Advocacy Days, part of the Advocacy Partnership Project, are held during each legislative session to involve self-advocates and families in the legislative process, giving them opportunities to make their voices heard by their legislators and to have an impact on policy and budget legislation that affects the services and supports available to them.
The 2021 Washington State Legislative Session will be held virtually because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Legislators and staff will be participating from their homes in their districts with very limited staff being in Olympia. While a virtual legislative session might increase access and participation by citizens, there will also be significant limitations to how our elected officials conduct their work.
Sherwood and other advocates remain committed to participate and encourage participation in the 2021 Washington State Legislative Session. We will still organize participation in virtual Advocacy Days and assist people with disabilities and their families in meeting with their elected officials.
2021 Advocacy Day Schedule
What to expect at Advocacy Day
Advocacy Day begins at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays during the legislative session. We start with an hour and a half briefing on current issues and end with an afternoon of advocacy. While we feature a highlighted topic each week, the morning briefing will also cover late breaking news on budget items and bills of interest relating to individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) and their families. We meet on Zoom each week. You can register each Advocacy Day at https://arcwa.org/advocacy/advocacy-days
NOTE: Each meeting link is unique and you must register for each one separately!
January 27th — Legislative Briefing
Our theme this year is “Zooming in on Developmental Disabilities” as we encourage legislators to champion bills/budget items that are important to people with developmental disabilities (DD). Join us on Zoom at 2 pm for a briefing of the current issues of concern.
Zoom link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIvcOmtqzwvHNyZhZ2ss0MiMlUix5dH-bsp
January 27th — 40th Annual Disability Legislative Reception
The Statewide Disability Legislative Reception Webinar will be held on Zoom as a webinar from 5:30 - 7:00 pm. YOU MUST REGISTER SEPARATELY for the reception. (It is a different link than the briefing!)
Zoom link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PxMIcL6BRnaOXygD8ZJfjQ
February 3rd — Community Residential
Supported living providers have been on the front line of this pandemic, taking care of their clients even when they get COVID. as well as self-advocates, family members and others join to let legislators know how important living in the community is and ask them to ensure that providers of these supports are paid a fair living wage. There is cur-rently a huge inequity as supported living providers do exactly the same care tasks as state employees in State Oper-ated Living Alternatives (SOLA), yet receive much lower wages. Adult Family Homes and Assisted Living are also community settings struggling during this pandemic.
Zoom link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0oduusqj4sGdERbaf2qk8LMSCgjlqfnior
February 10th — Employment Supports
Having a job means that individuals with DD can be productive citizens, contributing to our economy by paying taxes, while also providing valuable services. Being gainfully employed builds self-esteem, but our state still allows peo-ple with disabilities to be paid sub-minimum wages, as little as 2 cents an hour! Join self-advocates, families and em-ployment service providers as we work to make wages equitable. Stay for the virtual rally after!
Zoom link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwodOqrrj8qEtKzefq8uWRZAEI3b44zBTnR
February 17th—Families Save Money
Families provide the majority of care at home for people with DD, saving our state millions of dollars. Respite care is a critical service, but its difficult to find a provider. Teens and adults with DD and challenging behaviors are taken to hospital emergency rooms and left there with no medical need because the behavior supports they need are not available. Some families can’t get services for their child because the family doesn’t meet Medicaid financial eligibil-ity. A Katie Beckett Waiver would allow families to “buy-in” to Medicaid. Unlike other waivers, there can be no wait list. If you qualify, you get served.
Zoom link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEqfuyorTIoE9UkfdanQJFnX1YlFgSJiC-V
February 24th—March is DD Awareness Month
Each March, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) partners with Association for University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) to create a social media cam-paign that highlights the many ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form strong, di-verse communities. We will educate legislators and have the Governor’s staff share the Governor’s Proclamation for this important awareness campaign.
Zoom link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpcOiupz0vHtdqhf72bC6hbaeYwPE6VJtE
March 3rd—Education During COVID-19
The pandemic has had a huge affect on education services and early intervention for children with DD. With in-person school cancelled and the districts try to figure out virtual classes, children with DD are not receiving the services required in their Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). What can the legislature do to ensure the needs of children who need special education services are not falling further behind? Join us as we learn more about this inequity.
Zoom link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAldemvrTwiG9awb0OWQxa9wFVUsBaYNj5r
March 10th—Rights and Protections: No New Institutions!
Two years ago, a Ruckelshaus workgroup was charged with creating a plan for the future of the RHCs (Residential Habilitation Centers) in our state. Although the plan would downsize and close our RHCs, it also would build a new 120 bed nursing facility on the grounds of one of the RHCs, Fircrest. We do not want to build new institutions!
Zoom link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrcuuhrj8qH9KOiIpZTPGQPe6PkszBtn22
March 17th—Self-advocacy: Nothing About Us Without Us
The last few years have seen the legislature convene work groups about developmental disabilities, but without representation of the self-advocates that the work group outcomes would affect. Last year a report to the legislature proposed to build a new nursing facility on the grounds of Fircrest, something self-advocates strongly oppose! Learn about this new bill that will change this inequity and give people with DD a voice where it matters most.
Zoom link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAtfuCrqz8pGNOzMFHgoULLi2oiG54DYpnR
March 24th—Budget: NO Cuts!
Creating a balanced budget is the one thing legislators are required to do during this legislative session. With many new legislators, it is important that you educate yours about the needs of people with DD. Because COVID-19 has created such an economic catastrophe in our state, revenues are woefully short of what is needed to keep current programs going in this biennial budget. Learn what services and supports are proposed for cuts or increases and what you can do to help.
Zoom link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIoduyqrjMqG9VkfNhyI43pVpmGD9EOMoRO
March 31st —April is Autism Awareness, Acceptance & Appreciation Month
On December 18, 2007, the United Nations declared April 2nd to be World Autism Awareness Day, to be observed every year. In 1970, the Autism Society began spreading awareness about autism in the month of April and it is now recognized nationally. It is not enough to be aware of what autism is. We need to be accepting of the many gift autistic people have to share and appreciate the diversity they bring.
Zoom link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYucumtpj8rHdDoWa2LFxQZb3adW83bek0P
April 7th—Equity & Diversity—Law Enforcement & Community Services
People of color or of indigenous backgrounds, immigrants or LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans, Queer or other identities) experience racism and other systemic discrimination challenges. We need to ensure that justice and equity in services is a right afforded to everyone. Our state has passed legislation to work on police injustices, but much needs to be done in other areas such as schools, disability services, mental health needs, housing supports and more.
Zoom link to register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYof-6qqTkoGd1UkOskkNdBukXspEKnWt6Y