Dear Friends of Full Access:
On June 2nd, I experienced my last meeting with the Oregon Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Coalition after more than 13 active years with the group and six years as the Chair. This was a special meeting because it represented, to me, the best of the best in our efforts statewide to provide excellent support services!
Leslie Sutton, the policy analyst for the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities absolutely rocked the room! She had a bouquet of flowers on the table that one by one, she placed in a vase while acknowledging the people in the room (and others not at the meeting) placing a flower in the vase for each. When the bouquet was complete, Kathryn Weit and Katie Rose acknowledged me for my service to the Coalition and I was the happy recipient of the full bouquet!
Here are some of the key advocacy points that were recognized:
Sharing that cutting the Fairview trust is the Senate not sticking to its promises to people with IDD about housing. People with disabilities can live and work in their communities just like everyone else – we just need different supports.
Emphasizing employment for people with IDD is possible and key to a real life.
Advocating for the “Face of the Direct Support Professionals wage movement” – made the point that DSPs are a critical link between supporting people to have a real life and then illustrated what a real life looks like.
A parent boldly stating “I am proud of my daughter!”
Brokerage customer “I am a winner, not a loser”.
To no longer be in a crisis system for kids is a life changer.
A parent wouldn’t have a vision and be helping her daughter have the future she wants to pursue – had it not been for the Family Networks.
A former resident of Fairview taught new legislators about Fairview and reminded them to never institutionalize people again. It was noteworthy what Rep. Carla Piluso said: “I stand on the shoulders of women who came before me, you are one of those women. Thank you.”…
The Fairview trust was an effort to make good out of brutal public policy. I was there – these promises were real and must be kept.
“I used to live in a group home, but I have my own place now. I love that I can have friends and family over when I want. This is better for me.”
Behavior is communication and “that’s what training is for.”
Oregon is stronger when all members of its communities work, contribute to local economies and otherwise participate in the greater good. People with IDD deserve that Oregon honor this right.
People with IDD are at risk for abuse. We need all hands on deck to commit to reporting abuse when it happens. I feel better knowing that people in my house are committed to reporting abuse when they see it.
A tax credit helps get you in the door as a job developer. This is about creating opportunity for people with IDD – but also for businesses.
Regarding the ABLE Act – The pain of writing your child out of your will…simply because they have a disability is terrible.
And hundreds of people who attended a GO! Advocacy Days, supported others to meet with their legislators, contacted legislators this session about the IDD Coalition priorities, forwarded an advocacy email to get others interested and got involved.
In summary, Leslie, who led so much of this effort, acknowledged the entire coalition for making a commitment at the beginning of the session to stay together as a coalition. We were all standing. We stuck together as a coalition and that’s why we were successful. We cannot ever do this alone.