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What is self advocacy?

  • Expecting to be treated with respect.  This includes having equal opportunities to be independent, productive, and included in your communities.
  • Speaking up if you are not treated with respect
  • Knowing your rights and taking action if your rights are not respected
  • Sharing your accomplishments to encourage and inspire others
  • Supporting others to advocate for themselves
  • Creating a life that you want.  

 
“I like giving people a voice.  Advocating for others is my passion.” 
                                                                       — Michael, Self Advocate

Throughout the North Bay there are many self advocacy groups and individual self advocates.  Three times a year, self advocates come together at a Regional Self Advocacy meeting to hear speakers, learn about rights, share successes, talk about concerns, and receive support and encouragement to continue advocating for better lives for themselves and others.

Between the regional meetings, self advocates keep speaking up and working hard.


 

Here’s how some self advocates have gotten involved….

  • Protesting budget cuts
  • Educating legislators about people who have disabilities and the supports and services we need
  • Presenting trainings
  • Writing articles for the self advocacy newsletter
  • Helping at a Regional Self Advocacy meeting
  • Getting onto Boards of Directors 
  • Starting a self advocacy group
  • Supporting friends who need help with a problem
  • Moving to a home of his own
  • Working at a good job she loves

“I will make the unheard voices be heard. I will speak loud and clear for those who can’t.”

                                                         — Jimmy, Self Advocate
 


Want to get involved with self advocacy?  You can… 

  • Come to regional self advocacy meetings.
  • Help your friends learn about their rights and speak up.
  • Set up a training for a group or program (we can work with you to present a training).
  • Write an article for the self advocacy newsletter.
  • Write a letter to your legislator about the services and supports you need to be safe, healthy, and part of your community.
  • Let us know about your accomplishments so we can spread the good news!
  • Get on the self advocacy mailing list at Area Board 4 to get the self advocacy newsletters and find out about trainings and meetings.

“The story of the disability rights movement is enriched because it’s intertwined with the story of America’s progress.  Americans with disabilities are Americans first and foremost, and like all Americans are entitled to not only full participation in our society, but also full opportunity in our society.

So we’ve come a long way.  But even today, after all the progress that we’ve made, too many Americans with disabilities are still measured by what folks think they can’t do, instead of what we know they can do.

The fight for progress isn’t about sympathy, by the way — it’s about opportunity.  And that’s why all of us share a responsibility to keep building on the work of those who came before us — one life, one law, one step at a time.”

President Obama, Signing Rosa’s Law, which removed the word “retarded” from federal laws