The Uniting for Change Leadership Collective came together for a retreat in early November in North Georgia called the Power of Resilience. We worked together, about 45 of us, to build fires inside of our hearts, and our minds, and between us, so that we would have the strength to carry on and strengthen the self-advocacy movement in Georgia.
This event was made possible with a lot of thoughtful planning and willingness of all participants to safeguard our time and space together. Everyone was vaccinated against COVID-19 and tested negative before arriving.
We spent an afternoon reviewing what it means to be part of this Leadership Collective; the expectations, our commitment and responsibility. We discussed and defined the role of each self-advocate as part of the Leadership Collective and as a Committee Member (Impact and Engagement Committee, Outreach Committee and Education Committee) within this Collective. We accomplished this in large and small groups together with allies and supporters. Everyone committed to this work because we are all clear we are stronger together.
The role of the Impact Committee is to provide resources to educate self-advocates across the state about the importance of being at the table and speaking up, communicating with local elected officials and state leaders in government, while providing input to state and local agency representatives. The Impact Committee’s goals for this legislative session includes a letter writing campaign to:
- Seek funding for a full array of transportation services throughout the state to support employment and meaningful community opportunities and activities.
- Increase affordable housing options that support more independent living.
- Create waiver service definitions that provide flexibility of service provision in order to build provider capacity.
The Impact Committee continues to be concerned about voting rights, accessibility for all, and the impact of re-districting within the state. Uniting for Change will continue to provide information to the legislature and the public with issues and concerns that arise around voting in the state.
In 2022, the Leadership Collective of Uniting for Change will focus on growing local area networks of self-advocates and allies and supporters by creating awareness, interest, participation, commitment and leadership within the self-advocacy movement. These networks will move the priorities of change forward with voices that will RISE UP and SPEAK OUT!