News and Photos from Legislative Advocacy Day
The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council) annual Legislative Advocacy Day, hosted May 8th in the Statehouse Atrium in Columbus, welcomed more than 350 advocates and self-advocates who were there to get their voices heard on key issues. In addition to a short introductory program, attendees were provided helpful information to prepare for scheduled visits with legislators on subjects such as the Employment First initiative (Senate Bill 316) and Visitability (House Bill 332).
DODD Director John Martin spoke to the group noting that a favorite poem of his, “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost, came to mind as he mulled over the material for his presentation.
“By pursuing the Employment First initiative, we are, indeed, taking the road less-traveled. For the road well-traveled leads to a sheltered workshop, and that ‘fork in the road’ can take us to competitive employment, Director Martin said. “It’s what we do at this ‘fork in the road’ that’s important, and that’s we all are here to talk about today.”
Employment First (See Pipeline, March 28, 2012) will, among other things, require Individual Service Plans (ISPs) to include a goal of competitive, integrated employment - a job working beside people without disabilities and making a similar wage. And, Visitability describes making a home or other facility more accessible for people with disabilities, especially those who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids.
Legislative Advocacy Day was hosted by the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, along with the Ohio Association of County Boards, Ohio Legal Rights Service, Ohio Provider Resource Association, Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council, Autism Society of Ohio, University of Cincinnati UCEDD; LEND Students, and many others. The AXIS Center for Public Awareness worked in collaboration with DD Council to develop and host the event.
Having their voices heard.
Renee Wood (center) and husband Floris, (left) speak with Chuck Beatty.
Renee is the DD Council Chairperson this year, and Chuck is a longtime advocate and advisor to Ohio’s developmental disabilities community.
Even Mark’s tie can be heard!
Mark Seifarth, former DODD Legislative Liaison, current member of Ohio DD Council, and Legislative Affairs Specialist at the National Council on Disability in Washington D.C., sports a colorful Noah’s Ark tie, and relates it to the subject at-hand, noting,
“We’re all in the same boat. Let’s work together to have our voices heard!”
Lets’ get together and talk with Senator Schaffer!
Enthusiastic participants gather in the right rear area of the Statehouse Atrium to speak with Senator Tim Schaffer about employment and community access for all citizens.