In November, Uniting for Change held a State and Area Leadership Collective retreat in Macon with 80 people attending. During this retreat, we set priorities for 2024 within each workgroup of the four Local Area Networks, and as the Statewide Leadership Collective. We decided that we will focus on legislative advocacy in each of our three workgroups: Impact and Engagement, Education, and Outreach/Public Relations.
As a part of this retreat, Uniting for Change wrote and sent a letter to all of our state legislators, sharing our legislative priorities for 2024 and again requesting they move the “NOW and COMP Waiver Rate Study” forward to provide the necessary support for increasing wages paid to our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs).
We will continue this advocacy throughout the legislative session as we schedule in-person meetings, produce and distribute videos, request legislators join us as guests on our weekly Community Strong virtual sessions, and provide workshops for self-advocates throughout Georgia to discuss our impact, legislative action, and why it is important.
Why is legislative advocacy important for self-advocates? Read what many of our Uniting for Change Leadership Collective advocates have to say!
“It’s important for people with disabilities to speak up for others who can’t speak up for themselves.” – Dorothy Harris, Fitzgerald, GA
“So we can all be positive and work together.” – Carla Gleesin, Macon, GA
“We all have rights and make our own decisions and we want to be heard.” – Susan Berch, Atlanta, GA
“The laws provide a springboard for change.” – John McCarty, Roswell, GA
“We need to let these legislators know who we are, where we are, and what we need. Without our voice, who are we?” – Derek Heard, Albany, GA
“It’s important to have a personal relationship with legislators so our needs are addressed.” – LJ Young, Atlanta, GA
“Good for legislators to hear from self-advocates directly.” – Gina DiPolito, Statesboro, GA
“Because our voices need to be heard and respected and that is why Uniting for Change is a place where we can make that happen.” – Kristian Sherman, Dawson, GA
“Our voices need to be heard so that people can hear our stories and hear what is unique about us and how we can share with others.” – Rebecca Fearnow, Crawford, GA
Uniting for Change looks forward to supporting all self-advocates across the state of Georgia to use their voices to rise up and speak out while the legislators are in session in 2024. Remember the legislative session starts in January so don’t wait to set up a time to meet with your legislator or write to them. We have resources to help you find your legislators and other advocacy tips on our website at www.uniting4change.org.