Taking the conversation deeper

“People really want to tell their stories”, explained longtime volunteer Sudie. “That is what was most evident to me over the two days that we interviewed people for our recent advocacy campaign concerning hygiene services in our city. People want to tell their stories, they want to make change, and they want to have some say in what that change is. At the beginning of the project, I was nervous—how do you interview someone by asking them where they go to the bathroom? It seems so personal. But the people that we interviewed understood the issue and they understood why we would ask that question. In the city, when you go to Bart or you go to Muni, you see excrement on the street, but when you come to St. Anthony’s you see people—and someone who told just you their story might have been the one who left that on the street—but it’s not because they wanted to.”

“I was a teacher for many years, and school politics are hard—everything is black and white. Someone once said to me many years ago, “Sudie, you always see the grey” and that is what you have to do. You can’t just look at the black or white of any issue. You can’t assume that you understand someone’s reason for doing what they do. You don’t know their backstory—and that’s what the advocacy committee is really working on—it’s about stories, it’s about backstories, it’s about taking the conversation deeper. We need to make the effort to really understand what these people are going through.”

Volunteering with our advocacy committee is a powerful way to join the conversation about poverty and homelessness in our city. It is an opportunity to be a part of making the changes that we all want to see in our communities. For more information, check out our advocacy page or contact Emily Salvaterra at esalvaterra@stanthonysf.org.