SABE Region 8

Maine

Speaking Up For Us from Maine

The SUFU self-advocates of Maine have been busy to improve situations for all people, on the national, state and local level.

On the national level, self-advocates from two local groups contacted the offices of their US Senators, Snow and Collins to ask for an extension of the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP).  They also sent a letter to SABE to protest the intrusive security measures of the TSA and asked SABE to take action on behalf of people with disabilities.

On the state level, self-advocates held regional meetings with workshops and networking opportunities in each of its six regions in Maine.  The Disability Rights Center of Maine, and SUFU were picked to receive the Project Vote training, and they held Project Vote workshops to teach people about voting rights and procedures.  SUFU also wrote a letter of support for SABE to receive more grant money to continue Project Vote in other states. Self-advocates attended a Gubernatorial Forum and asked disability related questions of the candidates running for Maine’s governor. SUFU self-advocates also attended an emergency preparation conference  where they gave feedback about what people with disabilities would need in a shelter during a disaster. In addition, they went to two employment summits, one hosted by APSE, the other by the State of Maine.

On the local level, around 20 self-advocacy groups met either weekly or monthly throughout the state.  In those meetings, they received the latest news, trainings of their choice, decided on which SUFU’s goals and objectives they wanted to work on, and invited legislators and other guests as either speakers or listeners.

In this new year, SUFU of Maine will be working on legislative issues since Maine’s legislature has very much changed after November’s elections.

Last updated January 2011


Vermont

Green Mountain Self-Advocates
Green Mountain Self-Advocates worked on a Respectful Language Bill.   The bill recently passed.  The purpose of the bill is to look at language in current state law.  Any words that describe persons with disabilities will be changed.  For example, words like: Mental-R#tardation, Idiot, imbecile, Moron, Lunatic are no longer acceptable to persons with disabilities.  This was a great success to Green Mountain Self-Advocates.  The signing of the Respectful Language Bill happened with our Governor.  The next step is to have a committee that will look into the current state law and replace any demeaning language.  GMSA will have 3 representatives on board the committee.  This is a great success to GMSA.  

Larry Bissonnette and Tracy Thresher, two Vermonters who use facilitated communication, starred in a documentary movie called “Wretches & Jabberers”.  In the movie, they travel around the world to connect with other Facilitated Communication users. Their message: there is more than one way to communicate, not just speaking.  Larry and Tracy were the keynote speakers at GMSA’s 13th annual Voices & Choices Conference.  Despite a budget shortfall, nearly 500 people attended.   There were 22 workshops run by self-advocates themselves.  As usual, self-advocates loved the dinner and the BIG dance!

Right now, we have two high students currently doing internships for GMSA.  They both use Augmentative Communication.  They both worked hard on the respectful language bill that recently passed.  These are our future leaders being given a head start on becoming involved in self-advocacy.  Involving youth is a key to self-advocacy.  They bring enthusiasm to the movement and this is a great example of that.

Last updated August 2011


New Hampshire

People First of New Hampshire

People First of New Hampshire members expressed their individual concerns over the possible budget cuts to their services and to their lives.  They wrote letters to their representatives and also posted them on their spring newsletter.  Members shared their stories about how budget cuts would affect their lives.

The NH Alliance for Full Participation (NHAFP) is organized by People First of NH with members from C.O.R.E. Vocational Services, Bureau of Developmental Services and individuals who are either employed or underemployed. The current focus of the NHAFP is to promote employment for people who experience disabilities. The NHAFP has organized a Spring Employment Series of 4 trainings. The Spring Employment Series is happening now until June.  Over 30 participants are engaged in this series including individuals, parents, job developers/coaches and support staff to network around employment dreams, goals and planning.

One of the local chapters, Lakes Region Self-Advocacy Group (LRSAG) has been working to get the Laconia State Cemetery fixed-up and respectable.  The Cemetery is where residents of Laconia State School are buried but it is unsightly and disrespectful.  As a result of LRSAG advocacy, many people throughout the state are now taking action.   New granite markers will replace the existing concrete and vinyl markers; a new fence will be replace the broken one and landscaping will be done to improve the appearance of the cemetery.

Institutions: Close Them! continues to be the #1 goal for People First of New Hampshire with action taken in Texas this past spring and future action in Massachusetts with Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong.

Last updated August 2011


Massachusetts

Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong (MASS)

SABE UP DATE

1.    New officers

2.    Conference Planning Committee busy planning for our 15th conference!

3.    MASS has new trainings: Explore, Prepare, Act (our employment training) and Awareness and Action, both which hire self-advocates as trainers.

4.    Western MA conference:

5.    What happened on retreat

6.    MASS just had its 5 year contract renewed

What else is MASS doing?

7.    Pick out Person to carry state flag at SABE conference.

Last updated January 2013

 


Rhode Island

A video was posted on the website.  The name of the video is “A message from Advocates in Action”.   The video was made to speak up to their legislators about make cuts in developmental services for adults with developmental disabilities.   It was also made do outreach to the community and other self-advocates.    It’s a great video, so check it out at www.aina-ri.org.  Click on the, “A message from Advocates in Action” link.

The news in terms of services for peeps who have a DD is NOT GOOD. The state budget just passed with massive cuts to DD services. The state says that a new system for funding, etc with services will help save, so the cuts won’t be as big as people are saying, but they are still HUGE.

There will be some public forums over the summer that the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities hosts to collect the concerns of people who have a disability. They collect all the testimony and report it to the governor, legislature, etc. We’ll be at those speaking up!  On a more positive note, we has another 14 people graduate from our Leadership Series! Info here: http://www.advocatesinaction.org/leaders.php.

Last updated August 2011


New York

We have many of our members recovering from Hurricane Sandy. Our people in the Hudson Valley, Long Island and New York City were hit quite hard. It will take them a few more days to get back.

We just had our statewide conference Ride the Waiver Our Voice Our Choice at the Albany Marriott. We had about 800 people come. There were 30 focus groups and workshops. We gave out our annual awards and had many good speakers. We had a march out to the street it’s themes were Ride the Waiver and Willowbrook. We a great keynote address from Tracie and Larry from the movie ‘Wretches and Jabbers’.

Our new officers were elected in September. They are Cathy Loquercio- President, Chshone Bailey and Larry Green- Co-Vice Presidents, Chris Paronis-Secretary and Luis Lopez-Treasurer. Robert Klein has become Immediate Past President and David Liscomb has become an adviser to the Executive Committee. These great advocates will work very hard for us over the next year.

In July, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities {OPWDD} consolidated the statewide regions and we are reorganizing our regions so that we can continue our advocacy efforts with regional state leadership.

We continue to be involved in many waiver committees and lots of other things. In conclusion you can see we have been very busy.

Submitted by Clint Perrin

Last updated January 2013


 Connecticut

No new information