Action at the Capitol: Take Note! We Vote!
Posted on April 12, 2012 by Rachele King, Paraquad Intern
On Wednesday, April 4th, over 100 participants and advocates traveled from Paraquad in St. Louis to Jefferson City for the 11th Annual Disability Rights Legislative Day, to voice our concerns about our civil rights. When we arrived there were over 500 individuals from the disability community chanting with pride, “Take Note, We Vote!”
There were two rallies held that day that included speakers such as Governor Jay Nixon, Senators Jolie Justus, Scott Rupp, & Eric Schmitt. Representatives Jeff Grisamore, Jason Kander, Sara Lampe, Rick Stream, & Zachary Wyatt also spoke about supporting disability rights. Roger Crome of People First of Missouri finished out the day speaking about the importance of keeping up our advocacy efforts, as a united community, even after Legislative day ends.
We each have the power to let our voice be heard; we each matter. We arrived that morning knowledgeable, capable and motivated to discuss our personal stories on how the legislation affects us in our everyday lives. Missourians with disabilities and advocates had the opportunity to meet with their Senators and Representatives to voice their beliefs and suggest to legislators how to better serve people with disabilities in the community.
This day was an opportunity for individuals to meet their legislators who make policy decisions that affect our everyday lives. Legislators made time to meet their constitutes and also be educated on the needs in our community. Many were busy, but were able to have a conversation with us to hear our opinions and concerns. It was a chance to let the legislators hear that if certain legislation passes, how it will help or hinder people with disabilities. Some legislative topics discussed included: Funding for Home & Community Based Services, Healthcare for People on Blind Pension, Voter Identification requirements, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Bill of Rights, and the Circuit breaker tax credit program.
Participants who were initially uneasy and unsure about speaking with their legislators had great experiences, leaving them empowered and feeling like they had actually been heard! Some of Paraquad’s Community Advocates felt that the event was very well organized and despite having difficulty with making contact with legislators in the past, they were optimistic this year and confidently spoke with their legislators. On April 4, 2012, the disability community was able to come together to allow legislators to visibly see the strength, power and capability of the disability voice – and I believe they did Take note!
Thank you to everyone for attending! It is your passion to fight for disability rights that keeps the disability rights movement strong.
See photographs from the day on Paraquad’s Facebook page, and friend us while you're at it.