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  • http://www.mncdhh.org/faq/27/educational-interpreters-certification-in-minnesota This could be where we ask the participants what they’d do in this situation—maybe a quick group activity, then we can tell what we did here in minnesota.
  • Contacted MADC, disability advocacy groups, Dept. of Education, etc. Met with bill authors, both with MCDHH and MADC representatives. Had talking point sheet, historical information. Must be certfied Two year mentorship Had four interpreters when it passed, now over 300
  • 1. Post-testimony (House of Reps. Subcommittee meeting for budgeting) MCDHH director warned it was bad form for me to approach a representative during break, because then they could have the power to remove the audience. Also this is usually their time to have private meetings. This would have caused MCDHH to lose face.   2. Persistence * Selection for testimony=it is not over. * Have at least two deaf people in attendance for visibility * A friend and I arrived a bit late, and we were the only deaf people. We were tired, but as soon as the legislators arrived, we began chatting so that they could SEE that Deaf people were present. * The next day, a deafblind woman with her service dog and I attended, and we again made sure we were visible. The dog helped bring attention to the DeafBlind community.   3. Know Who You’re Talking To. * Mary, the interpreter and I tried to meet with people after the meeting to ask for support. * I didn’t know anyone, but Mary was great. She stopped me from approaching one individual at the wrong time and place, because his campaign opponent was there in the crowd. Saved face! * DFL Caucus was a nice way for me to know my representatives better. My presence showed that I was a constituent, and they remembered me easily. I also made sure to ask about one’s wife and son, because his wife introduced a bullying bill for their son.
  • Must be certfied Two year mentorship Had four interpreters when it passed, now over 300
  • * ZenMation, which had worked with this curriculum for other disability groups, contracted with TSW and DC for cultural, linguistic and captioning expertise Is comprehensive, FREE, and online. Has ASL and captioning Policy and advocacy decisions driven by the diverse stakeholders from the community. Conducted individual trainings and we couldn’t keep up Wanted to provide context and demystify the process
  • Module 1: Getting Started: This module explains how to complete Making Your Case. Module 2: Changing the System: This module explains advocacy and the characteristics of a successful advocate. It also explains how public policies are made and who makes them. Module 3: Building Your Case: In this module, you will learn the steps that are common to all successful advocacy efforts. Throughout the rest of the course, you will learn how these steps are applied to real situations. You also will identify your personal issue(s) and story, decide what you want a policymaker to do, and how to find supporting facts. Module 4: Making Your Case In Writing: In this section, you'll learn how to write effective letters and e-mails. You will also learn about social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. Module 5: Making Your Case In Person: In this section, you’ll learn how to communicate with policymakers in person. You'll learn when it’s best to meet individually and how to make the most of the meeting. You’ll also learn how to testify before a legislative committee. Module 6: Keeping It Going: In this section, you'll learn to build relationships with people who have the power to help improve the system. You’ll also learn how to work with others in your community to organize and tackle larger issues within the system. Module 7: Conclusion: In this section, everything you have learned so far will be tied together. You’ll receive a completion gift and can request a certificate of completion.
  • Will not cover all, only 1.5 hours. An effective advocacy process includes these 10 steps: Identify Your Issue. Changing your world begins with knowing what needs to change and why. Develop Your Story. A strong, compelling personal story makes an issue come alive and stays with the policymaker long after you’ve left the room or your letter was read. Define Your Request. Decide exactly what you want the policymaker to do. This will guide every action you take. Get the Facts. Information is power. Find facts that support your request. Find Allies. You’ll get more done and get your message to more people if you work with others who share your dream. Get to the Right Person. Find out who has the authority to change the situation, then focus your efforts on convincing that person that your vision is important. Choose Your Tactics. Letters and e-mails? Twitter messages? A letter to the editor? There are dozens of ways to get your message across. Decide how you want to communicate before you take action. Create a Detailed Plan. A detailed plan makes sure you’re communicating the right message to the right people in the right way at the right time. Take Action. A plan is only as good as its execution. Knowing when and where to take action is important. Keep It Going. There’s strength in numbers. If you’re not happy with your results, organize a community campaign.
  • Designed for: Self-advocates Parents and family members Direct care workers Service providers Professionals
  • You probably thought that the second version was much more interesting. And, it is because it’s more personal. You know the boy’s name and you know that he is creative and smart. You also know that the system isn’t helping him to prepare for the future. You’ll find success is in the details, and they are easier and more likely to be remembered.
  • In fact, 99% of Congressional staff members believe that personal meetings influence policymakers’ decisions. FOLLOW UP!!!! With a thank-you note
  • Will not go through each and every point, but want to show you the list for reference.
  • Compelling testimony from students from the academy Chief author was a strong advocate and had been the chief author of Caption bill.House author was blind and gave compelling testimony
  • Country’s first Chief Information Accessibility Officer Click on Capitol Accessibility Series
  • BRIEF mention due to time
  • One of our testifiers couldn’t show up because of a snow storm. The family had a beautifully written story and they attached pictures to the testimony and distributed it while the bill was being heard. It reallly popped out and made an impression.
