Spring Is In the Air - March 3, 2021

Spring has always been a time for hope and optimism. The weather begins to change and new life begins to sprout up around us.

Posted
March 5, 2021
Book open with lights pouring out of it

Spring Is In the Air - March 3, 2021

Spring has always been a time for hope and optimism. The weather begins to change and new life begins to sprout up around us.

Posted
March 5, 2021

Self-Advocacy is the ability to articulate one's needs and make informed decisions about the support necessary to meet those needs.

JFS Friends – 

Yesterday, as part of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month. I had the great privilege to be part of a virtual visit to the capital with one of our elected officials. What made this visit particularly meaningful for me was that our delegation included a young woman living with a disability who joined us and – in her own words – gave powerful testimony about the ways that access to tele-health services have positively impacted her life and passionately advocated with the Representative we were meeting with for the need to continue coverage for these services after the COVID crisis resolves.

After the meeting was over our delegation met briefly to de-brief. When out young advocate was asked if she had ever done this kind of thing before she replied that she had not - but now that she has done it – she wants to do it again. As this young woman was speaking, the words of former United States Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright came to mind:

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent”

Moments like these fill me with hope. The Alexander Institute for Inclusion is living out the ideals of inclusion through training individuals to be self-advocates - whether it is speaking up for their needs at school or work or advocating on behalf of more inclusive policies at the local, state and federal level - these individuals are developing the skills to demand, “Nothing about us without us!”

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook said:

“I don’t speak because I have the power to speak; I speak because I don’t have the power to remain silent.”

I hope that moments like these will give us all the strength and courage to speak up and speak out and to become advocates for the things that matter most to us as individuals and as a community.

A special thank you to JFS staff member, Leah Mueller, for leading our advocacy efforts and for her work to develop our advocacy training program that is helping individuals across our community find – and use – their voices to bring about positive change.

Take care,
Carl Josehart's signature

Carl E. Josehart, MSW (he/him/his)

Chief Operating Officer

Related Resources & News

A central location for you to be empowered with knowledge.