Voices Heard in Albany
(From left to right) Loretta, YAI Self Advocacy President Janice, Lee, Kevin, Kisha, and Jennifer in front of the Capitol Building
On February 11, a group of 47 people including people we support, YAI self advocates, family members, and staff braved the cold weather and took the trip to Albany to join the New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation in advocating for the needs of people with disabilities.
Upon arriving in Albany, the group from YAI received a briefing from Queens Regional Director David O'Keefe and Chief Program Officer Ravi Dahiya. Everyone then headed downtown to dinner and to discuss advocacy objectives. The group as a whole decided our efforts should focus on the #bFair2DirectCare campaign. This campaign is to remind state leaders that the nearly 100,000 DSPs who work for nonprofit agencies do this work on behalf of the state. Each person in the group shared how much they appreciated the hard work of direct support professionals.
On February 12, the group headed over to the Capitol Building to rally in support of the #bFair2DirectCare campaign and demanded ongoing funding to ensure staff is fairly compensated. YAI was by far one of the largest groups there. YAI representatives presented so impressively that leaders at the New York Alliance got in contact with YAI Self Advocacy President Janice McPhillips and family members Theresa and Albert Muga to see if they can speak at future rallies and advocacy events.
Special thanks to the YAI staff who took lead in each region to make sure the self advocates had proper support to travel safely and confidently speak up.