  • Be prepared. Do as much evidence-based research you can so you can respond to policymakers’ questions about your cause. If you are not sure what all the facts are, go and find them. Avoid being negative and focus on the solution. When making your case, show how your solution will make the situation better. Focus on the issues, not personalities. Don’t take decisions made by policymakers or the arguments that your opponents make personally. Your opponents believe that they are right too. Your reputation is important. Make sure that the sources of information you use are reliable. If you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest and offer to find the answer. Be polite even if you disagree. You never know when you will need to work with policymakers again. They may have opponents to your cause in their district and they have to listen to them too. Be patient with the process. Just because your bill or the change you propose didn’t happen the first time, don’t give up. Persistence pays off. Know who your opponents are. Know what your opposition thinks; be able to respond to their questions and challenges about your cause. It’s all about relationships. Try to have positive relationships, even with your opponents. Everyone likes to be thanked. Find simple or creative ways to thank policymakers personally and publicly. Be generous. When you are successful, make sure you share the credit. You are making change for your community. Share the success with others and the policymakers who are championing your cause. Continue to communicate. Don’t just go to policymakers when you need something. Let them know how the solution they helped you to achieve is helping you. They like knowing that they made a difference. In the future you may need their help and they might need yours. Make sure you are registered to vote.  Voter registration is public information and the legislator may check to see if you are registered.  As a registered voter, they will know that you exercise your right to vote.  Helping their constituents is important to them. Helping those who vote is how they keep their jobs.
  • A group had been meeting for years to try to make voluntary compliance work. When the governor a the time decided not to do support a mandate, thecommunity came together and wrote the legislation. We sat a a table and put in Everything that JCIH said should be part of a successful plan. 14 bills 28 authors. Lots of testimony. Got to know lots of legislators. our state was in the bottom of 5 in our identification and reporting of babies hearing levels.
  • This was a real piece of legislation Students testified that they felt more safe with a bus driver who signed A principle who was Deaf and had his PhD said that the hearing teacher’s aids could drive the minivans but he couldn’t The law was changed to exempt drivers from the federal requirement for a physical for commercial drivers.
  • especially when it isn’t session.
  • Trudy your experience with the Democracy Now Fund


  • 1. MakingYour Case Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing MinnesotansWith MCDHH Executive Director Mary Hartnett and Trudy Suggs of T.S. Writing Services
  • 2. 2Purpose of Presentation Build on the great success of Massachusetts- ASL Laws, Interpreter Laws, Telecommunications, Preventing Budget Cuts, Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights Learn about the Minnesota Experience and apply lessons learned from case studies Learn the skills and strategies needed to increase influence in public policy
  • 3. 3What is Public Policy?o Public policy is the set of decisions that we make at every level of government about how money is spent and the rules we live by.
  • 4. Congratulations on Your 4Recent SuccessNot only have did you prevent budget cuts, but this year you are asking for money to be restored!
  • 5. Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind andHard of Hearing Minnesotans(MCDHH) Is a governor-appointed commission advocating for and with people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing Successful advocacy happens:  By people themselves  Through alliances  With clear and driven goals
  • 6. 6How we operate Policy and advocacy goals set by diverse stakeholders in the community who drive the process. Develop a strategic plan every 5 years: survey, interview key stakeholders and hold focus groups. Priorities set, plan developed. Legislative proposals presented and reviewed yearly.
  • 7. 7Examples of Legislation EHDI Mandate  Funds for transition program for transition aged youth. Deaf Mentors for Families  Minnesota Employment Center for Parent Guides for Familes Deaf and Hard of Hearing Hearing aid loaner bank  Technology Standards Mandated Coordinator in Dept of  Captioning for Greater MN Education for children birth to 3  Candidates who receive public Mandate for data collection on financing must caption their ads outcomes for d/hh/db kids and and improvement plan
  • 8. Example Minnesota educationalinterpreter certification law:Background 1994: Educational interpreting law  Seven years for implementation  From 4 to over 300 interpreters  School districts and some interpreters resisted. 2007: A Deaf person requests removal of language
  • 9. Minnesota educational interpretercertification law: Strategies Strategies:  Establish clear goals  Meet with each legislator and bill author  Check with all stakeholders  Meet with union representative Result: SUCCESS!
  • 10. Testifying: What worked? Understand the rules  Approaching legislators Be persistent  Be visible during hearings Know who you’re talking to  Learn about legislators and their backgrounds
  • 11. Lessons learned:Educational interpreting law Always have an eye—or 20—on existing and new legislation. Ensure all parties involved have accurate information. Have solid alliances and networks in place. Know who to contact. Be prepared.
