Using the Advocacy Spectrum
Economic goods are not the only kind of goods that are subject to considerations of justice; a minimal amount of a wide variety of social and psychological goods is also owed to each member of society as a matter of justice.
J. C. WAKEFIELD (1994, P. 48)
Change never ever, ever comes from the top down.
B. A. MIKULSKI (1982, P. 22)
As agents for change, we need to explore where we want to go and how to get there—ends and means. Therefore, this chapter will cover different types of advocacy available to practitioners. Advocacy and action have been conceptualized here in a variety of ways to illustrate the far-reaching nature and flexibility of these practice tools. Empowerment is a secondary focus. Another purpose of the chapter is to facilitate better communication between micro- and macropractitioners by spotlighting language and leaders of importance to change agents.
The four cornerstones of social work, according to Saleebey (1990, p. 37), are indignation, inquiry, compassion and caring, and social justice. Social workers whose indignation as well as compassion quotients run high are primed for professional advocacy. Hearing about situations like this, we want to do something!
Overcrowding … is a constant feature of schools that serve the poorest. … 11 classes in one school don't even have the luxury of classrooms. They share an auditorium in which they occupy adjacent sections of the stage and backstage areas. … “I'm housed in a coat room, ” says a reading teacher at another school. … “I teach, ” says a music teacher, “in a storage room. … “ The crowding of children into insufficient, often squalid spaces seems … inexplicable. … Images of spaciousness … fill our … music … [children] sing of “good” and “brotherhood from sea to shining sea. ” It is a betrayal of the things that we value when poor children are obliged to sing these songs in storerooms and coat closets. (Kozol, 1991, pp. 158–160)