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This week was another week of civic engagement, this time on Capitol Hill, where we met virtually with representatives of our entire US Congressional delegation as a part of the Disability Policy Seminar (DPS).

Civic action is a responsibility for all Americans and even more so for our community.  Organizing the DPS virtual hill visits with our colleagues at ICI/Children’s LEND, we were pleased to have representation from MDDC, MASS, LEND Shriver/UMass Medical, AAIDD, Autism Society, and UCP.

Senator Ed Markey met with over 30 Massachusetts advocates, along with Policy Advisor Adam Axler.  As we greeted, he gave an upbeat recognition to the academy award winning film, CODA which stands for Children of Deaf Adults and which focuses on a Gloucester fishing family where all but one member is deaf.

Senator Markey and almost the entire MA delegation (missing Representatives Neal and Keating) are signed on to the Better Care Better Jobs Act to address our workforce crisis.  Whether the “SSI Restoration Act,” “Keeping Students Safe Act,” fully funding IDEA, criminal justice reforms, or other federal priorities will move, we found a receptive audience in DC.

Last but not least, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley joined the DPS in-person disability rights rally on March 30 to champion our cause, saying, “Now is the time to enact policy that centers us, that heals us, that saves lives. We are going to move forward, and be inclusive and intersectional, and together we will persevere!”

And as we approach summer, let’s not forget the baseline for civic action: voting!  All of us should be registered and planning to vote. To borrow a quote from Otis Moss III, “Not voting is one of the worst things that could happen in our community.” That’s true for our community too!

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