Advocacy Week

The past week was pretty cool. As you know, I’m pretty passionate about raising my voice through meeting with elected officials, testifying at Minnesota House and Senate hearings on providing more accessible and affordable housing, and writing about my experiences living life as I know it and some of the accessibility challenges I drive into. This past week, I was recognized for this work in a couple ways, which I’m grateful for, but didn’t really expect. I keep doing what I do because I want the world to be a more inclusive world for all of us.

Youth Award

On Tuesday, I received a Youth Award for my advocacy work from the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing at the MCDHH Rally Day at the Capitol. What an amazing experience. I’m so grateful for the kind words from the person who nominated me. I’d also like to thank the Commission for giving me this honor.

Here’s a link to the Advocacy Day recording (Facebook). I receive my award at around 32 minutes. Thanks to Keenan for helping me out at the event! Pictures below are with the other award recipients, with MN Senator John Hoffman, and with Governor Tim Walz.

Arc Gala

This year I volunteered on the Fund a Need Committee for the Arc of Minnesota Gala. The fundraising need was to support the public policy work done by the Arc. I was interviewed about why public policy and advocacy work are so important to me for videos that were used during the Gala program. I got to see these videos at the Arc Gala for the first time and was completely blown away. Check them out:

The Future of Public Policy is Inclusive: 2023 Arc Gala (YouTube) 

The Legacy of Public Policy: 2023 Arc Gala (YouTube)

What was cool about this event was meeting so many people who have been active in advocacy work for a lot longer than me, seeing friends I’ve made in the advocacy work for accessible and affordable housing over the past year, and don’t forget the awesome music that I wrote about in my last blog.

Remembering Judy Heumann

Judy Heumann worked her whole life to advocate for disability rights and I was sad to hear about her death. I didn’t learn much about the disability rights movement in school and I didn’t discover who Judy was until watching Crip Camp. It’s a great movie! Thank you to her and the many others who have paved the way towards a more inclusive future.

Change never happens at the pace we think it should. It happens over years of people joining together, strategizing, sharing, and pulling all the levers they possibly can. Gradually, excruciatingly slowly, things start to happen, and then suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, something will tip.

― Judith Heumann, Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist

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