Those 3 Words are… Freedom of Choice. The freedom to choose what you want to do, when you want to do it, and who you want to do it with. The freedom to choose the issues that you want to advocate for, not what someone else thinks is important for you to advocate for (and that includes me).
Freedom of Choice is not something that many of us with disabilities have. We have people in our lives who love us & care about us very much. Sometimes, people make decisions for us and even though they mean well, it isn’t what we would choose.
Not being able to make our own decisions can make us feel confused, angry, and sad. I think we all deserve to feel confident, calm, and happy!
I see my job as SUFU’s Legislative Associate as finding out from you, the choices that you feel would make your lives better as people with disabilities and working with you to make those choices happen!
For example, the SUFU Legislative Chapter met on December 3rd (Robbie Garland, Christopher Heywood, Marco Orlando). As I’ve mentioned before, the issue that the Chapter chose to work on first is transportation.
Everybody agrees that the transportation choices for people with disabilities in Maine are pretty bad and we are committed to doing something about it. As a Chapter, we are still trying to figure out what specifically in transportation, we want to focus on but we will!
When we do, we will be asking SUFU members for questions and feedback because without your input and guidance, it wouldn’t be about SUFU. We’re going to work as hard as we can & we’ll even write our own legislation if we need to do so! Even if we stumble at first, we are going to make a change about transportation.
The SUFU Board is also very supportive of the Legislative Chapter because we officially received endorsement from them at the last board meeting to continue our focus on transportation. Thank you for your support SUFU Board, it means a lot to us!
If you would like to join the Legislative Chapter and be a part of the excitement, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 827-1047). Our next meeting is Thursday, December 17.
Also, I’m going to be visiting more Chapters & Roundups in 2016 because I want to hear from people directly about the choices that we want to make together, to make our lives & the lives of other people with disabilities, better.
There’s a lot we can do! For Example…
• We can testify at the Maine Legislature about issues that are important to us.
• We can hold community discussions, so our neighbors can understand what our lives are like.
• We can talk to new parents of kids who have disabilities and help them feel less afraid about the future.
• We could even march in the streets throughout Maine & make our voices heard about issues that are important to SUFU…
And those are just a few examples.
If we work together, we can make people sit up and pay attention to us, and we can create a world where we have Freedom of Choice! And have fun on the way doing it, of course!
Until Next Time,
SUFU Legislative Associate