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In this issue of Making a Difference, Karen Addams, Vice President of Innovation at Parent 2 Parent — an Atlanta-based nonprofit that provides resource navigation and training for people with disabilities and their families — discusses the many services that help educate the community and promote self-sufficiency. Continue reading to learn more about the organization and its impact.
Following the end of the Covid-19 pandemic and a strenuous election year, Georgia’s 2023 legislative session was full of profound strides forward as well as unforeseen setbacks for the intellectual disability and developmental disability (ID/DD) community.
I love Advocacy Days. I’m biased because when I previously worked for the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), I had the pleasure of starting Advocacy Days. It was a way to have events that really focused on particular issues, large groups of advocates, but not in the thousands. It gave us a way for advocates to directly connect with their legislators because that is such an important part of the process.
Supported decision-making (SDM) is a tool that allows people with disabilities to retain their decision-making capacity by choosing supporters to help them make choices. A person using SDM selects trusted advisors, such as friends, family members, or professionals, to serve as supporters. Self-advocates John McCarty and Hannah Hibben share their experience of how Supported Decision Making impacts their life and why it’s important.
Hi, I am Marian Jackson and I am from Fitzgerald, GA. I am a state advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and have been for over 20 years. I am also a mother of an adult child with disabilities. I, along with five People First members and others from a small group, advocated for public transportation. We successfully got transportation for not just the disability community but for all people in Fitzgerald.
National Siblings Day, a day that celebrates and strengthens the bond shared by siblings and celebrates siblings’ relationships, is celebrated on April 10th each year. The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) wants to recognize sibling advocates in Georgia. A sibling advocate is a sibling of an individual who has a developmental disability. Often times people think of parents as the caretaker or provider, but siblings have also had to step in and take care of their loved ones for life.
On March 4, 2023, the disability rights movement lost one of its pioneers when Judy Heumann passed away suddenly at the age of 75. Her international fight for rights for people with disabilities spanned her entire life and began at the age of five when she was denied the right to attend school as administration considered her a fire hazard.
Thomas Harkins finds his academic pursuits keep him very busy. “My first class is at 12 o’clock all the way until 12:50. Then my last class is at 2:00 all the way until 2:50. And then after that, I have my tutoring session. So, I usually get home at around five, maybe six o’clock in the evening,” Harkins explains.
“Nobody has a real straight answer of when [the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta (DSAA] started,” laughs Sheryl Arno, executive director of DSAA. “I’ve tried to find out the answers, and if we look at our paperwork, we surmise it’s 1976.”
One of the most effective ways to transcend ideas of equity and justice is through the teachings of those who came before us. A movement is only as strong as the lived experience of its advocates and allies. In the world of disability rights, history has laid a solid foundation, but young people are the key to continued progress.