EASY ADVOCACY EFFORT
Do you have three minutes to spare? This week, it’s urgent for you to tell Congress to support disability services within the current budget negotiations.
ANCOR (a national association representing disability service providers) created a webpage to help you.
Simply enter your contact information, and the webpage will generate emails to your national Representatives and Senators.
Several UCP families tested the webpage, and they all said it was super simple to do!
Your engagement during this budget negotiation is crucial to ensure that people with disabilities continue to have access to the Medicaid-funded services they require. It is essential that your representatives in Washington hear directly from you, regardless of their prior involvement with disability issues. Your elected officials need to understand the significance of Medicaid-reliant supports and the importance of increased funding for their sustainability.
Please act today to let Congress know:
Together, we can strengthen the Medicaid program and ensure that millions of Americans continue to have access to the care they need. Your advocacy can make a tangible difference, and we deeply appreciate your commitment to supporting people with I/DD.
JOB OPENING: PERSONAL AGENT
Are you passionate about social justice? Would you love to work one-on-one with customers from diverse backgrounds and experiences, supporting them to live their best lives?
If so, UCP Oregon might have the perfect opportunity for you!
We are currently seeking a Personal Agent (Caseload Manager), who will work in one of our support services brokerages (“UCP Mentors”).
As a Personal Agent, you’ll support 36-40 adults to navigate the support services system; secure resources and services; and address their health and safety needs.
You’ll also advocate with (and for) your customers; manage intensive paperwork; monitor the quality of services; and ensure choice and independence.
You’ll be part of a team that is a collaborative, fun, and diverse.
After passing your introductory evaluation, you will have the opportunity to work a hybrid schedule (partially working from home).
Do you love to meet new people? Are you passionate about making a difference every day?
Then UCP Oregon might have the perfect job for you! We’re seeking a Recruiter & Onboarding Specialist.
You’ll be hiring for direct care positions—employees who work one-on-one with children or adults who experience a disability. You’ll also be hiring for caseload managers and the occasional mid- or upper-management position.
You’ll also oversee UCP’s onboarding process, ensuring that new employees have what they need to start in their new jobs.
After passing your 180-day introductory evaluation, you may be able to work a hybrid schedule (partially working from home).
We think all of us are beautiful people! And so does a local filmmaker named Zian Chavez.
Zian is making a documentary about the lives of people who experience disabilities, here in Portland and around the world. The film is entitled “We are the Most Beautiful People.”
UCP Oregon sponsored the documentary, and some UCP Oregon customers have been interviewed as a part of the project.
As the filmmaker, Zian says, "We live in a world that's centered on the rights and needs of non-disabled persons. Our documentary challenges the notion of beauty and centers on the lived experience of adults with disabilities. It will contribute to the disability justice movement, raise awareness and deconstruct norms embedded in cultures worldwide."
Zian says, “So many of the interviews we have already completed reveal the inequities that exist all around the world today.” The film will feature, among others:
Zian will be submitting an application to the Sundance Film Festival in the fall—so cool!
The film has an expected release date of December, 2023. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
There are more than 18 million Asian Americans in America today. More than 1.3 million of them experience some form of disability.
There are also 612,857 native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders living in the United States; almost 65,000 of them experience disabilities.
Ollie Cantos is a Filipino-American attorney who has been blind since birth. He successfully upheld anti-discrimination laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Help America Vote Act, and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. At one point, he was the highest-ranking person with a disability in the federal government.
Ollie reminds us that these battles are still being fought every day, saying, "As a society, yet again, we are at a critical crossroads. By coming together to amplify our voices, in the spirit of the great Mahatma Gandhi, we each get to BE the change we want to see."
What change do YOU want to be?
As you may know, April is Autism Acceptance Month.
Two employees of UCP Connections, Stephanie (Lead Personal Agent) and Glenna (Advocacy & Outreach Coordinator), compiled several great resources and quotes.