  • 12. Making Your Case course Produced by MNCDHH Created by ZenMation  T.S. Writing Services  Digiterp Communications Signed by Deaf narrators Is based on curriculum for other disability groups Contains seven modules  Information  Activities  Case studies
  • 13. Let’s get started! Module 1: Getting Started Module 2: Changing the System Module 3: Building Your Case Module 4: Making Your Case in Writing Module 5: Making Your Case In Person Module 6: Keeping It Going Module 7: Conclusion
  • 14. Ten-step advocacy process• Identify your issue. • Get to the right person.• Develop your story.• Define your • Choose your request. tactics.• Get the facts. • Create a detailed plan.• Find allies. • Take action. • Keep it going.
  • 15. Course objectives Understand how public  Write effective letters and policy is made and who e-mails makes it  Conduct meetings with Understand the advocacy policymakers process and apply it to your situation  Give effective testimony and answer questions Tell your story in writing  Work with others to tackle and in person community issues Know how to identify the policymakers who can help bring about the changes you need
  • 16. How to tell your story:Which is better? Option 1: My son needs more special education services. OR Option 2: My creative, inquisitive son Mickey is deaf. He’s a math whiz but he can’t explore ways to use this because there is a math club at his school but the school won’t provide an interpreter for this after-school activity.
  • 17. What’s your story? A good story:  Introduces you and your family.  Focuses on one thing.  Explains your situation.  Has enough details to make it interesting.  Includes only information that relates to the situation or your goal.  Reminds the policymaker that you are a constituent.  Captures your emotion and passion for an issue.  Asks for a specific action to correct the situation.
  • 18. Face-to-face meetings 99% of Congressional staffers believe personal meetings influence decisions.1 Ask for support. Explain your case. Personalize an issue by sharing your story. Educate the policymaker. Invite the legislator to be involved. Respond to and/or evaluate the policymaker’s stance. 1 Source: Communicating with Congress: How Capitol Hill is Coping with the Surge in Citizen Advocacy http://www.cmfweb.org
  • 19. Providing testimony Be prepared.  Request a specific action. Meet with interpreters  Have a written version beforehand. available. Keep it short.  Do not read straight from your paper. Follow protocol. State your position upfront,  Don’t repeat other people’s comments if possible. then restate it. Personalize the issue.  Watch meetings and hearings in advance to get Use facts. an idea.
  • 20. Accessible E-government 20services Videos produced by the state not  As e-government services captioned. increased, employment for people with disabilities in state Live-streamed legislative hearings government decreased over a 10- were not captioned. year period, from 10% to 4% Documents and software for  Met with IT and employees with citizens and state employees disabilities. were not accessible to blind and DB.  Governor didn’t support the change. The state online job application site was not accessible.
  • 21. 21Results Making Your Case Health Care Rights Video  Funds for live captioning online for legislature Capitol Accessibility Series http://www.mncdhh.org/capitol-  Funds for state CIO access/#access-ASLVideo  Funds to teach how to make Video Captioning Essentials products accessible Accessible Word Webinar  Received funds for ASL video production- a WCAG 2.0 Accessible Website Webinar requirement
  • 22. Keep it going Keep the Ways to organize the momentum going community: Register to vote  Coalitions  Media Participate in  Internet community  Rallies organizing  Petitions  Communications Stay updated  Public hearings  Political involvement
  • 23. 23Recent examples Medicaid coverage for outpatient mental health services for deaf youth We notify of email: http://www.mncdhh.org Vlog http: Twitter Facebook
  • 24. Reminders for workingwith policymakers Be prepared.  Be patient with the process. Avoid being negative and focus on the  Know who your solution. opponents are. Focus on the issues, not  Be generous. personalities.  Continue to Your reputation is communicate. important.  Make sure you are Be polite even if you registered to vote. disagree.
  • 25. 25EHDI Deaf Mentors EHDI Mandate EDHI Committee must have deaf members EHDI Coordinator Department of Ed Hearing Aid Loaner Bank Parent to Parent Guides
  • 26. Group activity: Signing busdrivers Group A: Argue in favor of requiring bus drivers to be fluent in ASL and/or having a supervisor on the bus Group B: Argue against this requirement Be sure to:  Discuss strategies  Identify allies and opponents
  • 27. 27Training Legislative staff Every two years we train legislative staff on how to make the capitol accessible to people who are deaf Training on Deaf Culture, how best to communicate with people who are hard of hearing and deafblind They love it!
  • 28. 28Civic Engagement Each election year we apply for and receive funds for voter out reach from the Secretary of State Voter Registration Drives Deaf, Hard of Hearing Day at the Twins/Voter Registration Collaborate with nonprofits to provide captions/interpreters for candidate debates DeafBlind Vote Ride You Decide video on the Secretary of State’s site
  • 29. Thank Legislators 29and Staff Awards Thank you notes Often It makes a big difference Invite them to your events and recognize them there
  • 30. THANK YOU! www.mncdhh.org/makingyourcase www.youtube.com/mncdhh www.facebook.com/mcdhh www.twitter.com/mncdhh