Advocacy

Advocacy is problem solving. It is a tool used within social and political systems to bring change. Change for the better rarely happens without advocacy. People with disabilities have seen major changes in laws, service systems and public attitude in recent years, because of advocacy efforts. Advocacy may be something small and simple, like a letter, a public speech, or a request for a meeting. Advocacy may be broad and sweeping, like Supreme Court litigation, or an international media splash.

DRW's advocacy is designed to advance the civil and human rights of people with disabilities. Our focus is on systems change and building capacity for individual and group advocacy. DRW developed the seven advocacy areas, listed to the left, under counsel of people with disabilities. These guide the work we do to advance the disability rights movement.

The word "accessibility" generally brings to mind ramps, as an accommodation for people who use wheelchairs. However, accessibility is far more than structural modifications to a building.
Accessible parking space in front of a red-brick building.
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Accessible parking space in front of a red-brick building.
Whether one has dementia, brain injury, or a psychiatric, intellectual or physical disability, community-based living is possible for people with even the most significantly-involved disabilities.
Advocates at an independent living rally hold sign that reads, "Independent Living Rocks!"
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Advocates at an independent living rally hold sign that reads, "Independent Living Rocks!"
Education for students with disabilities is relatively new, compared to other civil rights.
Blank paper fills a composition notebook.
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Blank paper fills a composition notebook.
Among the most fundamental of human rights is the right to be free from abuse or neglect.
Woman using wheelchair takes a moment to rest along long ramp in empty hallway.
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Woman using wheelchair rests on long ramp in empty hallway.
The health care landscape is rapidly evolving, with rising medical costs, limits to health care or insurance access, and changing law.
Woman in grassy field does yoga.
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Woman doing yoga in grassy field.
According to the U.S. Constitution, every citizen must be afforded due process of law.
Lady Justice holds scales of justice against clear, blue sky.
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Lady Justice holds scales of justice against clear, blue sky.
Self-determination, put simply, is figuring out what one wants and going for it.
Man using a wheelchair dribbles basketball across court.
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Man using a wheelchair dribbles basketball across court.