Make a Connection: People First and Organized Self-Advocacy

A group of people with developmental disabilities smiling at a park

We’ve posted a few blogs over the years describing what it means to be a self-advocate and why self-advocacy is so important. Everyone can be a self-advocate, but for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, becoming a self-advocate is even more important. People with disabilities have unique needs, challenges, strengths, and abilities. Self-advocates speak up about those challenges to drive positive change in their lives and the lives of others with disabilities.

Of course, everyone can be a self-advocate on their own, but there is power in numbers.

An organized movement of self-advocates

People First is a nationwide organization with numerous state chapters. Their goal? To provide a forum where self-advocates can organize and speak together about the issues most important to them.

“People First Wisconsin is a statewide self-advocacy organization for people with disabilities. By joining together in groups, individuals with disabilities learn to speak up for themselves, share ideas, friendships and information.” – People First Wisconsin

A place to take a stand

Along with providing a forum for people with disabilities to speak up and share their ideas with each other, the organization also publishes various position papers on the hot topics of the day that affect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is a powerful way for self-advocates to bring their concerns and ideas to lawmakers, because simply put, the more people you have supporting an idea, the more power you have.

Bringing the movement to life

One of the most effective ways People First and its partner organizations advocate for people with disabilities is through the Self-Determination YouTube Channel. The channel features regularly updated videos from four outspoken self-advocates, who describe themselves as, “a group of self-advocates with developmental or intellectual disabilities who believe self-determination is essential to living our best life–the life we all deserve.

We strongly encourage anyone with an interest in self-advocacy to subscribe to the Self-Determination channel and share their videos far and wide!

People First Wisconsin is just one example of an organization that is mobilizing self-advocates to advance positive change for people with developmental disabilities. Click here to find a People First chapter in your area.