Advocacy is not Complex

Shane Andrews

My Essay

The word “advocate” is intimidating to most. “How do you advocate for common sense safety for yourself and others?” The majority of people don’t know what to say to such a question. They think advocating requires being the ones on TV shouting for a cause. I’ve always found this common line of thinking absolutely striking. I’ve just never understood it because being an advocate is one of the most simple things you can do. Being an advocate is merely standing up for what is right, your core values. What are we as a society without standing up for what is right? Advocating for a cause does not require attending rallies, protests, fundraisers, or even being interviewed on television. Advocating starts from the bottom up, in discussion with friends, family, and those around you. In regards to drunk driving, I would say grassroots advocating is more effective than anything else one can do. The fight for such a cause happens in real-time, in conversation, in actions, in social media posts. Today more than ever, kids have the power to drive change by simply demonstrating and telling what is right and just. The fight against drunk driving isn’t a phenomenon existing in a far-away world, or something you read about in the paper. This is something that could and does happen at parties with friends, gatherings with extended family, or even in the home you live. This idea is something most people forget, or choose to ignore. Drunk driving affects us all. It is a cause the requires constant advocating. A stranger’s selfish decision to drive while under the influence radically alters innocent people’s lives. According to the United States Department of Transportation, a staggering 10,000 lives are lost per year due to drunk driving. That is not fair nor just, and yet we struggle with this terrible issue all too often. This is why every chance you get, every time you see it, you must act. Teenagers and adults are constantly drinking alcohol and thinking they are ok to get behind the wheel of a car. When confronted, they argue and become belligerent. Many times they are so convincing, people back down. This is when your advocacy must jump into action. As an advocate you sometimes are unpopular. Take the keys from a friend, you are being a better friend than you know. Insist the brother-in-law spend the night, I promise he’ll survive the inconvenience. Nothing is worth losing a loved one, and nothing is worth letting a loved one make a horrific choice. Nothing. The most common thing I hear when I take a stand against drunk driving from those I confront is “How could you possibly be making a difference in the community by just stopping me?” This question only has but one answer; you are the community. Communities are made up of families just like yours and mine. We must work together as a collective group of individuals if we wish to solve anything. A problem such as drunk driving requires exactly this; and is exactly why I’m hopeful for the future. I believe in my own ability to inspire those around me, to foster change among groups. I have this same faith placed in my community as well, because change starts with each and every one of us having such a mindset.

About Me

While it didn’t feel like it, 4 years has flown by. In those years, I pride myself in accomplishing some things that are representative of my character and very important to me. I am a four time varsity lettering athlete for both Cross Country and Track and Field. I was a 4 year All-League runner and voted Captain by my teammates and coaches for senior year. I was a recipient of the 500 mile club award, which is something I truly value and believe shows just how dedicated I am to a goal. While I love participating in these things and achieving at a high level, I also knew how important being a good student was. I have completed 4 AP college classes, receiving college credit for each one. I have received an AP Scholar with Honor Award from the CollegeBoard organization. I am also a four time recipient of the Scholar-Athlete award for maintaining an honor roll GPA while involved in varsity sports. I am a member of the Model UN club, the Hip Hop heads club, and the Sports Debate club at my school. I advocate for and participate in numerous charity runs around my area, such as the SJ5k, Ryan Shay Midsummer night run, and Michigan Dune Dash. I have proven to those around me that I’m a leader, reliable, and goal-oriented