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Self-Advocacy Report: A Focus on Accessible Transportation

Self Advocacy Report Accessible Transportation July 2022 The Arc Amplified

Self-Advocacy Report: A Focus on Accessible Transportation

On May 25th, 2022, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) hosted an online listening session to discuss transportation issues around the country and what plans are being put forward to address them. The ultimate goal of the DOT is to find where the most services are needed and address those issues in alignment with President Biden’s goal to promote and ensure equity.

One of the goals discussed was to grant more funding to smaller, underserved communities to support small businesses, bringing them to various communities, as well as creating ways for people to get to them. This will give everyone who is underserved in their communities a chance to participate equally. DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated: “Everyone is deserving [of equity] in their lives,” and that equal access, particularly to transit, helps change lives.

Secretary Buttigieg continued to discuss how the original intent of public transportation was to be equal and how it needs to work to provide equal access to everyone for connection to work, medical care, and life, in general.

Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg spoke specifically about supporting [the Americans with Disabilities Act] and that $22 billion would allow for more accessibility with emphasis on building safer streets. This would include easier sidewalk access, accessible transit stations, and better access to Amtrak and other rail solutions.

Due to a higher cost of living in a lot of areas, more people are moving from metropolitan regions to more rural locations. Discussions have focused on increasing paratransit access to rural areas to help with the influx of more people to these communities. Secretary Buttigieg has discussed increasing funding by up to 44% for rural paratransit expansion. This would greatly help rural areas by creating more inclusion and providing affordable transportation options to more people in more areas.

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Originally published in The Arc of Snohomish County: Leadership Collective Newsletter, Issue 2 - 2022.

Leigh Spruce is a Self-Advocacy Coordinator at The Arc of Snohomish County. In this role, she supports engagement activities and leadership and advocacy training for adults with disabilities in Snohomish County and across the Puget Sound region. She serves on numerous community boards and committees and is an engaged activist for disability rights. Contact Leigh Spruce at leigh@arcsno.org.

Leadership Collective Newsletter — Spring 2022

88. Leadership Newsletter 2022 2 Published The Arc Amplified 1

JUST RELEASED: Leadership Collective Newsletter — Spring 2022

 

The Arc of Snohomish County published the Spring 2022 e-newsletter — recently re-branded as the “LEADERSHIP COLLECTIVE” quarterly publication — on July 5th.

The Leadership Collective shares stories of leadership and advocacy, as well as upcoming events and educational opportunities for parents and family caregivers, self-advocates, professionals and disability rights activists and allies. The publication focuses on disability visibility, advocacy, leadership and knowledge.

This most recent edition is Issue 2 of the 2022 newsletter series. It features an “Advocacy Spotlight” article on Laura Akers, a local self-advocate and Arc Trained Leader. The newsletter also includes information about a variety of upcoming leadership and advocacy training opportunities.

View the complete newsletter at http://tiny.cc/2022leadershipNewsletter2.

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Whitney Stohr is the Leadership & Independent Living Program Manager at The Arc of Snohomish County. She is passionate about advocating for medically complex children and children with disabilities and their families. She is a mom and medical caregiver herself, who is energized by working closely with other parent/family caregivers. She lives with her spouse and their four-year-old son Malachi in Lynnwood. Connect with her on Instagram @rollin.w.spinabifida. Contact: whitney@arcsno.org.

New Disability Documentary: “Together They Were Stronger”

Together They Were Stronger The Arc Amplified

New Disability Documentary: “Together They Were Stronger”

On May 25th, 2022, at the University of Washington Haring Center for Inclusive Education, more than 300 participants joined together for the debut showing of the new documentary short-film Together They Were Stronger.

“Together They Were Stronger, produced by Thriving Communities, documents the story of how four Seattle women mounted a civil rights campaign to establish the first-ever disability rights law in the United States, [House Bill/HB 90].” (Read more: tinyurl.com/3tvjsxk5.)

 

Together They Were StrongerWashington Governor Dan Evans signed what became known as the Education for All Act in 1971. This law guaranteed for students with disabilities in Washington State the right to receive an education in state public schools. This law would eventually provide the framework for the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which is now the legal foundation for special education and early intervention/birth-to-three services across the U.S.

 (Pictured: Gov. Dan Evans with Northwest Center founders Janet Taggart [left], Cecile Lindquist, Evelyn Chapman and Katie Dolan, alongside University of Washington law students Bill Dussault and George Edensword-Breck. Photo from Washington State Archives.)

