Working at the DD Council, we focus a lot on advocacy. Governmental advocacy, self-advocacy, family advocacy (you get the picture). We may think about advocacy as something that takes a lot of time (going to protests!) or expertise (arguing with lawyers at the legislature, writing brilliant policy proposals).
The dictionary says that advocacy is *the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal*. It’s a means to solve a problem; actions that are intended to have a particular outcome.
On one hand, it’s simple: advocacy is action, usually indirect action. By “indirect”, I mean that the action itself doesn’t directly solve a problem.
Advocacy can be individual or systemic.
The Maine Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) is a federally and state funded partnership of people with disabilities, their families, and agencies which identifies barriers to community inclusion, self-determination, and independence, and acts to effect positive change. MDDC acts to effect positive change through advocacy, capacity building, training, demonstration projects, and support for other inclusive and collaborative systems change activities.
Maine Developmental Disabilities Council is committed to creating a Maine in which all people are valued and respected because we believe communities are stronger when everyone is included. Our purpose is to promote systems change to ensure that all individuals with developmental and other disabilities are able to live and fully participate in their communities of choice. Working in partnership with people with disabilities, parents, advocates, and policy makers, MDDC works to promote the independence, integration, and inclusion of all people with disabilities through advocacy, capacity building, and systems change activities throughout the state of Maine and on the national level.
So, what does that all mean?
With this dispatch, the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council is undertaking a new effort. We recognize that Things. Have. Changed. For people with developmental disabilities and their allies, there is a lot going on that can be confusing and even frightening. For many years, we’ve done most of our work in more traditional avenues of advocacy. But times have changed, and we want to take advantage of these new opportunities to amplify the work we do and that our partners and collaborators do.
Over the next weeks and months, we’ll be trying a couple of different formats to see what you like and what’s most helpful to you. Our goals are to:
There are already a lot of Maine people and organizations out there doing great things. We do don’t intend to “re-create the wheel” but may tell you about some of their work related to developmental disabilities.