Disability Advocacy Day classes and speakers now available online
Did you miss the Disability Advocacy Day activities? Would you like a refresher? Recorded sessions from the 2021 event are now available on the CPD website (individual links and short descriptions appear below).
Tylee Harmon’s “Why do I need to Advocate?” covers what advocacy is, why it is important and how it can make a difference in advocates’ lives—like improving transportation in rural areas or influencing how people with disabilities are represented in the media.
Self-advocates can influence the policies that affect them, improve the services they receive and help increase funding, said Harmon, program coordinator at the Utah Statewide Independent Living Council. “If you see something that you don’t like, it’s not going to go away just because you stop looking at it,” she said. “Your story is part of the big picture that affects all of us.”
The second session, “Sharing Your Story to Effect Change,” brought in video presentations from Utah Representatives Jennifer Dailey-Provost (D-Salt Lake City), Marsha Judkins (R-Provo), and self-advocate Eric Stoker, who has spoken to legislators as a self-advocate.
“A person with a disability is the expert about themselves,” said presenter Avery Pince-Hyder of the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council. “Nobody knows your story like you do, and sharing your story with decision-makers can help them to see your perspective and help them understand your experience better.”
The impact of a personal story can influence policy makers, a boss or parents. Pince-Hyder walked participants through the basics of contacting their legislators, understanding what committees they serve on, and preparing to speak to them about specific concerns.
Here are more individual presentations from the event:
The keynote address of Utah Senator and Minority Whip Luz Escamilla (D-Salt Lake City), on issues on the forefront of the Utah Legislature relating to people with disabilities in Utah.
Sarah Brenna, director, Utah State Office of Rehabilitation under the Department of Workforce Services, on services offered by DWS and USOR.
Joey Hanna, executive director of the Utah Parent Center, introducing the center and its work to encourage advocacy for individuals with disabilities and their families.
Rich Lakin, immunizations director, Utah Dept. of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. He discusses and how it will impact health care workers, seniors and people with disabilities.
Tonya Hales, assistant division director, Utah Dept. of Health, Medicaid and Health Financing, on the department’s services and policies relevant to people with disabilities. She discusses how they relate to the 2021 legislative session, including home- and community-based waiver programs.
Stacy Stanford, health policy analyst, Utah Health Policy Project, on health policy through a disability rights perspective.
Libby Oseguera, executive director of the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council, on its work to inform the Utah Legislature on the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Kim Fratto, assistant director of Special Education, Utah State Board of Education, on things happening at the state level to improve access and outcomes for students with disabilities.
Psarah Johnson, board chair, and Karolyn Campbell, executive director of the Disability Rights Action Committee, on their direct advocacy for people with disabilities.
Adina Zahradnikova, executive director, Disability Law Center, on the center’s protection and advocacy for people of disabilities in Utah, providing legal representation and other advocacy services.