2020 Advocacy Days are Here!

Join the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) at the Georgia State Capitol in downtown Atlanta during the 2020 legislative session to learn about policies affecting people with disabilities, and join advocates from across the state in speaking with elected officials about these very important issues.

Each day will focus on a different topic that affects Georgians with disabilities.

January 29 – Gracie’s Law (Organ Transplant Discrimination)
Gracie’s Law, written to avoid any organ transplant discrimination against people with disabilities in Georgia, will be introduced to the Georgia legislature in January 2020. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) denies discrimination based on any disability, there is still a lack of federal enforcement. (Read more about Gracie’s Law on pages 12-13.)

February 6 – Inclusive Post-Secondary Education (IPSE)
Inclusive college programs across the state offer students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) a variety of experiences and opportunities for growth as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives. With IPSE, students with I/DD can now realize their dream of continuing their studies in a university or college setting with their peers.

February 19 – Home & Community-Based Services
GCDD will always include eliminating the waiting list for NOW and COMP waivers in our policy initiatives until the waitlist in Georgia is ZERO. These waivers allow individuals with developmental disabilities who qualify for an institutional level of care to receive the supports they need to live healthy lives in the community. As of August 2019, 6,048 Georgians with developmental disabilities were on the waiting list for a NOW or COMP waiver. Our advocacy around this very important issue remains as crucial as ever given the proposed state budget cuts and the ZERO waiver slots recommended by DBHDD for Fiscal Year 2021.

February 27 – School-to-Prison Pipeline (SToPP)*
With advocates, GCDD will educate and inform lawmakers to develop and implement a plan to reduce the number of African American males in special education classes who are at risk of being pushed out of school and into the criminal justice system.
The school-to-prison pipeline is the funneling of children from the public schools into the juvenile and criminal justice systems, in part, due to zero-tolerance school discipline policies, disproportionate application of student suspensions, high-stakes testing and administrative practices that adversely affect children of color, poor children and children with learning disabilities. (Read more on pages 18-19.)

March 11 – Employment*
GCDD will work to advance policies that improve competitive, integrated employment options for Georgians with developmental disabilities. These include: prohibiting certificates that currently allow people with disabilities to be paid subminimum wage; increasing the hourly rate of Georgia’s supported employment services; and reallocating funds from day programs rates to supported employment rates, which continue to be well below the national average.

What to Expect Each Advocacy Day
Each day kicks off at 8 AM at the Central Presbyterian Church, across from the Gold Dome (201 Washington St SW, Atlanta, GA 30334), where leaders from GCDD and other organizations will train and teach advocates how to approach legislators, make a connection and discuss the topics that are important to you. After the interactive training, advocates and leaders will head over to the Gold Dome to meet with legislators. Event ends at 12:30 PM.

8:00 AM – Check-In & Breakfast
9:00 AM – Welcome Remarks & Training
10:00 AM – Leave for Capitol
10:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Meet Legislators at the Capitol

All registrants should register on Eventbrite to attend the Advocacy Days of their choice. Organizations and agencies should complete the group registration option.

All registrants need to provide their home address so the GCDD public policy team can identify your district and legislators.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

From what to bring and where to park, GCDD has you covered. Check out the FAQs, and be prepared for a full day of advocacy.

Become an Advocacy Team Lead
Geared at preparing advocates to take a leadership role at the annual advocacy event, team lead volunteers will learn how to navigate the Georgia State Capitol and support attendees in speaking with their legislators. Team leads will earn $100 per each Advocacy Day for which they volunteer. Each individual must complete one training and fulfill all the responsibilities as determined by GCDD’s public policy team.
Sign up to be a Team Lead.