Self-Advocates Meet with Lawmakers to Discuss Disability Employment Issues

By SourceAmerica 06/10/2016

WASHINGTON – SourceAmerica is proud to welcome self-advocates and other nonprofit representatives to its Grassroots Advocacy Conference, an annual disability employment campaign that takes place every June in Washington, D.C.

Throughout the three-day conference, representatives from 46 nonprofits that employ people with disabilities will engage in a variety of grassroots advocacy activities to educate members of Congress on disability employment issues and the role they must play in fostering an inclusive work culture. Highlights of the conference include advocacy training by senior government officials, office visits with congressional representatives and an evening reception on Capitol Hill.

Self-advocates are employees from member nonprofits that want to connect with legislators about issues affecting employment for people with disabilities. Each of the 46 participating nonprofits is bringing a self-advocate. They include people such as:

Brian Hinton, who works in Boulder, Colorado, as a custodian through Bayaud Enterprises of Denver. Hinton struggled to find a work environment that supported his schizophrenia until he began working at Bayaud seven years ago. He says he wants to help dispel negative stereotypes of mental illness. Read more about Hinton.

Chad Weimer, who is proud he helped manufacture panel ID kits for U.S. military vehicles at Crossroads Industrial Services in Indianapolis. The kits helped prevent friendly fire strikes on service members. He says he's shy, but he's willing to brave his fear of public speaking to represent people with disabilities like himself. Read more about Weimer.

Syretta Clayton, an Army veteran who suffered permanent back, hip and knee injuries during her service. Clayton was living in her car two years ago when she stood in the rain for an hour to be the first person to apply for a job at Goodwill of San Antonio. Read more about Clayton.

Matthew Owens, whose learning disabilities made holding down a job challenging. Through North Bay Industries, he's maintained a job in landscape maintenance at the Presidio in Monterey, California, for two years. It's the longest he's been employed in one place, and he credits it to the fact that his employers work with him to ensure he succeeds. Read more about Owens.

For more information about ways to promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities and to learn more about the Grassroots Advocacy Conference, visit SourceAmerica.