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Living Proof Blog
Advocates’ stories–and the insights they share about their advocacy–are a central part of Living Proof. We’ve highlighted a few here in the Living Proof blog, like
- Kristin Brumm‘s advocacy against domestic violence
- Zach Wahls‘ personal plea for marriage equality
- LeDerick Horne‘s spoken word poetry on behalf of others with learning disabilities
- Gayathri Ramprasad‘s fight against the stigma of mental illness and
- Lawrence Stallworth II‘s work on the President’s Advisory Council for HIV/AIDS
Here are a few more of the advocates and their stories you’ll read about in the new edition of Living Proof, due out in just one week:
Becky Blanton went from living in her van in a Walmart parking lot to telling her story on the stage of TED.com: “The speed at which I went from being a talented writer and journalist to being a homeless woman, living in a van, took my breath away.”
Carey Christensen came forward with her experience of Parkinson’s Disease because she didn’t hear patient’s voices in the advocacy discourse. Now she’s a patient advocate for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research: “We have our own voices and we have our own stories to tell, and I am not going to let my caregiver tell it and I am not going to let the head of some foundation tell it. I am going to tell it.”
Derek Cotton, cancer survivor, didn’t think he had a story to tell when he was approached by Gilda’s Club Twin Cities. “My first response was, ‘I don’t think I’m your guy. I don’t have this fantastic story to tell. I don’t have anything dramatic to say.’ I had cancer. I got better.”
Theresa Greenleaf, mom of a child with severe allergies, was asked by the school nurse to share her experiences with other parents: “What I really wanted to do was … to share the moment of nearly losing my child—to have them reflect on the reality of this situation.”
Read these and other stories in the new, expanded edition of Living Proof–and learn to tell your own.
Since speaking publicly in local high schools about his HIV-positive status only a few months after his diagnosis at age seventeen, Lawrence Stallworth II has addressed college students, doctors, and legislators, the United Nations and the United States Conference on AIDS. Now—at twenty-three—he’s the youngest member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
“Pointing to the Positive” is one of the five qualities of a well-told advocacy story we explore in Living Proof and in our advocacy workshops. Mental health advocate Gayathri Ramprasad recently provided a powerful example of this essential quality in her TEDx talk, “Be the Hope.”
This is the fifth and final post in the series “Moving from Silence to Story,” exploring the space between the private and the public spheres.
Standing on the threshold between private and public, you may find yourself debating internally whether or not you should speak. This internal debate deserves attention: It may be about protection.
Here are two entries we’ve received for “Where’s Your Living Proof?” Kristin and Stephanie’s favorite nonprofits are now in the running to receive an end-of-the-year gift. (Yours could be, too. Tell us how you’re using Living Proof to enter!)
“I’ve shared my story of living with domestic violence via blogging for many years, but I am now beginning to share my story in person with a variety of audiences. I’ve used Living Proof to help me determine the best way to tailor my story and message for each audience, whether I am talking with victims in a shelter, advocates at a conference or potential donors. Writing is a much more comfortable and natural medium for me than public speaking, so the book has proved valuable in helping me feel more confident in speaking publicly about my personal experiences and insights.” — Kristin
“Living Proof has become one if the essential tools that I provide all of the self-advocates I train. Whether they are just learning to advocate for themselves or if they are tackling a bigger issue on behalf of others, building the foundation through telling our personal stories is essential. Even if you never use your story in public, you must know it to know where you fit and how you connect with the world around you.” –Stephanie
“People tell stories not just to work out their own changing identities, but also to guide others who will follow them. They seek not to provide a map that can guide others—each must create his own—but rather to witness the experience of reconstructing one’s own map….” – Arthur W. Frank