Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago

Why Advocacy is Important to Vincentians

Advocacy as a Vincentian is for the poor

Advocacy as a Vincentian is for the poorA story told by Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M. best explains why advocacy is important for Vincentians.

A villager is walking by the river early one morning. The villager looks out into the water and sees a baby floating down the river. Horrified, the villager races into the water, grabs the baby, and brings the baby to shore. The baby is fine. Relieved, the villager looks back into the water and sees another baby floating down the water. The villager again dives into the water and rescues this baby as well. Once more, the villager looks into the water . . . and sees dozens of babies floating down the river. The villager calls out an alarm, and the entire village comes running to the river to rescue as many babies as they can before the water carries them away.

The village decides to mobilize. Every villager is at the river, trying to save the babies from the water. This is a village that is improving lives. Many of the babies are being saved. But the babies keep on coming, because no one is going upstream to find out who is throwing the babies into the water in the first place.

This story speaks of a need and a person who rose to meet the need over and over again just as we, Vincentians, rise to alleviate the suffering of others. But in our efforts to "End Poverty Through Systemic Change," we must endeavor to ensure that we are not only feeding or teaching to fish but also ensuring that there are policies in place that give our clients a fighting chance.

Whether it is reaching out to our elected official by email or telephone, we all can add our voices for it is through our collective efforts that we can begin making strides in removing the mountainous obstacles that prevent systemic change.