Do A Lot, Do a Little…Every Little Bit Helps #SaveMedicaid
Do A Lot, Do a Little…Every Little Bit Helps #SaveMedicaid
We continued to talk about other ways to make a difference. Now I should note that two weeks later I got a call from her then boyfriend/now husband who told me that she had just formed a new student organization called “Access Now! Dammit!” My shy, introverted daughter went on to form coalitions and alliances with a broad coalition of students and anyone else who join to look at wheelchair access and demand that their university make changes.
Did she chain herself to a door? Well, mostly she used the skills she had strengths in: writing, coalition building, one on one conversations and a commitment to justice. Did she sometimes take part in what the activist world calls an ‘Action’—meaning a sit in or some other form of more tangible protest? Yes. Sometimes. She refused to receive a leadership award publicly when the venue was inaccessible and instead sat in solidarity with others with mobility impairments who watched from closed circuit television in the basement. I was there that day and was delighted to see other students as well as faculty join them in the basement.
But that wasn’t her main role. She was often part of the team meeting in administrator offices, offering up solutions, presenting demands. They were a small but mighty group of dedicated students! By the end of her 4 years there they had accomplished their main goals of getting front door accessibility to the student center and a lift for wheelchair users up to the art and piano studios on the second floor of the art building whose classrooms could not be easily moved. I am proud of the legacy she and her team left.
So what is your role?
We each have a different amount of time, energy, skills and talents to dedicate to any cause. Right now, we critically need ANY thing you can contribute to #SaveMedicaid. Remember, no one goes it alone, we are all connected and together we are better. Here are some ideas how you can help:
- What can you do in 5 minutes? First and foremost, share your story. Call, email and fax your legislators. Tell them how Medicaid supports you and your children. Remind them that children grow up and still need supports. A list of contact information can be found at usa.gov/elected-officials. You can also download fax or text apps to your phone to make contacting legislators quick and easy!
- What can you do in 15 minutes? Record a video. Film a short 1-2 minute video from your phone. You can do it at home, in the office, or while at lunch. Ideas for your video: Who you are, Where you are from, Why saving Medicaid is important/what it does for you and your family/how would cuts impact you, Call for Senators to work on a bi-partisan solution to health care. Post your video to social media using #USSpeaksOut. You’ll be joining families across the country who are advocating to #SaveMedicaid
- What can you do in 30 minutes? Donate some time and make some phone calls. Watch for opportunities to do calling for different organizations. Most organizations now have the technology for you to call from home, they provide a script and list of phone numbers; you provide the time and effort to make the calls!
Do you have more than an hour of time? Here are more ideas for you:
- Do you write well? Write a letter to the editor or an Opinion piece and submit it to your local paper. Check out our Parenting with Altitude Blog or P2P Mom Kelly Stahlman’s writing in The Coloradoan for ideas. Information on how to write an effective letter Check here for a list of local Colorado newspapers. Search for “Submit letter to the editor” for instructions on how to send your letter.
- Do you use social media? Follow Parent to Parent of Colorado, Association for University Centers for Disabilities, Colorado Cross Disability Coalition, Disability Scoop, Family Voices, the various Arcs on Facebook. Share their posts. Invite your network to watch their live feeds. Tag news organizations, Tweet and retweet, post to Instagram. Create a Pinterest page with pictures and images and links to articles. Share our Parenting with Altitude Blogs that have compelling parent stories. Join our weekly Parenting with Altitude LIVE broadcast, learn about current issues and share with friends! It’s important for family members, friends, neighbors and community members who don’t have daily contact with people with disabilities to understand the complexity of the Medicaid issue. Make those issues real by saying, “This is my family!”
- Got some time to attend a rally? Go for it. Attend local events and make your voice heard! Remember we have a constitutional right to free assembly and free speech. This is an opportunity to give a real life history lesson. Your kids are learning about American history in school, from the Declaration of Independence, to the Abolitionist movement to abolish slavery, to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and the Disability Rights movement of the 1970s and onward. Taking them to an actual event makes the issues real to them! Before you attend, find out the purpose of the event or rally. Is it to bring attention, educate, advocate, disrupt? You do not have to be the ones who are arrested. Most events are NOT design to be actions that may result in arrest; if they are, organizers will be up front about this. Even when threatened with arrest, you are told disperse and you can leave.
- Can you help others participate? Volunteer to give other families/individuals rides to events and rallies.
But my kids aren’t eligible for Medicaid and neither am I. Why should I get involved?
- As a member of Parent to Parent of Colorado, you’ve signed on to our Mission:
- Parent to Parent of Colorado (P2P-CO) is a parent initiated, parent controlled, organized group that builds inclusive communities, takes effective and constructive group action and supports each other on the journey of parenting our sons and daughters with disabilities and/or special health care needs.
- For 20 years, the families in Parent to Parent of Colorado have stepped up to support important issues that impact the lives of our members. Together we have advocated for Health Care, Medicaid, Employment First, respite care funding, consumer direction, mandatory reporting of abuse of adults with disabilities and much more! We encourage you to join in effective and constructive group action to support all of our families.
- Anyone’s health situation can change in a moment! Last week, our office received a call from a young man who had fallen off a ladder while repairing a window at his sister’s house. He now has a spinal cord injury, is recovering in a nursing home and will have permanent paralysis. He was seeking community resources, including Medicaid, to help him transition into an independent living situation. As Tim said, “My life changed in an instant but now I think I am supposed to have a new purpose.”
- Bringing it closer to home, your child will grow up. As an adult, your son or daughter may indeed need Home and Community Based Services (Medicaid) supports. Or your parent might. Or anyone of us might have a life change that necessitates support.
We often talk about the journey of parenting a son or daughter with a disability is a marathon, not a sprint. Likewise, advocating for supports and services for our loved ones and others who are in need is also a marathon. If each of us continuously and consistently do what we can, we will finish the race! A little or a lot…it all makes a difference!
But those little efforts (and the big efforts!) they put forth have served them well. My daughter learned then how to advocate and I’ve watched her use those skills in letter writing, in research and advocacy to work with her own career and her own daughter. Those skills were as valuable as her degree when it comes to the University of Life!
Need to Know More About Medicaid Issues? Here are some great, researched based, non-partisan sources:
- Colorado Center for Law and Policy Medicaid and CHP+
- Kaiser Family Foundation Future of Medicaid and KFF Colorado Medicaid Fact Sheet
- Association for University Centers for Disabilities (AUCD) and Disability Policy News in Brief covers multiple topics
- Children’s Defense Fund Children’s Health
Want to be part of our Parent to Parent Community that learns about, discusses, and takes action around policy that impacts people with disabilities? Join P2P-Policy! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject: Join Policy