What the U.S. Senate Needs to Hear from You


May 28, 2020 | by Jerome Palliser

What the U.S. Senate Needs to Hear from You

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

As disability advocates, we have heard many times from policymakers who tell us that their fight for people with disabilities was sparked by someone who shared their personal story about living with a disabilities. It’s clear that time and again, it sometimes takes just one person telling a really good story to get a policymaker to take action. We should never underestimate the power of our own stories.

Right now, the U.S. Senate is still working on considering the next steps for Covid-19 relief and recovery money. The U.S. House passed the Heroes Act, which contains several important opportunities for people with disabilities, but the Senate has delayed taking the Heroes Act up for consideration for a vote. How can we help the Senate move on this bill, you ask? Our answer: with the power of your stories.

As advocates, one of the most important ways to help people with disabilities this week is to share your disability story about community living with your U.S. Senators. You have two U.S. Senators, and you can look them and their contact info up at this link.

What stories do they need to hear? Well, first you should always share your name and where you are from, of course. Then you could share one or all of the following:

  • What do you need to live successfully in the community?
  • Why is good healthcare important so you can live in the community?
  • Why are housing opportunities important for you to live in the community?
  • Who are some of the people who help you live successfully in the community?
  • Why does community living matter to you, or your friends, or your family?
  • What are you most afraid of, if Congress does not help provide funds for community living?
  • How has Covid-19 affected your life in the community?

At the end of your story, be sure to ask them: “Please help support Medicaid funds for home and community based services, paid leave for support workers, funds for housing for people with disabilities, and PPE for both people with disabilities and our support persons.”

Thoughtful, individual stories to your U.S. Senators can have a very big impact. Our members of Congress get thousands of advocacy letters a day that are often fairly similar, but when they get one that has a personal touch, it gets their attention. Please consider writing your story and sending it to your two U.S. Senators TODAY.

Social media users are using the hashtag #WeAreEssential on Twitter and Instagram to let policymakers know why people with disabilities and our support persons should not be left behind in Covid-19 relief and recovery. Paraquad has a blog post at this link that share some ideas for potential posts.

For people who would like an online tool to help share their stories: the Arc of the United States has developed this online tool where you answer questions, and get help sending the answers to your U.S. Senators.