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Disability Rights Legislative Day 2021

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

Watch a recording from the Live Zoom for Disability Rights Legislative Day 2021.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of Disability Rights Legislative Day, when typically hundreds of people with disabilities and advocates gather at the capitol for a rally, then disperse to meet with their legislators. Due to the pandemic, this year’s event was held virtually, via Zoom Webinar on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Governor Mike Parson, various legislators, and some powerful disability advocates joined the Zoom rally. After the rally, advocates met virtually with their legislators to advocate on important disability issues

This year’s theme was “In This Together”, with sub-themes “Support Our Lives = Support Our Staff; Support Our Lives = Support Our Inclusion; Support Our Lives = Support Our Work”

DRLD opened with streaming slides of artwork by people with disabilities, and photos from previous rallies.

The Governor was first to speak, unveiling his proclamation of March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in the State of Missouri. The State Treasurer shared information about MO-ABLE savings accounts. Several legislators spoke about bills and efforts addressing the state budget, promotion of competitive employment for people with disabilities, and placing limits on restraint and seclusion in our public schools. One legislator dedicated his remarks to encouraging/inspiring self-advocacy. Two individuals with disabilities and their support staff spoke about the critical nature of their relationships.

Duane Andrew Haught, who found a job through BCFR’s IPS employment program, shared about his job and its importance to him. The day before the rally, buttons were delivered to legislators at the capitol, saying “I Support Disability Rights,” and they were asked to wear them on DRLD. During the rally, webinar host Cathy Brown (from Easterseals Midwest) shared a “Voter Voice” link with rally attendees, enabling hundreds of instantaneous email messages to legislators. After the rally, people participated in virtual meetings with some of our legislators including Martha Stevens, Chuck Basye and Cheri Toalson-Reisch.

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