 Following the premiere showing of the film on May 25th, a panel discussion and Q&A was held that featured panelists:

Watch the event recording and discussion panel online at youtu.be/fZeNth7l8UA.

Access the full event packet and additional information at tinyurl.com/269zz2nx.

Did you miss the debut showing? No problem! View it online at vimeo.com/714609859.

 

Check it out!! This film captures exactly what parent/caregiver leadership and advocacy can look like and how it can change our communities, our state and every state.

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Whitney Stohr is the Leadership & Independent Living Program Manager at The Arc of Snohomish County. She is passionate about advocating for medically complex children and children with disabilities and their families. She is a mom and medical caregiver herself, who is energized by working closely with other parent/family caregivers. She lives with her spouse and their four-year-old son Malachi in Lynnwood. Connect with her on Instagram @rollin.w.spinabifida. Contact: whitney@arcsno.org.

Disability Pride Month 2022

87. Disability History Month 2022 The Arc Amplified

Disability Pride Month 2022

In July, we recognize Disability Pride Month. This is the month when we celebrate disability and the disability community as a beautiful and integral part of our state and nation.

Disability Pride began as a day of celebration in 1990 — the same year the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by then President George H. W. Bush. The first Disability Pride Day was held in Boston that year, and the celebration has since expanded nationwide and transformed into a month-long event. Today, cities across the country celebrate Disability Pride Month with parades, festivals, educational opportunities and other events.

As with all demographic groups, it is important to remember that the disability community is not a monolith. People with disabilities may hold dramatically different viewpoints and perspectives on topics, including the purpose, meaning and value of recognizing Disability Pride Month.

Shared below are various perspectives about Disability Pride Month from individuals with disabilities.

“The reason behind the month is a chance to share the joy and pride that disabled people can bring to their local and global communities. The disabled community is a vibrant part of society and makes up 15% of the population, and we are proud of that.” (Caroline Casey, writing for Forbes.com: “Disability Pride Month July — July 4, 2022)

AmeriDisability describes Disability Pride as ‘accepting and honoring each person’s uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity’ and connects it to the larger movement for disability justice.” (Krystal Jagoo, writing for verywellmind.com: “Understanding Disability Pride Month” ­— July 23, 2021)

“Disability Pride, much like LGBTQ+ Pride, is all about celebrating and reclaiming our visibility in public because people with disabilities have historically been pushed out of public spaces.”  —Laken Brooks, University of Florida graduate student, writer and digital storyteller. (Krystal Jagoo, writing for verywellmind.com: “Understanding Disability Pride Month” ­— July 23, 2021)

“I think that there is an importance in Disability Pride due to the consistent shame around the topic of disability in the first place. Choosing to be forthright about having a disability is considered ‘brave’ because there is a very tangible fear of being treated either differently interpersonally, or blocked professionally.”  —Taneasha White, Black queer writer and activist with chronic pain, based in Richmond, VA. (Krystal Jagoo, writing for verywellmind.com: “Understanding Disability Pride Month” ­— July 23, 2021)

“We should also see this as a moment to understand some people may not feel comfortable disclosing [their disability or showing pride in their disability]. We must respect that we are all on our own personal journeys and at various stages. If having this month can allow others to feel seen and have the confidence to be open with their disability, that is good enough.” (Caroline Casey, writing for Forbes.com: “Disability Pride Month July” — July 4, 2022)

“For me this month is not only about celebrating disabilities but remembering there’s going to be days where you won’t always love your disability, and that’s OK too.”  —Rebecca Cokley, three-time Presidential appointee, activist and author. (Gabriela Miranda, writing for USAToday.com: “A Chance to ‘Amplify One Another’: What is Disability Pride Month?” — July 4, 2021)

However you choose to recognize Disability Pride Month, I hope this month of July is one of self-expression, self-confidence and self-love.

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Whitney Stohr is the Leadership & Independent Living Program Manager at The Arc of Snohomish County. She is passionate about advocating for medically complex children and children with disabilities and their families. She is a mom and medical caregiver herself, who is energized by working closely with other parent/family caregivers. She lives with her spouse and their four-year-old son Malachi in Lynnwood. Connect with her on Instagram @rollin.w.spinabifida. Contact: whitney@arcsno.org.

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