Disability Day on the Hill Raises Awareness About Issues Important to the Disability Community

February 5, 2015 - |

On February 4th, self-advocates, family members, and disability professionals from a variety of organizations, including many involved in the TennesseeWorks partnership, met with legislators to share personal stories and talk to them about issues important to the disability community, including employment. TennesseeWorks team members scheduled meetings with new legislators, sharing with them the efforts of the partnership and the Governor’s Employment First Task Force to increase employment rates for individuals with disabilities.

During the morning, many gathered in the House Chamber for a special session entitled, “What You Need to Know for Effective Disability Advocacy.” Dr. Erik Carter, Associate Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University and co-PI of TennesseeWorks, introduced the session and speakers. He also disseminated a one-pager highlighting results from a family expectations survey conducted by TennesseeWorks. The survey results showed that 83% of families consider some type of employment in the community to be important, 75% of families consider some type of postsecondary education to be important, and 71% of families consider some type of community living option to be important. Click here for more information.

Program speakers included government officials, self-advocates and families. Cherrell Campbell-Street, Assistant Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services in the Department of Human Services, announced that Priority Category 1 and 2 for Vocational Rehabilitation will reopen on March 2, 2015 after being temporarily suspended January 16th. Click here for more information.  Self-advocates and families provided powerful testimonies of their personal experiences, including Linda Brown, a member of the Tennessee Parent Coalition. Speakers emphasized that personal stories are the most powerful way to reach legislators and inspire them to hold high expectations for people with disabilities across Tennessee. Thanks to everyone who participated in Disability Day on the Hill this year!