There's still time for self-advocates to speak out

There's still time for self-advocates to speak out

Self-advocates still have time to tell legislators their needs during the 2021 session of the Minnesota Legislature. Two of the largest rallies are in March.

Virtual Disability Services Day at the Capitol is Tuesday, March 9. The event, typically one of the biggest rallies, is led by the disability advocacy groups ARRM and MOHR and the Best Life Alliance. Advocates hope to protect employment and enrichment supports, elevate direct support staff and their wages, honor informed choice, and promote a better quality of life. High-quality day employment and day enrichment supports will be a focus, along with the need for competitive wages to hire quality direct support professionals and better transportation funding.

Participants can sign in to meet with their legislators. the Schule is to have the virtual rally in the rotunda at 10 a.m., via Zoom and the ARRM Facebook pace. That is followed by individual meetings. Some legislators may ask participants to sign up for an already-scheduled disability services meeting. The  ‘Day at the Capitol’ Social Media Storm goes on all day.

The Virtual Mental Health Day on the Hill is set for Thursday, March 11. The Mental Health Legislative Network goes online, as hundreds of people from around the state are expected to join in the event and share their views on mental health issues with legislators.

The network is composed of almost 40 statewide organizations concerned about the quality and availability of mental health services. The Network is co-chaired by NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and Mental Health Minnesota.

Mental Health Day on the Hill kicks off with messages from legislators, as well as an overview of current mental health policy and funding issues from 9-10 a.m. Online appointments with legislators will follow throughout the day for mental health advocates to discuss their views on critical mental health needs for the 2021 legislative session.

Members of the network have already scheduled more than 30 Zoom meetings with legislators, with many more expected. Attendees will be matched up with the legislators and other advocates from their district for an online discussion of mental health concerns.

Network members are working to meet with as many legislators as possible on March 11. Sign up by going to www.namimn.org and clicking on Mental Health Day on the Hill. For more information, contact Sam Smith at ssmith@namimn.org.

Tuesdays at the Capitol led by the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, continue this session in a virtual format. One easy way to check in is through the consortium’s Facebook page, at https://www.facebook.com/MinnCCD