As many of you know, we took to the Capitol again for the #Speak4Justice Rally! We gathered with thousands of people from across California to let our voices be heard! It was an enthusiastic group to say the least. Denny Amudson, former Director of the Department of Developmental Services, commented that he could “feel the energy in the room.” It started at 10:00am and by 10:20am Crest Theater was packed out with people listening in the lobby and outside the theater. Tony Anderson, of the Arc of California, greeted us with this charge, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not part of a very powerful group.” And with that, the theater erupted and I’m sure they heard us at the Capitol.
Santi Rogers, who is the current Director of the California Department of Developmental Services, spoke and reminded us what Frank D. Lanterman fought for: “An Individual Plan created by the person who is impacted by the plan. A plan, that guarantees that throughout the whole course of your life an avenue of services, and in that you have the right to disagree. There is no act exactly like [the Lanterman Act] in the United States, and it is only as good as the people who continue to advocate for it.”
Rick Rollins who is a Consultant and Lobbyist for Association of Regional Center Agencies as well as a parent of a child with a disability, commented on the uniqueness of our population and the fact that we are just going to keep growing: “285,000 this year and 300,000 next year, and on and on.” So what is the hold up? “Why is the governor and legislature not responding to the need to back-fill the billion dollars in cuts?”
Esme Grant came from Washington, D.C to advocate on our behalf. She is the Senior Director of Government Relations for ANCOR (The American Network of Community Options and Resources). She is a federal voice for our community and represents a lot of providers. She raises awareness of the issues we face in this arena with Congress & the President. She also has a brother and sister who receive Regional Center services in California. She is one of us and we were thankful to have her marching with us!
Tony Anderson said it from the start: “This is going to be a historic day for our community.” He was definitely right! Once the Rally at Crest Theater wrapped up, we took to the Capitol. Hundreds of people made their way down K Street on a mission to be heard! We witnessed hundreds of people advocate for their rights and their freedom. We watched people take the stand in front of the Capitol and cry out for their livelihood. If Jerry Brown wasn’t listening before, I’m sure he is now. We can only hope that he will #keepthepromise.
There is still time to advocate. Please go to Facebook and Twitter with this message, “Every voice counts!” Contact your local legislatures. Contact Jerry Brown. As Santi Rogers said, the Lanterman Act is “only as good as the people who continue to advocate for it.”
TIME IS RUNNING OUT! WE MUST CONTINUE TO DO OUR PART TO GET THE MESSAGE ACROSS.
HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Take to Social Media! Check out what we have done on our Facebook page here or our twitter page here. Share, retweet or create your own posts. This is not a time to back down or stay silent. You will be directly impacted by what the legislatures decide so please make your concerns known.
Contact your legislatures by going here!