Working together toward a collective mission at this year’s Grassroots Conference

By Tatiana Peralta 05/05/2021
Working together toward a collective mission at this year’s Grassroots Conference

Using their voices for positive change, people with disabilities made an impact on Capitol Hill during the 2021 SourceAmerica® Virtual Grassroots Advocacy Conference.

Over the span of five days, attendees were empowered to share their experiences with their peers and more than 20 members of Congress. Their stories helped shine a light on both the skills and perseverance that people with disabilities can bring to any job and the need for policy that creates a more inclusive workforce for all.

Conference participants heard from a lineup of star activists and actors including, RJ Mitte from Breaking Bad and Lauren Potter from Glee. Both of these individuals had words of encouragement for the self-advocates.

“One of the reasons why I think this conference is so great is that all of you are part of making change happen,” said Mitte. “The other thing that stuck with me is how what you’re doing this week is so much bigger than this moment. For every new job your story inspires, you’re creating a more inclusive workforce that lets people with disabilities see people like them working and lets them know what can be done, despite limitations. You are being that difference; you are making those changes. Don’t hide from your disabilities.”

Nonprofit leaders and self-advocates attended training workshops focused on the best way to share their stories with members of Congress, learned more about important policy updates that impact the AbilityOne® Program, and joined in a guided virtual tour through the Washington D.C. area.

Over the span of the week, members of Congress and self-advocates participated in 160 meetings where they talked about how the AbilityOne Program, one of the largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities, affects their lives. They also advocated for policies that will advance the future of employment for themselves and their peers.

“I had fun getting to know other people with a disability doing work just like me,” said Lydia Hernandez, Tresco employee. “I was nervous at first but had fun. I love my job and am glad Tresco and SourceAmerica let me be part of this conference.”

The event culminated in a Celebration of Stories, a unique moment for every participant and attendee to learn more about the individuals and the journey they took to get to where they are today.

SourceAmerica is proud to be a force for change for people with disabilities. Through events like the Grassroots Advocacy Conference, the organization and the nonprofit agencies in its network will continue to advocate for policy decisions that will advance employment opportunities for this talented segment of the workforce.

To learn more about SourceAmerica and how to employ people with disabilities at your company, please contact