Everyone Can Be an Advocate. Here's How

Posted by Reeve Foundation Staff in Daily Dose on October 12, 2016 # Advocacy and Policy

As round-the-clock national coverage of the presidential election continues and the debates rage on, it can be easy to forget just how much power an individual can have in the political process. Your elected officials – from the President to your city council member - work for YOU. But they can’t know your concerns if you don’t reach out to them. One committed advocate can make a difference. And a grassroots army, coalescing around a single issue, can make a massive difference. We need to be that voice in the disability community – no one will do it for us.

To that end, the Reeve Foundation has created an advocacy toolkit designed to get you started in your advocacy efforts. We’ll tell you how to send your legislators effective letters and emails, and reach them via social media (which is increasingly the most effective method of advocacy). We’ll also give you tips for meeting with your elected officials in person; this is especially important during this election season as your members of Congress will be making many public appearances over the next month. It doesn’t matter how we connect with lawmakers, but it’s vital that we do; if we don’t represent the voice of the disability community, no one will.

It’s simple enough to get started – simply reach out to your legislator and let them know about your concerns. Tell them you’re against attempts to weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act. And that you believe Medicare should provide full coverage of Complex Rehab Technology for wheelchairs. After reaching out, make sure that you follow up on your communication; it’s important to hold them accountable and also begin to build a long-term relationship with your legislators and their staff.

Now, more than ever, it’s important that we raise our collective voice.