Reading fuels my advocacy, here's why.
I’m RuthAnn, and I am a bookworm! I always read multiple books at a time, my list of books to be read is so long that I will never complete it, and I can’t stop myself from recommending books to people. My love of reading fuels my Dressember advocacy because I am naturally enthusiastic about books, and that enthusiasm creates pathways for other conversations.
Here are 3 ways that my favorite hobby has helped me grow as an advocate:
1. Reading helps me learn more about modern slavery
The biggest personal gain from reading is growing my knowledge about human trafficking. Through reading, I’ve learned about the connection between poverty, violence, and human trafficking and I’ve read the true stories of people who were in slavery. It makes for tough reading, but it helps me speak more articulately about why this cause is so important to me. As I read true stories from people who were in slavery, my purpose and intention as an advocate increases!
2. Books are an accessible way to enter into a tough topic like human trafficking
It’s difficult to start a conversation about modern slavery, and it’s understandable that it can make people uncomfortable. It’s much easier to say, “I’m reading a really interesting book right now,” and then talk about what I’m learning or what’s surprising me. I’m quick to mention if it’s a difficult story for me to read, because that is a natural reaction to the often unspeakable crimes within modern slavery. I’m also very honest about what I’m struggling to understand or if I come in with little knowledge in a certain area. Being an advocate doesn’t mean we know all the answers; it just means we are willing to engage in the conversation and raise awareness.
3. Connecting with other bookworms is a natural opportunity to advocate
I’ve found that other people who naturally seek out their next read are always curious about what others are reading and how they chose it. Through social media, I’m able to share my love of reading and advocate against modern slavery through books about human trafficking. Readers LOVE getting book recommendations, so I suggest my top 3 titles all the time. If you read any of these, I would love to hear your thoughts!
The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence, by Gary Haugen: This in-depth adult nonfiction book uses statistics and case studies to show the connections between poverty, lack of physical safety, and human trafficking.
Sold, by Patricia McCormick: This young adult novel follows Lakshmi, a 13-year-old from Nepal who is sold into prostitution over the border in India. This book is recommended for mature YA readers (8th grade and up).
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, by Katherine Boo: This nonfiction adult book is written by a journalist who lived in the slums of Mumbai for several years to report about the intertwined lives of people living in a neighborhood called Annawadi.
We recently launched our second annual book. This year’s title: A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah is a fascinating and eye opening read. I hope you’ll join me in conversation as we learn and discuss. We’ll grow in our advocacy together!