Raise Your Voice! Advocacy Training

Event date: 4/6/2017, 10:00am | Location: Austin, TX

Raise Your Voice!

The 2017 Raise Your Voice! Advocacy Training and Capitol Day and Don't MYTH with Texas Rally, co-organized with The Arc of Texas and Texas Advocates, took place April 6 in Austin. Over 50 invited Texans with disabilities and their parents, providers, and supporters came from all over the state to urge legislators to support critical community services. Highlights of the events below!

In a beige conference room, a large group of people listen to a woman at a podium, whose back is turned to the camera.

Wednesday Evening Reception: Out-of-towners and invited guests joined CTD staff for a pre-advocacy dinner at the Embassy Suites on the evening of April 5th. Advocates from the Panhandle and North Texas had a chance to meet, mingle, and dine with their counterparts from Central Texas, the Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. Following introductory comments from CTD Executive Director Dennis Borel, our Board President Rodney Hanneman welcomed all guests, and reminded them, as always, to "Give 'em hell" at the Capitol!

Thursday Morning Training: To prepare attendees for legislative office visited, we gathered the next morning at the Robert E. Johnson Conference Center for our RYV! training. After a quick video produced by Texas Advocates, CTD staff and board members discussed our four core issues- attendant wages, waitlists, funding for relocation contracts, and right-sizing State Supported Living Centers (right, Judy Telge on relocation). Then, attendees broke into small groups of seasoned and newer advocates to practice making office visits.

Under a bright blue sky, a group of people pose for a photo. Four stand behind two seated in wheelchairs.

Don't MYTH with Texas Rally: Under bright blue skies, our group met up with hundreds of other self-advocates from The Arc of Texas and Texas Advocates on the South steps of the Capitol. Continuing the momentum from the morning, ralliers called on the legislature to bolster, not weaken, the services and supports that allow Texans with disabilities to live in the communities of their choice. To hit the point home, rally organizers created a display where beach balls represented people who qualify for community services in Texas. Hundreds of beach balls on one side of the podium versus three, which represented the SSLC population, made an unmistakable point. Several hours of office visits followed the rally. Left: Judy Telge (CTD Board), Crystal Lyons (CTD Board), Melissa McNeely (RISE CIL), Tracy Espinoza (attendant), Renee Lopez (ADAPT of Texas), and Julie Espinoza (REACH CIL). Photo courtesy of Julie Espinoza.

Reception & Reflections: We brought the day to a close at our new office building near the Capitol. All rally participants were invited to attend, and they packed the house! Over food and drinks, advocates traded stories, had some laughs, and exchanged contact information- a relaxed and enjoyable end to an intense day of activism!



April 5

6 pm: Evening Reception, Embassy Suites Austin Central

April 6

9:45 am: RYV! Advocacy Training & Lunch, Robert E. Johnson Conference Center

1 pm: Don't Myth with Texas Rally (with The Arc of Texas), South Steps of the Capitol

1:30 pm: Visit legislative offices (Capitol)

4 pm: Reception & Reflections, Coalition of Texans with Disabilities

Have questions about this event? Never been to an advocacy training or rally? Check out our RYV! FAQ!