After virtual rallies during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was great to see Minnesota’s disability community return to the halls of power and fill the state capitol rotunda with people for our rally days.
It’s fun to see old friends and meet new people. For many of us in the old guard of Minnesotan’s disability world, it’s energizing to see new people get involved.
More importantly, we need to see these shows of power. We need to be seen giving voice to issues. We have had our concerns and needs shoved aside long enough.
This month’s print and online issues have information about some of the larger rally days, and a link for you to find out which groups are at the capitol on which days. We don’t publish all of the rally days because there are so many solo events going on. Stay in touch with your preferred advocacy group and see when their members will be at the capitol.
The session starts February 12. It’s never too early to prepare for advocacy on your issues. Know who your state representative and senator are. If you have personal ties to other state lawmakers, use those as well when making a case for an issue. Perhaps you moved and live in another legislative district. Or you have a friendship with someone who is serving. Maybe a friend is a legislative staffer. Those ties can come in handy.
Rally days are a great way to meet with legislators in person. Our advocacy groups are great at setting up meetings and helping advocates to prepare their talking points.
This week we’ll share some trips for those trips to the capitol. Today we’ll focus on keeping yourself safe, dry and healthy.
COVID-19 is very much with us, as are other diseases. Mask up! Bring that hand sanitizer.
Of course any trip means taking along needed medication, snacks and maybe lunch, and water. While I think the whole designer drinking cup craze is silly, and my Stanley is an old faithful green thermos, many of us with disabilities have always toted our plain water bottles.
Make sure devices of all types are charged before leaving home.
If you have as service dog, make sure the dog has enough food and water for the trip.
Dress for the weather. We all know how challenging the tunnel to the capitol can be, yet trekking there from other buildings in the rain or snow is problematic. I keep a plastic rain poncho in my bag and can quickly cover up.
Next time we’ll talk about what to do in the halls of power.
COVID-19 is always going to be with us.