What is advocacy?
Advocacy for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) is essential for promoting and protecting civil and human rights and for establishing, maintaining or improving quality of life. Without strong advocacy at both the individual and the system level, individuals with IDD may not have access to the supports they need or opportunities to exercise their rights.
To advocate at the individual level is to know about, understand, and stand up for the rights of individuals with IDD. Self-advocates practice self-determination and self-protection and develop the skills necessary to advocate for themselves. They actively seek necessary services and are contributing members of their community.
The goal of systems-level advocacy is to increase public awareness of the rights, strengths, needs, and interests of individuals with IDD and influence law and policy to improve public and private systems of support and services.
Advocacy at The Arc Southern Maryland
Advocacy: Taking Action
As a self-advocate, family member, loved one, or active citizen, you may be wondering how you can get involved and where to start to make a difference in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Learn more about taking action in our latest “Advocacy: Taking Action” publication.
Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature
Each year, The Arc Southern Maryland attends DD Day at the Legislature. We gather in Annapolis with individuals with diverse abilities, family members, and other advocates for a morning review of legislative matters that impact people with disabilities in Maryland. We hear from self-advocates – people with disabilities that are impacted directly by these matters – and legislators working to improve their quality of life through legislative action. Then, we meet with our legislators directly. They hear stories from the people we support and listen to how what they do each day will impact these individuals. Essentially, we put boots on the ground to make a change and you are welcome to join us! Watch our Facebook for information regarding registration, which typically comes out in January each year.
People on the Go
People on the Go (POG) is a statewide self-advocacy group run by and for individuals with IDD. The group began in 1989 and currently has at least 10 active groups in different counties throughout the state.The Arc Southern Maryland supports a People on the Go Southern Maryland group. This group is made up of self advocates throughout the three Southern Maryland counties – Calvert, St. Mary’s and Charles.
These self-advocates believe all people, including those with IDD, should be active participants of their own communities and live self-fulfilling lives. POG helps these individuals use their voices to be heard and recognized and helps eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities.
Reach out to us today to find out how you can join one of our monthly meetings and become a better advocate for yourself and others with disabilities. YOU can make a difference!!
What do we advocate for?
- Ourselves and others with disabilities
- Disability related political issues
- Increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
- Improving transportation for people with disabilities
- Eliminating discrimination
- Proper training and pay for direct support staff
- Closing institutions and increasing community living
- Increasing state funding for people with disabilities
- Meaningful community involvement
- Increasing the visibility of self-advocacy
- Protecting all rights of people with disabilities
- Disability training for law enforcement and first responders
- And much, much more!
Read about The Arc’s Position Statements and Public Policy Agenda to learn more.
What do self-advocates in People on the Go do?
- Attend monthly chapter meetings and quarterly state meetings (virtual options available)
- Elect group officers
- Learn about rights, choices & speaking up for yourself
- Teach others about the rights of individuals with IDD
- Assist in the IDD training of law enforcement officers through our Ethan Saylor First Responders Training
- Send letters and schedule meetings with county officials and state legislators
- Attend rallies, conferences and conventions
- Fundraising for the group, and others. (Check out our Annual “Camp Out For Calvert” event)
- Make new friends
- Have fun!
How can I get involved?
Anyone with an intellectual or developmental disability is welcome to participate in People on the Go. You do not have to receive services from The Arc Southern Maryland to join. For more information, please contact us.
People on the Go Southern Maryland
Facilitators: Crystal Haislip & Thomas Grochowski
410-535-2413 or firstname.lastname@example.org
People on the Go Maryland
Coordinator: Tami Goldsmith
Link to our recently updated Facebook page