Advocacy is a vital part of fighting human trafficking. But, what do we mean by advocacy?
Advocacy is a prophetic activity of the churches, in which we accompany and support our sisters and brothers who struggle mightily for justice and peace in the context of injustice and violence against fellow human beings and the rest of creation.
How can we achieve that? One of the ways can be with storytelling, bringing voices from the grassroots, empowering the most neglected. We know that sending a report or talking on behalf of a person in need is not enough.
Stories have the power to persuade and move people to action. Somebody said that stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone and help make the case for why a policymaker should stand behind a cause.
Telling stories is one of the most powerful means that leaders have to influence, teach, and inspire. What makes storytelling so effective for learning? Storytelling forges connections among people, and between people and ideas. Stories convey the culture, history, and values that unite people. Before all, storytelling gives us an opportunity to learn from another person’s experience and it can shape, strengthen or challenge our opinions and values. When a story catches our attention, and engages us, we are more likely to absorb the message and meaning within it than if the same message was presented and read simply in facts. (SOURCE)
Stories help us feel a greater sense of connection to one another. They can increase our empathy and often help reinforce our highest ideals such as compassion and kindness. Stories are specific – they evoke a very particular time, place, setting, mood, color, sound, texture, taste. Emotions arise the more you can communicate this specificity, the more power your story will have to engage others. This may seem like a paradox, but like a poem or a painting or a piece of music, it is the specificity of the experience that can give us access to the universal sentiment or insight they contain.
With more than 134 million people in need of urgent humanitarian aid today, telling their stories is vital to effectively advocating for change that can alleviate their suffering, help them survive and protect them as they grapple with the formidable challenges of everyday life. How much more effective it is to hear the voice of one of them talking about their experience, telling their own story. Vulnerability and authenticity are key to making a story interesting and memorable but also key to engaging listeners to act. Storytelling is meant to give meaning to the audience, revealing to them a new perspective and giving them the drive to think or act in a new way.
Storytelling works because our brain is wired to remember narrations and is equipped to experience it as its being told. It’s the oldest and most powerful tool to affect change in society. And personal stories detailing the challenges one faces are easier to connect with and bring out our ability to empathize with the storyteller. In this way, stories can influence people and help bring in change.
Written by Sister Michelle Loisel, D.C.