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[D&I] Service Learning/Advocacy: Tahanie Talks Back

Ellen Park

Tahanie Talks Back was a service event presented by Cornell’s Advocacy Project. This workshop educated me about advocacy and helped me learn how to advocate for others in an articulate and powerful way. There are so many injustices that are present in the justice system of the United States that are exacerbated for people of color. My assumptions about advocacy and speaking up for others were not necessarily changed; however, I did become more cognizant about the importance of advocacy.

There was a lot of engagement from participants at this workshop, including practicing what we learned with others in breakout rooms. One quote that particularly resonated with me was “to me, advocacy is the knowledge of humanity of those around you”. This quote really helped me realize that there is so much oppression due to hierarchal systems and power imbalances present.

Throughout this workshop, I found a lot of strengths that I have as well as many weaknesses. I believe that because I am more inclined to reach out and communicate about people, I have been able to learn about so many diverse cultures, traditions, values, and beliefs that my peers and acquaintances have. My amicable personality has definitely helped me embrace diversity and allowed me to have an open mind when faced with difficult and uncomfortable conversations. One weakness that I realized within myself was the difficulty of holding other people accountable for detrimental actions that they do. This weakness exacerbates the implicit biases that exist within our society. Another weakness that I have is not realizing the amount of privilege that I have as an individual and especially not using this privilege to be able to stand up for others.

This workshop was extremely meaningful because learning how to be a successful advocate for others is essential in everyone’s personal, academic, and professional lives. The takeaways from this workshop can be applied anywhere and everywhere and helped me become a better advocate and demonstrate allyship for others.

I see an opportunity for both community partnership and further engagement with this cause because I believe that speaking up for those who are being discriminated against is so, so important. Within our society today, there are so many macro aggressions and micro aggressions that exist that may be internalized by individuals due to the frequency in which they appear.