I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
Hard to believe those 6 months can go so fast. I am now a graduate of the inaugural Partners in Policymaking class in Wisconsin.
Here is the press release: http://thewheelerreport.com/releases/June12/0620/0620bpdd.pdf.
Here is a photo of my class: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151851838365444&set=a.10150240640375444.481016.231731545443&type=3&theater
What started out in January as a group of self-advocates and parents, all with different stories to tell, all with different life experiences, all from different parts of the State, transformed into an active and vocal group of individuals sharing one message through individual stories.
The last 6 months in Wisconsin have been very politically charged. This offered us the immediate opportunities to put into practice what we had been studying. For most of us, we thrown into the fire, but each of us came out OK. Nobody crash and burned.
We had our successes, Lifting of the Family Caps, Seclusion & Restraint, Eliminating the “R” word, Accessible Text books and non-passage of the Special Education Voucher Bill. We did not do this alone; there were many advocates all over the State, but we were a part of it. We testified before various Legislative committees, we spoke to our State Legislators, we wrote letters to the editors and we wrote blogs.
While most of the final Partners in Policymaking Session were spent looking back and celebrating, we did take time to continue to learn. We watched a TED Video about the “Dangers of a Single Story” (http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html). We spent a considerable amount of time talking about how we can better tell our story and remove the stereotypes that individuals with disabilities face. TED videos have some very good stories.
We heard from Michael Bare from Community Advocates (http://communityadvocates.net/) on the Affordable Care Act.
After all was said and done, we received our Certificates. With each certificate, we were given a Presidential Quote, something that the instructors thought of us individually. Mine was from all people Ronald Reagan. “I don’t know. I’ve never played a Governor”. It was chosen for me because I have dabbled a little bit in local politics. On a side note, I along with one other classmate were voted the most likely to run for political office.
I want to thank our instructors, Lynn, Lisa and John. I want to thank all of the great speakers throughout the class. From national speakers to local speakers who have been a part of the disability movement in Wisconsin from the beginning. Most importantly I want to thank my fellow classmates for sharing their stories with me. In order from the directory; Jason, Eric, Lori, Gary, Sofia, Terri, Jenny, Mechele, Lisa, Pilar, Mary Lynn, Pam, Jeremiah, Tammie, Joanne, Patti Jo, Heidi, Melissa, Madeline, Barry, Danielle, David, Rick, Travis, Dana, Penny, Vanessa, Genell and Paula. We are a force to be reckoned with starting today.
If you are interested in applying to become a member of the Second Partners in Policymaking class applications can be found on the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities website. http://wi-bpdd.org/projects/partnersinpolicymaking/index.cfm