Iowa Advocacy Connection - Issue 2

Issue 2, 5/6/2013

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In Your Community

ID Action Banner at Advocating for Change DayIn March, over 600 Iowans with disabilities, advocates and family members joined ID Action at the Iowa State Capitol for Advocating for Change Day. Attendees let their voices be heard - sharing their personal stories, discussing issues and talking with legislators about what’s happening in their communities. Attendees heard from Senate President Pam Jochum, House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer and Senator Jack Hatch. Each of the speakers emphasized the importance of taking action, staying involved and building relationships with legislators.

Advocating for Change Day is a starting point for those new to advocacy and a way for longtime advocates to reenergize and continue to build relationships. Our hope is that when you leave the Capitol your work continues. The opportunities to make a difference are just as great in your community as they are when you are visiting the Capitol. Here are a few ways you can take what you learned and put it into action in your community:

Talk to other people about Advocating for Change Day & what you learned – Did you attend Advocating for Change Day with a group? If so, get together again and talk about what you learned and actions you can take. Do you regularly attend meetings with friends? If so, tell them about Advocating for Change, what you learned and the impact you had.

Attend a local legislative forum – Go to www.infonetiowa.org to find a list of forums. Session will be wrapping up soon and legislators will be back in their district full time. This is one opportunity to talk with them while they are home.

Plan a local meeting to talk about issues – If you would like ID Action’s help with this, just let us know. Call us at 866-432-2846 or email us at contactus@idaction.org.

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Advocating for Change Day

Representative Linda Upmeyer talks with Advocating for Change Day attendeeThank you to everyone that attended Advocating for Change Day at the Iowa State Capitol. The stories that were shared affected not only legislators; they also helped to motivate and inspire others to keep moving towards their goals as advocates. Here are a few comments from attendees on what they thought of Advocating for Change Day:

"I felt that by attending the Advocating for Change Day at the Capitol, I now have more information and resources to continue impacting the lives of others. I would like continue my involvement with the laws that involve me and the others around me." Cindy Walker of NIVC Services in Mason City, Iowa.

"I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this wonderful event. It was my first. I learned so much about approaching my legislators to discuss issues. Also how to contact them in session or out." -  Daniel Wayne Breckenridge, Waukee

"I was grateful for the opportunity to attend Advocating for Change Day 2013 and the chance to meet with my legislators. Even though they were not available when I was there, I’m aware of people from other counties who successfully met with their legislators. This is an important event. It is vital that legislators hear our personal stories and see the frustration on our faces, to hear our cries, if they are to understand what needs to be done for us to thrive and participate in our communities." - Michelle T. Fiegl, Council Bluffs

Senator Amanda Ragan with a group from NIVC in Mason City

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Angie Petersen's Advocacy Story

Over the past several months, ID Action has been visiting communities throughout the state, meeting with advocates to hear their self-advocacy stories. In March, we had the opportunity to meet Angie Petersen who lives in Red Oak. After moving to Red Oak one of Angie’s goals was to become independent and find work that made her feel like a productive member of society. To do this, Angie had to become a strong self-advocate. With the support of Nishna, a service provider in the area, Angie was able to gain the skills and confidence to make decisions about her employment and evaluate options for living in her community. In 2006, Angie started working at Pizza Ranch and has worked her way up from a supervised position to handling double shifts. Angie, as a self-advocate, identified her goal and looked for the resources and support to help her make it happen. To read more of Angie’s story, please go to www.idaction.org

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Advocate of The Year

Angie Plager, ID Action Advocate of the Year 2013ID Action is proud to name Angie Plager, Cambridge, IA, as the Advocate of Year. Angie is a dedicated advocate who according to Easter Seals is their "Mission in Action!" She "advocates, volunteers, lobbies and speaks to others about inclusion and accessibility for all people with disabilities so they can Live, Learn, Work and Play in their communities." In June, Angie will represent the Iowa chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association.in Washington D.C. at the "United Spinal Association/NSCIA Roll on Capitol Hill". This event will help raise awareness of issues impacting those with spinal cord injuries including health and accessibility. Go to www.idaction.org to hear directly from Angie.

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Lifetime Achievement Award

Dave McCalley, Cedar Falls, is the recipient of the 2013 ID Action Lifetime Achievement Award. Dave has been a leader in advocating for Iowans with disabilities for a number of years. An issue that has always been important to Dave is ensuring that all Iowans have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. He has been dedicated to raising awareness that Iowans with disabilities are full citizens and as such should be provided with accessible polling places that fully accommodate those with disabilities.

For many years, Dave has partnered with ID Action to provide voter education trainings that focus on rights, responsibilities and full access to the voting process. This year, he also worked to help establish a satellite voting location that was set-up by the Black Hawk County Auditor’s office at a local provider agency. Trained staff was available to provide assistance through the voting process to those that needed additional support.

Dave hopes that elected officials will recognize that Iowans with disabilities are full citizens who vote and who will hold them accountable for decision-making that impacts their daily lives. 

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12 Steps to Successful Advocacy

At Advocating for Change Day, we talked about these steps. Throughout the next few issues of the Iowa Advocacy Connection, we will share them you!

 

Step 1: Identify Your Cause.

  • Focus on the solution, not the complaint!
  • Ask for it all, but be willing to compromise.
  • See the big picture.
  • Define the problem. What do you want fixed?
  • Is there more than one solution?

Step 2: Do Your Homework.

  • Know the issue – and put it into human terms.
  • Gather facts and expert information.
  • List the pros and cons of your solution.
  • Form a response to the cons.
  • Track legislation and learn the process

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Advocacy University

If you were not able to attend Advocating for Change Day, you can still get the information from the training session. Go to www.idaction.org and click on Advocacy University or go to www.advocacyuniversity.com. The presentation and worksheets will be available for you. The tools and resources are at your fingertips to help you make a difference. If you do not have access to the internet, call us  at 866-432-2846 and we will help you find a resource in your community.

At Advocacy University you will find resources that will help you become a strong advocate. All of the materials that were provided at Advocating for Change Day can be found on the site. Find videos of other self-advocates discussing how they are got their start and what tips they have for you, a resource page that will link you to both state and national self-advocacy resources and an advocacy tookit.

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