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Advocacy

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What is disability advocacy all about? Which organizations are the key players in the disability rights arena? How can you keep abreast of "hot" legislation and issues, and where can you find up-to-date resources about them? Check these sites for information and resources.
 
Please note that the following web sites cover a broad range of advocacy issues. Resources for disability culture, news and legislation can be found under related subjects. Web sites that focus on advocacy for specific disabilities, legislation or issues (e.g. Americans with Disabilities Act, children, housing, education, personal care assistants) can be found under their specific topics. Web sites that focus on state or local advocacy can be found in The DRM Regional Resource Directory.
 
Advocacy Web Sites
The following websites provide information about how to advocate, advocacy issues and advocacy services, as well as information about the organizations that sponsor them.
 
 ADAwatch
New in 2001, "the ADA WATCH campaign is a nonprofit informational online network designed to activate the disability community's grassroots in response to threats to civil rights protections for people with disabilities." The site features "see this" and "do this" sections that highlight current events in need or watching or action, a link to a great tool for finding local and national media, and an opportunity to receive e-mail Action Alerts about the ADA or IDEA.
 
 ADAPT
ADAPT is a national grass-roots community that organizes disability rights activists to engage in nonviolent direct action, including civil disobedience, to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom.
 
 Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law[starred entry]
The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization for people with mental illness and mental retardation. Its web site includes current advocacy "alerts" as well as a wealth of advocacy resources relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act, child welfare, children's mental health services, choices in mental health treatment (advance directive), community services for older people, custody relinquishment to access mental health care, fair housing for people with disabilities, managed behavioral health care, Medicaid, mental health care, outpatient commitment, palliative care advocacy, and SSI for children.
 
 A Capital Idea! Successful Strategies for Getting What You Want from Government
An online guide from the American Foundation for the Blind Governmental Relations staff which takes you step-by-step through defining your issue, identifying the players, planning your strategy, forming alliances, meeting and communicating with legislators or regulators, and following up on your contacts. Must reading for serious advocates.
 
 Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)
CCD is "a coalition of approximately 100 national disability organizations working together to advocate for national public policy that ensures the self determination, independence, empowerment, integration and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society." Its web pages highlight legislative issues that concern its members and tasks forces, with related announcements and links.
 
 The Council for Disability Rights
This straightforward website includes an A.D.A. FAQ (for non-lawyers), "The CDR Guide to Disability Rights (and dealing with the system)," "A Parent's Guide to Special Ed / Special Needs," how to take action against structural barriers, voting resources & election information, and more.
 
 Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)
DREDF is "a national law and policy center dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities through legislation, litigation, advocacy, technical assistance, and education and training of attorneys, advocates, persons with disabilities, and parents of children with disabilities." Its web site includes legislative alerts and news bulletins as well as information about the organization.
 
 Electric Edge [starred entry]
This "online" edition of Ragged Edge, a hard-hitting print magazine for disability advocates, features selections from current and past issues.
 
 The New Civil Rights
This article by the noted disability writer Joseph P. Shapiro describes the birth and development of the disability advocacy movement. It originally appeared in Modern Maturity and is reproduced on the Polio Survivors' Page. [Editor's note: see our web page on the History of Disability for related resources.]
 
 Protection & Advocacy
The home page of the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS), an association of federally mandated programs ("P&As" and "CAPs") that protect the rights of persons with disabilities. The site provides a current listing of state programs as well as information about the organization.
 Security Administration Protection and Advocacy Program [starred entry]
The goal is to assist beneficiaries with disabilities in obtaining information and advice about receiving vocational rehabilitation and employment services. The program provides advocacy or other related services that beneficiaries with disabilities may need to secure, regain, or maintain gainful employment.
 
Other Organizations
The following organizations are also key players in the advocacy arena. Their websites are primarily devoted to information about themselves and their services.
 
 American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
Founded by five leaders in the disability rights movement, AAPD is "a non-profit, non-partisan, cross-disability organization whose goals are unity, leadership and impact." AAPD currently seems to focus on helping people with disabilities "move toward a consumer and economic power base" through financial services to its members. The web site provides information about the organization.
 
 Disability Awareness in Action (DAA)
DAA "has been providing information and resources to disabled people, particularly those in developing countries, since 1992." The organization focuses on disability as a human rights issue, rather than a medical or welfare issue. It is currently supporting a grassroots campaign to persuade the United Nations to pass a Convention on the Rights of Disabled People. Its web site contains information about the organization, the campaign, and related resources.
 
 Disabled People's Direct Action Network (DAN)
The Disabled People's Direct Action Network (DAN) is an activist civil rights group for people with disabilities in Great Britain.
 
 National Disability Party [added 4/1/01]
Information about a newly formed political party.
 
 TASH
TASH (formerly The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps) is "is an international association of people with disabilities, their family members, other advocates, and professionals fighting for a society in which inclusion of all people in all aspects of society is the norm." TASH's web site focuses on information about the organization and its chapters, although disability news, government briefs, and related material are also included.
 
Related Subjects
 Americans with Disabilities Act
 Disability Culture
 Disability News
 Legal Rights
 Self-Determination
 Telethon Protests [added 8/2001]
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