Meital Rosenberg is a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh and also serves as a David Project Intern. During her first training, she learned about personal advocacy and personal narrative. Below is one of the interactions she had and how she used personal advocacy and her own narrative to have a conversation.
As I have engaged in conversations with many people about Israel, both informally and formally, I have realized the effect that my personal narrative can have.
One night my roommate and I were talking to get to know each other better and I was sharing my experience on the Diller Teen Fellows program that took me to Israel for four weeks last summer. I told her about the beaches, the food, and the camp we ran for Ethiopian children. She asked me more questions about my time there and I learned that she was really interested in political science and was considering majoring in it. She asked me to explain the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and I was kind of taken aback.
So I did my best to accurately describe the situation that is so personal to me. I talked about how complex it is and that there are so many different variables. When it came to the actual Israeli-Palestinian tensions, I said that there is so much history and complexities to that relationship. She listened patiently and attentively, not really responding but just absorbing. In the end, I told her that Israel is a country like any other country and having been there so many times, it is hard for me to think about it only in terms of the conflict because it is so much more.
A couple of weeks later she came from class and told me that her seminar in composition class was reading books from the Palestinian perspective on the conflict and they were having a discussion about it in class. She said that a lot of people were saying all these things about the conflict and making anti-Israel remarks. However, she told me that she had said that peace had to come from both sides. I was stunned and overjoyed. How did one conversation stick in her head that much that she would speak out about it in class?
That is when I realized how we all have the power to affect others. That is the power of our voices and of sharing our personal experiences. To this day, my roommate and I continue to talk about Israel and the Middle East as she is also interested in studying the Middle East.
I cannot wait to continue these conversations and leveraging the power of my personal voice to inspire others.
Have you had similar conversations to Meital's? Comment below with your own personal advocacy story!