Thursday, February 23, 2012

March is the Month to Make Your Mark

Guest Post from Shelly DeButts at The Arc

March is officially Developmental Disabilities Awareness month and time to stand up, speak out and advocate for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). In the 1980s, The Arc and other advocacy organizations urged President Ronald Reagan to sign a proclamation declaring March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. In the 25 years since, The Arc and its national network of 700+ chapters serving and advocating for people with I/DD have made tremendous progress in creating opportunities for all people to live, learn and work as valued members of their communities. However, there is still more to be done.
This year, we want to take advantage of March – our month – to not only raise awareness among the public, but also with elected officials, potential voters and candidates on the campaign trail. Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month can be our platform to speak out about the challenges faced by people with I/DD and how we would like to see things change. The Arc formally invites you to “Make Your Mark” on the 2012 election by getting the word out about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Be sure to follow us on our blog, Facebook and Twitter during March as we talk more about what Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month means to us.

To help us make some noise in March and beyond, The Arc is launching a voter engagement campaign called “We’ve Got the Power” which will work to educate voters and candidates about the issues important to people with I/DD. We know that working together, the more than 7 million Americans with I/DD and their families DO have the power to create change.

In April, we’ll take that message straight to Capitol Hill during the annual Disability Policy Seminar. Each year approximately 700 people with I/DD, advocates, experts and professionals gather in Washington, D.C. to learn more about and discuss the hottest topics in disability public policy. The three day event culminates with face-to-face meetings with elected representatives in Congress. If you’d like to attend, you can register now and get special early registration and room rates at There are so many positive things going on in the movement for people with I/DD right now. It’s an exciting and hopeful time. We’d love to have you join us! Find out more about how to get involved at

NOTE: The Arc and Apostrophe Magazine recently partnered to introduce members of The Arc to a refreshingly positive publication for people with I/DD and to offer readers of Apostrophe information and resources from the nation’s leading and largest organization for people with I/DD. In the coming months, look for more articles from The Arc in Apostrophe and on this blog. 

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