On Wednesday, April 3, we have a chance to make our voices heard at the state Capitol during the annual People with Disabilities Awareness Day. But just attending this event is not enough. We have to multiply our voices.
We need to fill our vehicles with friends, co-workers and clients. We need to see that each seat is filled so that we are not just a crowd but a wave that carries a message through the state Capitol that “We are Oklahoma Too.”
Waves though start with just drops of water, but when they multiply, there is nothing that can stand in the way. So challenge yourself; challenge your co-workers and challenge your clients to fill your vehicles and attend People with Disabilities Awareness Day on April 3.
When you register, pick a name for your group and add it. Then register your friends, co-workers and clients, or they can register themselves and just select your group. The group with the most members in attendance will be recognized after the event.
People with Disabilities Awareness Day at the state Capitol gives people with disabilities and advocates like you a chance to talk with decision makers who can preserve or expand services that make a critical difference in the lives of Oklahomans with disabilities. Last year, more than
600 people participated in this free event, which is hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and friends.
This year, our goal is 800 people in attendance and for 75 percent of Awareness Day participants to visit state senators and representatives or their staff on April 3. Volunteers will be available to take you on legislative visits and provide other assistance.
Please help us plan for the event by registering here. We will look up your state senators and representatives, and have that information for you when you check in on the first floor of the State Capitol on People with Disabilities Awareness Day.
If you have any special accomodations requests, please send them to Cathy Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 405-951-3478.
Many volunteers will support People with Disabilities Awareness Day 2013. You can tell your story to state Legislators and staff. It is an opportunity to explain about the positive impact of critical disability programs. More than 70 outstanding exhibitors will share valuable information on the second and fourth floor rotundas (center areas) of the State Capitol. You can also meet and unite with other disability advocates to address the growing needs of 600 thousand Oklahomans with disabilities.
Noon — Registration / Check-In 1st Floor Rotunda
12:30 p.m. — Legislative Visits - 3rd, 4 th & 5th Floors
Exhibits Open – 2nd and 4th Floor Rotundas
3:30 p.m. — Welcome by DRS Director Mike O’Brien and Awareness Day Awards Presentation with DRS Commissioners Lynda Collins, Ray Kirk and Steve Shelton - Southside Capital Steps (or 2nd Floor Blue Room if weather is not in our favor).
4:30 p.m. — End of Event
Advocacy in action is what People with Disabilities Awareness Day is all about. But we can’t get that message across without you! Attend this event, invite others to come and plan now to visit your
Legislators. Experienced volunteers can demonstrate how legislative visits work and take you to talk to your
Legislators on a first come, first served basis. If legislative visits are new to you, call 405-951-3478 or e-mail email@example.com, or ask for help at the registration desk.
Remember: The Legislator's job is to be in committee meetings or on the floor of the Senate or House of Representatives when state business is being conducted. If your Legislator is not in the office, please give your message to the staff. Legislators depend heavily on their staff and often receive information this way.
Tip: You have a better chance of talking to your Legislator in person if you call to make an appointment at least two weeks before Awareness Day.
Find out who your Legislators are here. Then call for appointments: Senate 800.865.6490. House of Representatives: 800.522.8502.
Oklahoma is one of only five states that has an opportunity to make
voting more accessible to everyone. Would you like to try out the accessible voting machine?
At the event, awareness day participants can go to Room 108 from 1 to 4 pm and try out an accessible voting machine and give your input on how it works. —More information on accessible voting machines
To stand united, we encourage all to wear green on this day, if you can. When those who work at the capitol see a lot of people in the halls or rotunda all wearing disability-awareness green, our efforts have an even greater impact.
Keep up on the activities of our state and federal lawmakers with the Legislative Updates. You can also learn how to effect change with our lawmakers through the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council's (ORC) Legislative Advocacy Toolbox. This has informative links to assist you in learning how to successfully advocate for people with disabilities or key issues important to them.
Check out this year's PWDAD flyer. Help spread the word and send it to all your friends. Tell them how important it is to inform our state legislators about the issues that affect the disability community and for all of us to stand united.
People with Disabilities Awareness Day always has great exhibits with a vast assortment of information. Due to limited space, booths are by invitation only and free of charge. Go to the Exhibitors' page or contact Dana Tallon at 800.845.8476 for unloading and set up information.
Please park on the south side of the State Capitol. Accessible parking is located at the base of the south steps. Overflow parking is available at the Jim Thorpe Building west of Lincoln Blvd.