Article by Heather Sachs, Ricki Sabia & Lauren Camp, NDSC Policy & Advocacy Team
“Be the change you wish to see in the world,” the quote most famously attributed to Ghandi, implores us all to use our voices to advocate for a better world for our loved ones with Down syndrome and other disabilities. The National Down Syndrome Congress works diligently to improve the world for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities by fighting for equal rights and opportunities, defending against the erosion of civil and human rights, and protecting policies that benefit individuals with Down syndrome and their families no matter their socio-economic status. Change takes time and many voices, and we can’t do it alone. But we recognize that advocacy can make people – and the people who run organization - nervous. Some of the most common questions we hear are: How do I become a better advocate for my child at IEP meetings and school settings? How do I advocate for policy change on a broader systemic level? How can my organization undertake advocacy activities without jeopardizing its nonprofit status? We invite you to attend our advocacy sessions at DSAIA for answers to these questions and many more.
In Uniting Our Voices for Change: The Power of Grassroots Advocacy (10:15 AM - 11:30 AM, February 24 2018), NDSC Policy & Advocacy Director Heather Sachs and Policy & Advocacy Associate Lauren Camp will be discussing ways in which you can become a better advocate as an individual and as an affiliate leader.
In Be Informed to Inform: Education Advocacy (3:45 PM - 5:00 PM, February 24 2018), NDSC Senior Education Policy Advisor Ricki Sabia and NDSC Policy & Advocacy Director Heather Sachs will delve into education-specific policy issues such as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and the Higher Education Act and post-secondary education.
In these workshops, the NDSC policy team will break down grassroots advocacy techniques and education-specific policy issues into easily understandable language and give you the tools you need to bring policy-related information back to your members. As affiliate leaders, we encourage you to take these steps toward becoming informed advocates and helping your membership to use their voices to “be the change” we all wish to see in the world.