What Does Advocacy Look Like to You?


Read this article in Spanish. Lee este artículo en español.

 

many hands reaching toward the sky in a circle We have made great progress towards equal opportunities for people with disabilities in the 26 years since the signing of the ADA, but we still have a lot of work to do in order to ensure all Americans have equal access in their workplaces and communities.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to share some of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my career about expanding equality and the importance of workplace inclusion for individuals with disabilities at the Platform conference in Washington D.C. Platform is an organization that works to ensure that women’s voices are always part of the conversations about their bodies, lives and future.

My work in disability policy grew out of my experiences helping young people in underrepresented communities access high-quality education and resources to succeed in the workforce. In that work, I had the opportunity to connect with a vibrant community of disability activists that gave me a greater understanding of the challenges that young people with disabilities and chronic health conditions face in these same areas. My advocacy in this field has been strengthened by my personal experience living and working with a chronic health condition for which accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act have helped me to perform my best.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy is the only non-regulatory federal agency that promotes policies and coordinates with employers and all levels of government to increase workplace success for people with disabilities. We know how important it is to support young people with disabilities who are transitioning from high school to post-secondary education and employment. Our Guideposts to Success is one tool that we’ve created to help young people with disabilities enter the workforce.

Guideposts to Success outlines all of the supports that need to be in place for a young person to successfully move from childhood to adulthood. These include access to high-quality academic support and instruction in the classroom; career preparation classes in work-based learning experiences, such as internships and job shadowing; youth development and leadership opportunities; and connecting supports like health care, transportation, housing and a strong network of involved family and caring adults.

One the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that no one government agency can do it alone, and strong advocacy efforts benefit when there are multiple partners at the table.

Taryn Williams is the chief of staff for the department's Office of Disability Employment Policy.

 

¿Qué significa para ti esta lucha?

Por Taryn Williams

En los 26 años transcurridos desde la firma de la ADA hemos hecho grandes progresos hacia la igualdad de oportunidades para personas con discapacidades. Sin embargo, todavía tenemos mucho trabajo por delante con el fin de asegurar que todos los Americanos tengan igualdad de acceso en sus lugares de trabajo y en sus comunidades.

A principios de esta semana, en la conferencia Platform en Washington D.C., he tenido la oportunidad de compartir algunas de las lecciones que sobre la ampliación de la igualdad y sobre la importancia  de la inclusión laboral de las personas con discapacidades he aprendido a lo largo de mi carrera. Platform es una organización que trabaja para asegurar que las voces de las mujeres sean siempre parte de las conversaciones sobre sus cuerpos, vidas u futuro.

Mi trabajo en el área de políticas sobre discapacidad nació de mis experiencias ayudando a jóvenes en comunidades insuficientemente  representadas para acceder a educación y recursos de alta calidad para triunfar en la fuerza laboral. En ese trabajo, la oportunidad de conectar con una pujante comunidad de activistas en el terreno de la discapacidad me ha permitido adquirir una mayor comprensión de los desafíos que enfrentan jóvenes con discapacidades y con condiciones crónicas de salud. Mi lucha en este campo se ha fortalecido por mi experiencia personal de vivir y trabajar con una enfermedad crónica para la que las acomodaciones provistas bajo la Ley sobre Estadounidenses con Discapacidades me han ayudado a dar lo mejor de mí misma.

La Oficina de Políticas sobre Discapacidad en el Empleo es la única agencia federal no reguladora que promueve políticas y coordina con empleadores y con todos los niveles de gobierno acciones para aumentar el éxito de las personas con discapacidades en el lugar de trabajo. Sabemos lo importante que es apoyar a jóvenes con discapacidades que están transitando desde la secundaria hacia la educación post-secundaria y el empleo. Nuestras Guideposts to Sucess son una herramienta que hemos creado  para ayudar a que jóvenes con discapacidades ingresen al mundo laboral.

Las Guideposts to Sucess esbozan todos los apoyos que deben estar presentes para que un joven pueda exitosamente pasar de la infancia a la edad adulta. Estos apoyos incluyen el acceso en las aulas a un soporte académico e instrucción de alta calidad; clases de preparación para la carrera con experiencias de aprendizaje basadas en el trabajo como pasantías y acompañamientos de observación en el trabajo; oportunidades de desarrollo y liderazgo juvenil; y conexión a apoyos en salud, transporte, vivienda, así como una red sólida de familiares y  adultos involucrados.

Una de las más grandes lecciones que he aprendido es que ningún organismo de un gobierno puede hacerlo solo, y que un gran esfuerzo por la defensa de estos temas se beneficia cuando en la mesa están presentes múltiples socios.

Taryn Williams es la jefa de personal de la Oficina de Políticas sobre Discapacidad en el Empleo del Departamento de Trabajo.


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Comments

I've been trying to be an invisible disabilities advocate since Apr27,2011 (& before) & it appears that my strengths, quirks & idiosyncrasies are conducive to being an advocate, self-advocacy & otherwise. I believe that because I am "passionate" (obsessive??) about the cause, I am met with MUCH animosity, close-mindedness/uninformed-ness & LOTS of negative responses, reactions & attitudes!
I constantly feel that it is not worth the effort, mainly because of lack of support, etc. I believe that even WITHIN the disabilities community, there is possibly exclusivity (Maybe because of the LIMITED supporting funds for disabilities causes.). INVISIBLE, ADULT disabilities supports seem to be the most limited group.
Thank you for post! I wish my attitude was more POSITIVE.
JoeHart

For me, advocacy looks like a person who invests his time and money into his customer’s brand by continuously providing feedback and buying her products! Of course, it just my own thought!

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