#AdvocacyMatters: Pushing Back, Pressing Forward
May 21, 2021 / #AdvocacyMatters
Each and every day, our DRO team members are working hard to advocate for people with disabilities. Through one-on-one work with individual clients, monitoring and investigating facilities, educating policy makers, and creating libraries of materials to ensure that every Ohioan with a disability has the tools and knowledge necessary to understand their rights and advocate for themselves. Our focus on this work will never waiver.
A proposed amendment to Ohio’s biennial budget presents dangerous, retaliatory complications that would jeopardize DRO’s ability to maximize our team’s work. This proposal would create an oversight committee of state legislators to examine DRO’s work, even though our organization is a nonprofit that receives no funding from the state. Our position as Ohio’s designated Protection and Advocacy agency can put us at odds with the state, and it’s worth noting that we’ve settled two landmark lawsuits in recent years. This bill presents a threat that could put our very existence in jeopardy, as it is a direct challenge to our independence.
The main issue that led us here is rooted in our federal authority to advocate for people with disabilities in facilities. As a core pillar of our work, helping those in facilities understand their rights to make informed decisions on where they live and receive services is something we’re incredibly proud of. Proponents of this retaliatory amendment falsely claim that we aren’t being transparent with our work. Our visits to facilities to discuss these options – either in-person or remote – are announced well in advance. In alignment with our simple belief that all people with disabilities have rights to understand and make decisions about their care, our first conversations will always be directly with them.
We are unapologetic in the life-changing work our team accomplishes. We’ll keep pushing back against this retaliatory measure as we press forward to realize our mission, because #AdvocacyMatters.