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A contingent of advocates from Boone County exercised their civil rights on March 14, rallying with hundreds of others in the state capitol rotunda, and meeting with their legislators afterward. The 17th annual Disability Rights Legislative Day, organized by representatives from 18 disability-related organizations from across the state, is an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity around a common theme — this year “Let Freedom Ring.”
Speakers at the rally included legislators, self-advocates, and a disability rights attorney. Particular focus was on legislation that would revise guardianship law, adding provisions intended to protect the best interest of wards and potential wards; legislation that would promote competitive, integrated employment as a priority service across state agencies that serve people with disabilities; and legislation that would expand Ticket to Work, enhancing safeguards that enable people with high support needs to work without fear of losing HealthNet coverage.
The rally opened with a call for justice in the death of Carl DeBrodie, and closed with a moment of silence.
“I think an important part of the day is meeting with the legislators. They are the ones who make decisions about laws and funding,” says Jason Mize, vice-president of Boone County People First. (Jason is pictured above standing next to Representative Stevens.) “They need to know the people they’re making decisions about. They need to know what is important to us.”
The day was also an opportunity for agency staff to share with legislators about the supports they provide people with disabilities to thrive, connect and achieve in community life and work.