Improving Peoples' Lives

As we continue working in a very difficult legislative session, we would like to remind individuals and organizations in the disability advocacy community of a resource available to you all, the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD). The MN-CCD is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 provider and advocacy organizations dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities. MN-CCD focuses on public policy issues that affect people with disabilities by collaborating with others to advocate, educate, influence public policy makers to create positive changes and creating awareness for understanding.

For some individuals there must always be a role for government to help support them in their home and community. The MN-CCD supports public policies that provide the most cost-effective delivery of services while helping individuals with disabilities maintain their health and gain as much independence as possible in their daily living.

MN-CCD functions by dividing into issue subcommittees that develop recommendations regarding specific issues of concern to the disability community. Health care, employment and housing are just a few of the issues our subcommittees work on. Issue subcommittees spend the legislative session advocating for recommendations developed prior to the legislative session. Additionally, MN-CCD action subcommittees meet throughout the year to plan grassroots events including meetings and forums to build relationships and discuss issues with candidates and legislators. Action subcommittees also handle outreach and public relations for MN-CCD, and manage the operations of the consortium.

Full membership MN-CCD meetings take place monthly when the Minnesota Legislature isn’t in session. These meetings are an opportunity for all MN-CCD members to learn about the work and recommendations of the issue and action subcommittees. These meetings are also an excellent opportunity for MN-CCD member organizations to network and share information regarding opportunities for advocacy. During the legislative session, full membership MN-CCD meetings are held weekly at the state capitol. These full membership meetings allow MN-CCD member organizations to keep abreast of rapid developments in the disability advocacy community such as opportunities for individuals and organizations to provide important testimony at legislative hearings; action alerts for the community of individuals with disabilities to contact their legislators regarding important legislation; and upcoming community events such as rallies and Disability Days at the Capitol.

If your organization would like to become more involved with one of MN-CCD’s subcommittees, or if your organization would like to attend our weekly MN-CCD full membership meetings at the capitol, please contact Anni Simons, MN-CCD coordinator at asimons@arcmn.org Additionally, individuals and organizations are encouraged to visit the MN-CCD Web site at www.mnccd.org, and use it as a resource for your advocacy activity. The MN-CCD Web site provides details on a number of upcoming advocacy days at the capitol; outlines the MN-CCD legislative priorities for the 2009 legislative session; provides further information on MN-CCD subcommittees, and much more.

MN-CCD, its member organizations and many individuals and families will gather from noon until 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 7th at the capitol for a statewide rally. This rally will be a demonstration of support for services for individuals with disabilities and older Minnesotans. This is our opportunity to demonstrate the power of the disability and aging community here in MN. This is especially important this year, as legislators will likely face tough decisions regarding making cuts to the very programs individuals with disabilities and older Minnesotans rely on. Find details on the MN-CCD Web site