“Acceptance is an action. This means that autism acceptance is an active process that requires both a shift in thinking and in action.”
– Autistic Self Advocacy Network
“Autism awareness isn’t really necessary anymore. Sometimes neurotypical advocacy efforts end up being viewed by the Autistic community as parents looking to wear a badge for knowing someone with autism. Most people already know Autism exists. Autism Acceptance…now that’s something to advocate for. That’s what #RedInstead represents.”
AUTISM ACCEPTANCE MONTH 2023
It’s April, which means it’s “Autism Awareness Month.” It’s also “Autism Acceptance Month.”
As Autism Parenting Magazine writes, “Autistic people aren’t a monolith—everyone has their own preference for what terminology he/she/they finds empowering. Still, many support the shift from ‘awareness’ to ‘acceptance.’”
Self-advocate and blogger Lyric Holmans says, “Autism Awareness—knowing autistic people exist. Autistic Acceptance—accepting autistic people as they are, strengths and weaknesses. Autistic Pride—autistic people feeling safe & confident enough to have pride in their authentic neurodivergent selves.”
Self-advocate Kassiane S says, “Awareness is easy. Acceptance requires actual work.”
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network agrees, saying, “Acceptance is an action. This means that autism acceptance is an active process that requires both a shift in thinking and in action.”
Many other groups have also moved from “acceptance” to “awareness.” They include the Autism Society of America, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, the Autistic Women and Non-Binary Network, and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.
Whichever name you choose to use, we hope you’ll join us this month—and always!—by embracing neurodiversity.
Learn more here:
Did you know that March 25th is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day?
The nationally recognized holiday was created in 2006 by a non-profit parent advocacy group called “Reaching for the Stars.”
One way to make a difference on this day is to help spread awareness with your community.
Here are some facts you might like to share:
Here are some other simple ways to make a difference on National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day:
PS: Want even more CP facts? Check out this link.
HONORING JUDITH HEUMANN
March is Women's History Month, a time to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women throughout history.
It is also a time to recognize the unique challenges faced by women, including those with disabilities.
This week, we learned of the sad passing of Judith Heumann, one of the world’s most recognized disability advocates.
At the age of two, Judith contracted Polio and lost the ability to walk. When Judith attempted to start kindergarten, the principal physically blocked the family from entering the school, calling Heumann a “fire hazard.” Luckily, Judith’s mother fought for her daughter’s right to an education. Judith went on to graduate with a BA in 1969.
In the 1970’s, after battling the New York Board of Education, Judith became the first teacher in the state to use a wheelchair. Later in her career, she helped establish the Independent Living movement.
Judith also worked for the Clinton Administration and served as Assistant Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama. She worked for the World Bank and the State Department.
As she said,
When I was in the State Department, I took the bus to work every day, I traveled around the world, and I demonstrated what is possible. I think that sent an important message: Don’t assume my life is a tragedy or that disabled people have nothing to contribute. We are leaders, fathers, mothers, daughters, and sons, we are capable voters and contributors, and we are not invisible.
Judith also played a important role in the development of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In 2020, Judith was the star of a documentary, “Crip Camp” and also published a memoir, Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist.
Judith passed away on March 4, 2023. Armando A. Contreras (the President and CEO of the United Cerebral Palsy National organization) writes,
Our nation has lost one of its greatest champions in the fight for the civil and human rights of people with disabilities… Ms. Heumann lived life fully, fearlessly and zealously advocating to change society’s systemic social and physical barriers against people with disabilities. Her life’s work helped reshape and elevate the world’s view of what a person with a disability can achieve.
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH, 2023
Hey! Did you know that March is Women’s History Month?
As journalist Melissa Young says, “Women have been making history for centuries; for some, this was the only choice they had.”
Women with disabilities make history, too.
Melissa reminds us that, for many women who experienced disabilities “it was either live the way others expected them to or fight for the lives they knew they (and all people with disabilities) deserved.”
Famous women who experience/experienced disabilities include: