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  • Sarah McArthur

Thriving in Activism

My name is Ana. I am honored to be given the space to write about my advocacy and activism experience over the 16 days of activism. I have been a domestic violence and sexual assault advocate and activist for 25 years. As so many of us are, I am also a survivor with my own stories of trauma and healing. I had to leave the fold for a while to heal myself and help to heal my family. I am honored to be able to share what I wish I’d known before doing this incredible work, what I’ve learned, and what I would like you to know so that you don’t end up at the end of your capacity before you are ready to leave. We work in many different worlds in our activism work. I believe that we HAVE to learn to take care of ourselves and balance the work we are doing with living the life we have in front of us. Our work is a part of that life but not all of it.

No one leaves the work that they love and believe in because they want to. Although, we all hope our work will no longer be necessary because the issues that drive our work have been resolved. I have a deep respect for those who have been able to stay in the work to complete their careers. Far too many have had to leave to recover from deep and complicated burnout and/or trauma.

Most of us understand that the work we do is long-term and the change we would love to see right now is going to be incremental. So, how do we find the balance and still advocate for vulnerable people (advocacy) and bring people together to recreate the systems that harm those people (activism)?

Over the coming days, I will be sharing the good, the bad, the ugly, and the healing that I have both witnessed and experienced in my time doing the work. I will share what worked, what didn’t, what I believe we need to change, and finally, some warning signs to look for that your organization as a whole is in burnout.

Thank you for holding the space to hear me. Take what works for you, let go of what doesn’t, and know that each of us has our own stories, our own healing, experience, and working journey. I hope you find some advice in the next couple of weeks that helps you intentionally walk that journey in strength, power, love, and compassion for those you serve and for yourself.

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