Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities

Mission and Operating Principles Profile by Derek VanderVeen The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD) is a broad-based coalition […]

Mission and Operating Principles

Profile by Derek VanderVeen

The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD) is a broad-based coalition of organizations of persons with disabilities, providers and advocates, dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities. They address public policy issues that affect people with disabilities by collaborating with others, advocating, educating, influencing change, and creating awareness for understanding. Its members are those willing to be publicly listed on MN-CCD position statements, and are those organizations of people with disabilities who support the MN-CCD mission. Members are considered voting members. Every two years, members are asked if they wish to continue their membership or be considered “interested parties.”

Criteria For Membership

Members must be organizations who serve or advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. Governmental agencies may be members of MN-CCD if their statutory mission includes advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities.

In making decisions, the MN-CCD strives for consensus but majority does rule. Organizations may withhold their support for decisions made by requesting that their name be removed from any official MN-CCD documents relating to that issue. A list of supporting MN-CCD members are identified/listed by issue on official MN-CCD documents.

When an MN-CCD decision is required on an issue the following procedure will be followed:

· If the issue follows the principles set in the MN-CCD position papers, no vote is required.

· If the issue is time sensitive and seen as non-controversial, the issue may be approved on the same day it is presented. However, members may still choose to not have their organization publicly listed as supporting the issue. If one person considers the issue controversial, the issue must go through the regular decision making process requiring a 10 day notice before a decision can be made.

Standard meeting practice is to have an agenda published with advance notice when decisions on principles or positions are expected to be finalized.

Editor’s note—In upcoming issues, Access Press will be profiling individual core members of the MN-CCD. If you are an active member of the MN-CCD and did not receive a questionnaire from Access Press please contact us at 651-644-2133 (phone); 651-644-2136 (fax); access@mninter.net (email).

Lolly Lijewski Profile

AP – How long have you been involved in the Disability Community and when did you become involved in the MN-CCD?

LL – I have been an advocate for people with disabilities for 23 years and joined MN-CCD in the Spring of 1995.

AP – Tell me, in your own words, what you consider the objectives and goals of the MN-CCD, as a whole, to be. Perhaps share your Mission Statement, and then go beyond that and tell me why you, personally, became involved; what your personal objectives were and are.

LL – MN-CCD is primarily charged with working legislatively to enhance and protect the rights of people with disabilities.

MN-CCD works to retain legislation that is essential to assisting people with disabilities to live full, active, and productive lives and to become fully integrated into society. MN-CCD also works to amend or put forth legislation that will further improve the lives of people with disabilities. In doing so, MN-CCD works to make change from a systems perspective. Each area of an individual’s life affects the next; affordable accessible and available housing impacts transportation, which impacts employment, which impacts health care, and so on.

I became involved in MN-CCD during the PCA and TEFRA crisis in 1995. I had just started a new position at MCIL, when MN-CCD was organizing a large demonstration against the proposed cuts. My first week on the job, I found myself with a group of PWD occupying the reception area of then Governor Carlson’s office. I skipped the proverbial frying pan and just jumped right into the fire¼

My personal mission statement: I have adopted the Wellstone action motto which says, “Carry it forward.”

Working for a Center for Independent Living (CIL), my position demands that I employ many strategies and tactics to accomplish our advocacy goals. A CIL’s job is to push the envelope sometimes when other organizations cannot or will not.

AP – Talk a little about your individual role within the MN-CCD?

LL – For many years I served as Chair of the Transportation Committee, and currently serve as Chair of the Housing Committee. I have also served on the Workforce Crisis Committee and currently serve on the Work Incentives Committee.

AP – What, in your opinion, has been the biggest accomplishment of the MN-CCD?

LL – To look for one accomplishment is difficult. MN-CCD was very involved in working to pass MN the Medicaid Buy-in, and the national Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999. However, I would say MN-CCD’s most significant accomplishment is the body of legislation across issue lines which has been passed over the past eight years, which has significantly improved services in health care, transportation, employment, PCA and workforce issues

AP – How successful has the MN-CCD been in defining and achieving the goals set by the group?

LL – Over all I would say MN-CCD has been largely successful in accomplishing its goals, and that through the years it has gained a reputation with legislators for working respectfully through the political process to benefit people with disabilities. MN-CCD advocates have built relationships across the isle which enhances its ability to be successful even during difficult times.

AP – Look into the future and speculate on what you’d ideally like to see within the disabled

community, and then realistically how you see the state of affairs, based on progress made in the

past 25 years.

LL – In the future I would like to see the integration of people with disabilities into society continue. To see a national health care plan which takes into account those who have high health care needs. More mass transit in the metropolitan area and more affordable, accessible and available housing for people with disabilities. Ideally, a decrease in the unemployment rate for people with disabilities, and to see more people with disabilities integrated into the workforce. I would like to see PCA and care givers compensated sufficiently, including a benefit package. I would like the civil rights of people with disabilities maintained, not eroded, with assistive technology available to anyone who needs it. I would like to see the public agencies that serve people with disabilities work more closely together to better serve their constituency.

I think we have made significant progress in the past 25 years. We’ve seen the passage of the ADA, the creation of accessible transportation, the development and implementation of concepts like universal design, and we have seen people with disabilities become more visible in society. We have seen the growth of assistive technology which allows PWD to work and play in ways they never thought possible. We have seen advances in health care which allow PWD live longer and with a higher quality of life. Because there is always more work to do, sometimes we don’t stop to think about how much we really have accomplished.

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