Penny Condoll, Craig Sicilia, and Mark Stroh started a conversation the other day that we would now like to invite others to join. We were talking about ways to increase the influence of people with disabilities with the Washington Legislature and the entities that are charged with providing supports and services to people with disabilities. We were noting a couple of things. First, several disability communities seem to be significantly underrepresented in Olympia when policies and funding levels are being decided. Second, we need to find better ways of holding service and support providers accountable. We are thinking it is not enough just have the opportunity to speak. We want the participation of people with disabilities to make a difference in the way supports and services are provided.
Because these three believe so strongly in individuals being in charge of their advocacy direction ("nothing about us without us"), there are many paths this advocacy committee may take. A couple initial ideas include:
· Focus on increasing participation in the mental health and traumatic brain injury communities – two groups that could need to dramatically increase their presence in Olympia.
· Focus on increasing participation and cross collaboration in disability communities that have similar needs, such as cognitive, neurological, and mental health which we feel are also underrepresented.
· Create an open cross disability focus on specific outcomes. An example might be a committee that has a special focus of increasing chore hours for undeserved disability communities or improving transportation services for individuals with disabilities.
We decided that that was a decision for a larger group. We are inviting you as you have demonstrated a desire to make a difference in the support and services of people whose lives are affected by a disability.
So we decided to expand our group somewhat and continue the conversation. We’re holding a conference call for that purpose on October 7 from 11:00 to 1:00 for that purpose. We hope you will join us.
· Introductions of those participating on the call
· The purpose of the call (Penny and/or Craig)
· Discussion: What direction do we want this advocacy effort to take?
· Discussion: Who do we want to be a part of this effort?
· Discussion: Next Steps
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