Welcome to the new newsletter from ID Action – the Iowa Advocacy Connection. Over the last year, ID Action has placed a greater focus on creating connections – connecting you to information and resources with other self-advocates to hear their personal stories and connecting Iowans within their communities to discuss and learn about important issues. Our hope is that through these connections you will have the information, resources and support you need to get involved.
With the 2012 General Election behind us, it‘s as important as ever for you to get involved and stay connected. In 2013, ID Action will challenge you to develop connections that make an impact. Now is the time to meet with your new legislators, find out who your county supervisors are or learn about your city council or school board member’s view on issues. Each of these individuals could be making decisions that have an impact on you.
Do you have an issue you are passionate about? Find out who the decision makers are and share your story with them. Rick Samson, who you will hear from in this issue, shared with us how powerful he believes it is for self-advocates to "repeat their story as much as possible."
This newsletter will continue to share with you the personal stories of other Iowa self-advocates, connect you with opportunities to get involved and keep you informed on what is happening with ID Action.
We hope you will stay connected and don’t forget to register and join us at the 2013 Advocating for Change Day on March 27. You can find more details inside this issue or go to www.idaction.org.
As an elementary student in Nevada, Iowa, Rick Samson, learned the importance of being a self-advocate. As the only student in his small school with a disability, it was up to him to speak up when he saw that change was needed. With the support of his mom, Rick got his start on the path that has led him to have a lifelong commitment to self-advocacy.
As a self-advocate, Rick has been involved with a number of groups. He is currently the co-chair of the Citizens’ Disability Council in Des Moines, he served on the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council and is working to become a certified Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) trainer. As an ADA trainer, Rick will be an expert on ADA requirements and work with organizations and the city to identify barriers that may prevent accessibility for a person with a disability.
Throughout his life, Rick has learned many lessons on being a good self-advocate and has said you should "be persistent, be patient, don’t be quiet and keep moving forward." Change can be slow but when you believe in the change, you need to find your voice and as he says, "keep making noise."
Rick has three important pieces of advice to anyone who is passionate about an issue and wants to make a difference.
The first is to talk to other people and find out what they think about the issue and organize a group who is effective and can talk about the issue. The second is to find the right person(s) to talk with about the issue, those who can directly impact change. The third and what could be the most important is to repeat your personal story as much as possible. Sharing your personal story can have many results from inspiring others to get involved to giving an elected official or decision maker a better understanding of the reason the change you want is needed.
While Rick has been a self-advocate for many years, he isn’t done yet. He wants to continue to stay involved and make a difference. Just last year he attended a self-advocacy summit in Chicago and is working with other attendees from Iowa to jumpstart a new self-advocacy effort. The final piece of advice Rick has for those who are interested in getting involved as a self-advocate is that, "change is slow, so be patient and consistent; it works!"
To hear directly from Rick Samson, go to www.idaction.org
Advocating for Change Day will be held on March 27, 2013. ID Action and Polk County Health Services invite you to participate in a day specifically for Iowans affected by disability. You will have the opportunity to attend a training to become skilled at communicating with your legislators and elected officials by learning how to develop and deliver your message effectively. You will then head over to the Capitol to meet with your legislators and other elected officials and attend an afternoon rally.
Register for Advocating for Change Day by going to the ID Action website at www.idaction.org, call us at 866-432-2846 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please register by March 12, to guarantee your free lunch. Advocating for Change Day is free to attend. This is your opportunity to talk with your legislators about issues important to you!
Are you part of an advocacy group that would like to visit the Iowa State Capitol and talk with your legislators? ID Action is offering Local Capitol Day grants to advocacy groups that include 10 or more individuals with a disability to come to Des Moines and meet with their legislators. Grants are available up to $500 to help cover the costs of transportation and accommodations for participation. Check out www.idaction.org for more details and the grant application. A limited number of grants are available so please contact ID Action soon if you are interested. Local Capitol Day grants cannot be used to participate in Advocating for Change Day.
Each year ID Action recognizes one outstanding ID Action registrant who advocates to improve the lives of Iowans with disabilities. ID Action is now accepting nominations for the 2013 Advocate of the Year award! To nominate a deserving individual, please send us a letter including the nominee’s name, address, phone number and how they are making a difference in their community or at the state or federal levels. Please include your name and contact information for any follow-up questions.
You can email nominations to email@example.com, or mail them to:
ID Action, P.O. Box 737
Des Moines, IA 50303
The deadline for nominations is March 12, 2013, and the winner will be announced at the 2013 Advocating Change Day rally on March 27.
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and ID Action needs your voice to help us raise awareness. You have an opportunity to make an impact in your community and state. March is the perfect time to get involved, take action and become a self-advocate. Here are a few things you can do:
Write a letter – Sending a letter to your legislator, elected official or to the editor of your newspaper can have a huge impact. Elected officials will only know what the people they serve think if we tell them, so let your voice be heard!
Attend Advocating for Change Day – This is your opportunity to talk directly to those who are making decisions about issues that directly impact you! Register today at www.idaction.org to attend this event on March 27.
Share your story – We want to hear from you! Please share your story of self-advocacy with ID Action so we can share it with other Iowans who want to get involved. Contact us by February 22 at 866-432-2846 or firstname.lastname@example.org.