed to succeed in life and the tools to achieve your goals.

I will share three self-advocacy strategies I use.

  1. Be proud of being you every day of your life.
  1. Educate yourself every single thing that you are interested in. The important thing is learn how to strategize the best way to achieve every goal that you set and to try to turn them into reality. One tool you can use to figure out your goals is a vision board.
  2. Don’t take a “no” for an answer in your own life journey. There may be setbacks and you may have to try many times to achieve a goal and make it a reality in your life.

On a personal note…

Self-advocacy is standing up against ignorance. Do not forget that you have a brilliant voice, you deserve to be heard, and you can soar above the nonsense of daily obstacles!

To remember this, I repeat a reminder to myself every morning.

That reminder is: Not today! An obstacle won’t bother my focus on following what I need to do to advance in my life.

I will proudly use every opportunity I can to speak my mind for my life and will do so proudly. No obstacle will catch up to me.