Throughout history advocacy has transformed the way that people with disabilities are regarded and supported.
The laws and policies that protect the rights of people with disabilities, and the services that support their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, exist today because individuals, families and others have spoken out and taken action to ensure that all people have equal opportunities to achieve their goals as valued members of society.
The disability system has evolved over time to better serve the people we support and their families because advocates have voiced their needs, ideas and concerns to influence the development and delivery of services. Disability policies, laws and service models continue to change in response to new financial, political and social realities. The need to advocate has never been greater.
Join us in advocating to sustain the progress we have made as a field, and to continue to protect the rights and the services that are important to all of us.
Learn how to communicate with government officials to effectively advocate for the policies and programs that are important to you by checking out the American Network of Community Options and Resources' Advocacy Toolkit.
Reach out to your elected officials at the federal, state and local level at any time so they can get to know you and understand why it is important to protect services people you care about. Start by finding your representatives:
The most powerful advocates are those who are passionate about an issue, and often people who understand it from personal experience.
People who participate in YAI Network programs advocate in a variety of ways throughout the year to raise awareness about issues that are important to them.
YAI Network self-advocates speak with government officials in support of policies and programs that support people with disabilities, help spread the word to end the “r-word”, partner with the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State, educate staff about their needs and rights, and participate on various committees and boards to guide agency activities.
Self-advocacy groups are active throughout our network in Long Island, New York City and Westchester, with new groups developing in New Jersey and Rockland County.
Learn more about the activities, histories and priorities of these groups by visiting the YAI Self Advocates In-Action Newsletter page.