It’s been about 18 months since I decided to make a life change and advocate for myself (and, coincidentally, since I’ve updated this blog, oy…). I took six months to do things I hadn’t done in far too long.
I hiked and I kayaked.
I got healthy, mentally and physically.
I renewed relationships and spent more time with friends.
I got to know all of the Housewives.
I remember sitting in my favorite Troy coffee shop during that time, confiding in a friend that I was scared of being suddenly jobless. That there were demons creeping back. Memories of the years where I wasn’t able to find employment due to disability and moments of consequence that had left permanent scars. I remember the look on my friend’s face hearing the dehumanization I had experienced. And it made me remember how I felt during the years it happened. It made me angry, but determined.
In 2012, after that coffee shop conversation, I wrote:
As I sit here contemplating what will come next after resigning from a perfectly profitable company, I won’t pretend that these fears and these moments aren’t still with me. They are. A small part of me is terrified. But the larger part of me knows that we all have to act as our own advocates and fight for the things we need, when we need them. Even when it’s hard. Maybe especially then. That’s what I’m doing.
At the time, I didn’t know advocating for myself would land me in a role, and with a company, that I love. Newly inspired and constantly creative.
I didn’t know meeting my friend for coffee that day would introduce me to other great things, like an agency called Disability Rights New York (DRNY). But it did.
DRNY is the designated Protection and Advocacy System and Client Assistance Program (P&A/CAP) in New York State. Its goal is to protect and advance the rights of adults and children with disabilities through advocacy, coalition-building and litigation. DRNY fights and advocates for people who don’t always have a voice to ensure they are heard and that their rights are being met.
As of this week, I get to help them with that goal.
I’m quite honored to have been voted to DRNY’s Board of Directors where I will be able to lend my experience and my insight, both as a marketer and an adult living with a disability, to the agency’s fight. A fight I’ve always faced for myself, by myself. Now I get to do it for others, and with back up.
This is a new moment of consequence for me. One that I hope will lead to even more positive change. I am once again determined, and also inspired.
You’ll be hearing a lot more from me about DRNY and the work that has to be done. You can read more about its protection and advocacy programs on the DRNY website and, of course, you can also follow them on Facebook .
It’s kind of spectacular when you think about it…through coffee and a blog post, a new adventure of advocacy begins.