DSTL Arts – a nonprofit arts mentorship organization that inspires, teaches, and hires emerging artists from underserved communities.
This year is going by so fast. It was just a year ago, when I was initially sharing my vision for Aurtistic Zine with our founder, Luis Pichardo. Now we’ve successfully published one issue, and will be publishing our second issue shortly. It’s unbelievable that we are already accepting submissions for our third zine, which will be Volume II, Issue 1, released at the beginning of next year.
Our theme for this following issue is around Advocacy.I want to clarify what we mean by advocacy, because I fear that some of you may not view yourselves as advocates. You see advocacy isn’t just about being out there in protest, or fighting every battle for all of the injustices we see. Being an advocate can even happen in the small moments.
The definition of an advocate is “a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person”. To self advocate is to “speak up for yourself, when you decided what you want now or in the future, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, developing personal goals, being assertive”. So each time you let someone know what you need or what you want, you are asserting yourself or advocating for yourself. For example each time my son expresses to me that something is too hard for him, he is communicating his need for support and is therefore advocating for himself. Someone can even communicate their needs or advocate for themselves non-verbally. As we know, many individuals on the spectrum have a challenging time with verbal communication, some individuals are non-verbal, but they are still able to express their needs in different ways. Not all communication has to be verbal to be valid. I think of my youngest son, and how he covers his ears to let me know something is too loud, or when he was younger before he spoke , he would tug at me relentlessly to let me know that he wanted something.
And of course advocacy is also about communicating our children’s needs for additional supports or services in their schools or each time we “politely” re-educate someone in public about why our children might be behaving a certain way.
As you look at your own daily actions and those of people around, you will start to see the many ways and reasons in which a person can advocate for themselves and others. We want to hear about your experiences big and small. The challenges you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them. And ultimately the journey you’ve been on in learning how to use your own voice to communicate your needs and your point of view.
The content displayed here is submitted by various local authors, artists, and more, and is curated by the DSTL Arts Art Block Zine–Editorial Board. Works published here are done so with the permission of all artists involved. Artists hold all rights to their work, and none of it may be reproduced without their permission.