The Struggle of Advocacy

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The Struggle of Advocacy By: Lauren Alexander - Photo by Sonja Lippman

What does it mean to be an advocate?
What does it mean
To be
An advocate?

It means using all my energy and effort
To fight for something so fiercely
It scares me sometimes

It means
I work and I work and I work
Hoping and praying for an outcome
I may never get to see

It means that sometimes I ask myself:

Why is this the burden I inherit?
Why is this the price I pay
To inhabit a body like mine?
Why must being different
Always come at a cost?

I once believed I made a choice
A choice to speak up for myself and for others
A choice to educate, a choice to empower
A choice
To engage in this constant battle

But now I wonder
Did I choose?

If I think back to when it all began
When I realized
My words are powerful
My opinions are valuable
My ideas are indispensable

And I realized
My voice needs to be heard
My struggle needs to be shared
To create change

Is it possible that I also realized
I needed to do this to survive?

But now I am part of something bigger
I speak up
For those who are silenced
I rise up
For those who are beaten down
If you cannot fight for yourself
I will fight for you

And so
When all is said and all is done
I know
I must continue on my way

And I will
I promise
I’m just so tired

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Lauren Alexander is a member of the class of 2023 at Tampa Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida. She loves singing and is a part of her school’s honors choir. She is also passionate about advocating for people with disabilities. In her free time, you can usually find Lauren reading or singing whatever Broadway song comes to mind.
Accompanying photo: “Resilient” by Sonja Lippman