Brc Plain Advocating Elected Officials6 2011 Handout


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Communicating directly with your elected officials about issues can make a difference and participate in the political process. Engagement in community affairs and public policy requires accessible tools and strategies. Typically people with intellectual disabilities and those with low literacy have been excluded from having a voice in public policy that impact their lives and the future of their communities.BRC has developed an easy to use video and workbook on specific ways to advocate and tips on how to engage and maintain civic participation. The full length video and workbooks can be viewed on the BRC website/library.

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Brc Plain Advocating Elected Officials6 2011 Handout

  1. 1. Civic EngagementLegislative Advocacy Mark Starford Stockholm 2011 Plain Language Tools 1
  2. 2. Advocating with your Elected Officials We Believe Method We know Outcome We We developed learned 2
  3. 3. Civic Engagement/Advocacy WeBelieve People Democracy requires active participation. “The people’s voice” is important in the political decision-making process. Advocacy with elected officials is one of the fundamentals of a democratic society. 3
  4. 4. Civic Engagement/Advocacy WeBelieve People People need knowledge and skills to be effective and heard by their elected officials. Many with intellectual disabilities and low literacy are disenfranchised from the political system due to lack of understanding. Clear and accessible information facilitates greater engagement in the advocacy process. 4
  5. 5. Civic Engagement/AdvocacyWe know People with low literacy and those with intellectual disabilities are less likely to advocate and vote. People must advocate and engage in the political process to avoid human rights abuse. Legislative Advocacy Project Increase number of community members engaged in meaningful interaction with elected officials. 5
  6. 6. BackgroundWe know Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities The UN Treaty ensures people with disabilities and people without disabilities are treated equally. Article 21 Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information Provide information intended for the public to persons with disabilities in accessible formats they can understand and use. 6
  7. 7. BackgroundWe know Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Article 29 Participation in political and public life Equal political rights and opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others. … Ensure materials are appropriate, accessible, easy to understand and use. 7
  8. 8. Background Welearned Nearly 25% adults, with and without disabilities, have difficult time reading basic signs and labels. Nearly 53% (Los Angeles) working-age adults cannot read well enough to use a bus schedule or complete a job application. People with disabilities and/or low literacy are typically marginalized and removed from the political system. Limited or no voice - people speak for them Lack knowledge - effective ways to advocate 8
  9. 9. Advocacy Made EasyDevelop Advocating with your Elected Officials Objectives: Easy-to-use advocacy tool Individual/small group process Designed by-and-for intended group Sustainable approach Outcomes: Increased engagement with elected officials. Lead others by example 9
  10. 10. 3 - StepsMethod Identify The end-user Key consultants, designers (end-users) Accessible strategy (Think-Plan-Do) Develop Multi-media approach Sequenced learning Web based and group orientation formats Verify Community focus groups Field-test, Revise, Apply 10
  11. 11. Advocacy ToolsOutcome Easy-to-use Workbook: Sending an email or letter Meeting with elected official Calling elected official Companion Video: Illustrate/narrate each step 11
  12. 12. Advocacy ToolsOutcome Interactive Website Elected Officials Training Video Links to legislation Group training slides 12 Workbook
  13. 13. Collaborative, flexible approaches that assist individuals, groups and Training and technical tools to increase access to new ideasorganizations assure inclusive decision making, policy development and resources that create natural community experience,and service delivery using plain language and accessible formats, relationships and collaborative partnerships.person/user-centered commitment to make complex ideas simple.BRC provides a library of tools that assist individuals and Facilitation and tools that lead to greater connectionsorganizations support people they serve to live quality self- and active membership for individuals and their familiesdetermined lives and contribute to their communities. They are in neighborhood communities, agency-to-agencyorganized in three categories: Include, Connect, Transform and are collaboration, public/private cooperation that enhancefree of charge. agency effectiveness. BRC produces periodic newsletters that feature new trends, Training and facilitation for organizations to assist strategies and our new public domain print and digital media with system transformation. BRC acts as a coach and tools. BRC self-advocate advisors share data they collect surveying support team to encourage new ways of thinking about community members about employment, community life and mission fulfillment and service. ways to access natural supports. Mark Starford, Director