On March 13th of 2019, I went to the Georgia State Capitol for “The Arc Georgia Day at the Capitol”. The purpose of the event is to advocate for the issue that is important to the communities of those who are disabled. The plan also had a training of the policy and to be recognized by the House and Senate. The Arc Georgia is an organization which advocates for those who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. They basically fight so that those who have The organization has been supporting their families throughout Georgia since 1952. The core values of the Arc Georgia is people first, equity, community, self-determination, and diversity. They believe that people with disabilities are just like any other person who deserves to feel respected, safe, and have equality before the law. They believe that the disabled community should be included in all aspects of society, which is why they decided to hold an event at the state capitol.
The event started at 8:30 am in room 125 of the Georgia State Capitol. The first activity scheduled is to have breakfast and start advocacy training at 9. However, it was slightly raining that day, so not everyone arrived until 9:15 am, pushing the advocacy updates back a bit. We were told about the principals and the purpose of The Arc Georgia over donuts and coffee until all the members of the event were in the room. Finally, the training started at 9:30 given by Stacey Ramirez and Alyssa Lee. Stacey had 20 years of experience in the community and her story was inspiring. She is devoted to fighting for the disabled community because her son had autism and she understands the difficulties he has to face. Before The Arc Georgia, Stacey Ramirez was the director of Individuals and Family Supports at the Center for leadership at Georgia State University. Dr. Lee (Alyssa Lee) is a clinical psychologist serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her work is focused on social factors that affect the health of those who have disabilities. The two talked about the purpose of the event for the day and went over the agenda and the details of it.
After that, the next thing was to go upstairs to the legislature. All of us sat quietly at the meeting until The Arc Georgia was recognized by the House and Senate. The Arc was introduced in the chamber and then we had a meet and greet session with our senators and representatives. I had a chance to meet Michele Henson, a democratic representative of my region. I also met senator Steve Henson of district 41. After we met the legislatures, we went back to the room and talked about each other’s experience. Even though it was really short, that was all of the events.
No matter of the short period of time the event was held, the event’s importance to democracy is heavily emphasized. One of the many words in relation to democracy is “equality”. Throughout the years, the United States had gone through periods of fighting for equality. First, the 15th amendment was passed allowing males of color to vote. In the 19th amendment passed 50 years later, women finally had voting rights as a result of their efforts. Even though people of color had voting rights, the country made conditions, preventing their rights. Through many fights and acts that went on for decades, discrimination finally ended. This even showed that individuals born with disabilities are also being discriminated as if they are not capable of “reaching for higher”. However, even those who are not able to do what “normal” people can, they can participate and contribute to the nation’s politics. They thrive for equality which reinforces democracy.
Affiliate Chapters.” The Arc Georgia State Office, ga.thearc.org/about/affiliate-chapters/.
“About.” The Arc Georgia State Office, ga.thearc.org/about/.
*Photo by David Grant, “Georgia State Capitol”, Flickr