Don’t be a Sweatshirt

Today I am wearing a sweatshirt. This may not sound like breaking news to the average college student, but I have not worn a sweatshirt in public in three years. Sweatshirts are the epitome of coziness and I have selected to keep that in the confines of my home. However today began bright and early with a breakfast at sunrise and in the scrambling of getting out the door on time, I grabbed the first item in the closet. So today I am wearing a sweatshirt.

What relevance does this have to advocacy? Genocide? Refugees? As I sat brainstorming for this blog truly in awe of the comforts provided by my sweatshirt, the phrase, “Don’t be a sweatshirt” kept coming to mind. Sweatshirts envelop with passivity and ease. In America we have the privilege to be cognizant of what’s going on in the world, yet we so often are either dismissive or paralyzed.

Effective, ethical and responsible advocacy listens collaborates and shares. It meets and treats the immediate needs (symptoms) while simultaneously addresses systemic issues perpetuating the needs (virus).

The initial desire for any form of advocacy is rooted in the value of human life. I believe part of why our society has lost its passion and intentionality for advocacy is because we have lost the depth of valuing human life. My personal beliefs come from the Bible which states in Genesis 1:27 that every human is made in the image and likeness of God. Whether that’s your belief or not, every human life has a beating heart and significant worth.

Changing our perspective to more deeply value human life has powerful implications personally and for advocacy. Instead of adopting the dismissive sweatshirt mentality, we adopt the mentality described by T.S Elliot which states, “Now that I have seen, I am responsible.” Ghandi says, “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”

Nicole Clanton


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