We all feel horrible and shocked when we see those terrible images on the news: victims of war and poverty, people stricken with AIDS unable to get the medicine they need, refugees forced to live in camps because their homeland is no longer safe. Many of us never go beyond feeling sorry for these people, but no matter how distant and large the problem is, we can all find a way to do something.
Advocacy means getting involved in shaping the policies and practices that shape the world. Whether this involves writing your congressperson or spreading the word about injustice, there are ways to get involved to try and change things.
One excellent resource is Catholic Relief Services (www.crs.org). CRS is actively involved in the Global Community, working to address the root principles of poverty, conflict and marginalization according to the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching. They also have several resources for those who want to get involved. At the CRS advocacy page (http://crs.org/get_involved/advocacy/index.cfm) you can find out what CRS is doing to improve the situations you hear about on the nightly news and how you can help. The also have a really good newsletter, The Advocate (to sign up to receive it click on this link: http://actioncenter.crs.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ac_advocate) which provides monthly updates and news laid out in a clear format.
Advocacy is a great way to get involved. Whether or not what you do makes a huge change in the world, it is part of our Christian responsibility to try. We have been truly blessed and to whom much is given, much is expected.