Winter Issue 2021

2021 Legislative Session: What We Can Expect

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Current Feature Stories

Georgia State Capitol with logo for state of Georgia

Georgia’s 2021 Legislative Session: What We Can Expect

By Alyssa Miller, PsyD
January 11, 2021
As many of you might remember, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) introduced a legislative agenda that focused on “disability in ALL policy” for the first time during Georgia’s 2020 legislative session. Our idea for this type of legislative
Computer image with photo of 4 women with advocacy day logo

Gearing Up for Virtual 2021 Advocacy Days

By Charlie Miller
January 11, 2021
Hello, advocates! We are so excited to be preparing for another legislative session. Slated to begin on January 11, the session will go for 40 non-consecutive days, which marks the start of a new biennial legislative session. What’s New With
Collage of pictures of families

Coalition of Family Advocates Is Newest Initiative to Kick Off 2021

By Jennifer Bosk
January 11, 2021
When family members of people with disabilities join forces, they work to promote and protect the best interests of their loved ones, making sure their voices are heard and their rights are protected. Seeing more and more families become active

GCDD Viewpoint

Eric Jacobson picture

Eric E. Jacobson
Executive Director, GCDD

Hello 2021!

I am sure we are all happy to see 2020 leave and a new year begin. We have seen a virus take over our daily lives. Many Americans protested in the streets as Black men have been murdered by the police. People lost their jobs as restaurants and shops closed. And we experienced the most divided presidential election ever. It was a year of unprecedented strain, and I, for one, am glad it is over!

Current Topics

Columbus State Helps Students with I/DD Reach GOALS

By Clay Voytek
January 11, 2021
Amid the pandemic, college students in Columbus, GA still need to connect. One might be playing Dungeons & Dragons on a Zoom call, another exercising independently during a group FaceTime. Some of these students have intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD),

How Self-Advocates Build Relationships with Legislators

By Uniting for Change Collective Leadership Team
January 11, 2021
Uniting for Change continues to grow the self-advocacy movement in Georgia by staying connected during the pandemic and learning more about how to build relationships with legislators so that our voices are heard. Since the pandemic, Uniting for Change has

What’s Happening in Washington?

By Alison Barkoff and Erin Shea
January 11, 2021
It’s been a busy few months, with ongoing advocacy with Congress and federal agencies while simultaneously preparing for a new administration and Congress that begins in January. Below we provide a few key updates and lay out expected priorities for

How COVID-19 Affected People with Disabilities and Direct Support Professionals

By GCDD
January 11, 2021
Erin Rachel Vinoski Thomas, PhD, MPH, Director of Health and Wellness at Georgia State University’s Center for Leadership in Disability, sat down with Making A Difference to share the findings of her research on how COVID-19 affected people with disabilities

Statewide Disability Organizations Form New Network

By GCDD
January 11, 2021
The Georgia Developmental Disabilities Network (GDDN) is a consortium of 15 Georgia disability-focused organizations that are committed to connecting people with resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. Launched at the beginning of the pandemic in Spring 2020, GDDN has hosted monthly

Real Communities Transitions to Welcoming Community Movement Fund

By Jennifer Bosk
January 11, 2021
Ten years ago, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) launched its Real Communities Partnership (RCP) initiative to equip community members at the local, grassroots level to work together toward common goals to improve their community. Now being led by

The Mayor of Lithonia

By Shannon Turner
January 11, 2021
When Tira Harper walks into the small, square building that serves as Lithonia’s City Hall, everyone knows who he is. Even before he gets there, when Tira tells his colleagues he’s going, they joke and say, “Tira, you’re the mayor!”

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