#AdvocacyMatters: A Month of Awareness, A Year of Work

March 19, 2021 / #AdvocacyMatters

With each turn of the calendar page, it seems to bring a new day, week, or month of recognition to causes and campaigns across the globe. And, while increased awareness of noble causes worthy of attention is never a bad thing, the plot is lost if these moments aren’t taken advantage of to bring actionable change. In March, we recognize Development Disabilities (DD) Awareness Month. To our team, this period of recognition isn’t a time to stop and reflect… it’s a time to speak louder, push harder, and fight more effectively.

Every year, we engage with the communities we serve to establish goals and objectives for our work. Setting these priorities in the middle of a global pandemic presented new challenges, but also brought new opportunities. When our world ground to a halt last spring – tearing down our sense of normalcy with it – many opportunities for those with developmental disabilities to safely receive services evaporated. The ever-changing situation disrupted the lives of so many, and created new barriers for people who relied on access to day programs. We committed to systemic advocacy to address these problems, fighting for people with developmental disabilities to return to their services in a way that is safe for all.

As COVID-19 raged through Ohio’s long-term care facilities, we saw firsthand the urgent need to expand access to home and community based services for those who don’t want to live and receive services in congregate care settings. By partnering with our allies to form the Ohio Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) coalition, we amplified our opportunity to more quickly and adequately address this crisis. Further, we committed to systemic advocacy when it comes to Medicaid waivers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, seeking to improve the waiver process, especially for those in nursing facilities.

You see, this month of recognition isn’t a time where we step back and pat ourselves on the back. While we’re proud of the work we’ve done for Ohioans with developmental disabilities so far, we know there is so much more that needs done. From this March to next March, and every month in between, this is work we will continue to do… because #AdvocacyMatters, no matter what the calendar says.

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