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NATCA Scholarship Winner Karissa Davila’s Essay on Advocacy

Every year, NATCA offers a scholarship program for spouses, children, stepchildren, and legally adopted children of active, retired, and deceased members in good standing for at least two consecutive years. This scholarship is for full-time attendance at accredited colleges and universities within the United States and its territories for an undergraduate degree program.

Unions empower people to negotiate together and advocate for better conditions and policies on local, state, and national levels, working to achieve a brighter future for everyone. For 2022, students were asked to write in response to the prompt: “What is the difference between a group of people advocating for a cause versus one person speaking up for something they feel strongly about?”

Karissa Davila, child of David Davila (Houston Center, ZHU) is among this year’s 20 winners of a $1,000 scholarship. Below is the essay that Karissa submitted.

Jemiya Jacob once wrote, “If we wait for others to take action on our behalf, we’ll be waiting a lifetime. But if we change our mindset to a mindset of hope and faith in what’s just then nothing is stopping us.” If you ask almost any person, they will tell you that in order to advocate for something, you have to have two things in mind. You must be passionate and hopeful for the cause, and you must be proactive in the change that you want to see. If you are passionate and proactive, then you have the drive and motivation to initiate change. Some people believe that one person doing this won’t make a difference in the world. They would be sorely mistaken. Although advocacy groups can have an easier time reaching people, a single person’s words can still touch the lives of many. 

Oftentimes it starts with one person being the spark that lights the fire. A person speaking up for a cause that is close to their hearts can reach far more people than one might think. With the number of Americans on social media platforms growing by almost 10 million between the years 2020 and 2021, the ability to reach a large group of people, even by oneself, is profound. That person can be an inspiration to spark so many more people to join them in advocating for whatever their cause may be. 

Advocacy groups, however, are inherently different from just one person speaking up about a topic. As mentioned earlier, there only needs to be one person to spark the fire of change. Once a person’s voice is heard, more people can join in advocating for the cause. Because of the strength that there is in numbers, advocacy groups have a larger and more broad reach to the world. With advantages like the ability to rally, petition, or simply come together in support of people who need it, mountains can be moved. 

In order to understand advocacy groups, you must first understand where they come from. One person speaking up is likely to be the beginning of a great change. After all, there would be no advocacy groups if there were no people standing up and initiating the change they would like to see. Although it is only one person, we must always listen to those brave people who use their words to stand up for their beliefs and take them seriously. To overlook them would simply be foolish. That spark that they have can catch on and spread like wildfire, creating a fire that is unable to be ignored. 

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