"All Voices Heard!"
We will not be defined by our disabilities, but accepted and embraced for our abilities and contributions. We must raise our voices, share our stories, demand legislative change, and advocate for an inclusive culture where societal barriers are dismantled. Let us make "All Voices Heard!"
What is Disability Advocacy Day?
The South Carolina Partnership of Disability Organizations (SCPDO) is a coalition of organizations whose aim is to assure self-determination, independence, empowerment, integration and inclusion of children and adults with severe lifelong disabilities in all aspects of society. Collectively, we advocate for more than 500,000 people with severe, lifelong disabilities in South Carolina.
Disability Advocacy Day is a grassroots effort organized by advocacy organizations all across the state to educate our governor and legislators about the lives, challenges and needs of individuals with disabilities and their families.
We invite the public, lawmakers, and community partners to attend the 35th Annual Disability Advocacy Day celebration on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 to bring about a call to action to remove barriers to success and preserve services and supports for people with disabilities. We will gather on the North grounds of the South Carolina State House. Events include a walk, a rally, and speeches by community partners, self-advocates, and others.
Every individual in the disability community has a unique story to tell whether a parent, sibling, professional, extended family member or supporter. Stories are a powerful advocacy tool. In many cases, storytelling is necessary to help give lawmakers an accurate picture of the reality of people’s lives. It allows them to truly understand the challenges that families face so they can see how their decisions have a direct impact on their lives. When you share your story with your representatives, it helps them remember that when policy decisions are being made about people who have disabilities, it’s affecting the lives of real people. By helping your legislator see what life looks like where you stand, you can help improve the conditions for everyone who has a disability, their families, and caregivers. Your story cannot be wrong; it is your own, personal experience, and your experience has value and meaning.
If you would like to know more about Disability Advocacy Day and how you can get involved, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out Disability Advocacy Day 2022 Below.
Tips on Advocating
One of the most important steps we can take ahead of Disability Advocacy Day is to look up our legislators, see what committees they are on and find out how they have voted on issues we care about. With the website Open States, constituents can find bills they are interested in and also search for their legislators. To find your legislators’ voting records, we recommend searching for them on Ballotpedia. Both of these sites are great resources for any advocate to be properly informed.
Once we become informed on the issues and our legislators, we can better advocate for ourselves during the session and beyond. But Disability Advocacy Day is not the only opportunity to advocate! In fact, there are year-round opportunities. Once you have found who represents you and how they vote, feel free to reach out to them on social media or connect with them via email or phone before Disability Advocacy Day. Make sure to let them know you are a constituent in their district. Each legislator has an important voice in their chamber, and they want to hear from their communities.
One thing we must remember is that these state lawmakers are our friends and neighbors. A lot of these legislators know some information about a lot of different things, so be prepared to educate them on issues you care about. If you are planning to attend Disability Advocacy Day, feel free to invite them to join you!
Are you an individual with a disability who wants to develop greater self-esteem, confidence, and leadership skills? The I.M.P.A.C.T. Leadership Training is an 8 week program where class is held once a week. Each class lasts two hours. I.M.P.A.C.T. is a SC state-wide self-advocacy group made up of individuals who advocate for themselves and others with disabilities. To learn more about this training, click below to view and download the flyer.