Advocacy as a practice has evolved and moved beyond virtuous acts of kindness to become a structured effort to provide a voice and support to those in need. While organizations often advocate as a “community”, increasingly and with the evolution of technology, advocacy efforts have shifted so that the voice of each individual can empower the communal voice of a movement.
Every voice raised for an important cause now has the potential to spark positive change!
CFS proudly celebrated the power of advocacy on Lobby Day this year on February 13th in the New York State capital, Albany. A group of individuals from CFS – participants and staff alike – came together as a group to boldly advocate with others for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) to be given (a much-deserved) wage increase and an 8.5% COLA (Cost of Living Adjustments) increase.
The CFS group of 18, which included 8 participants and 7 DSPs, chanted, delivered rousing speeches, and kept up an infectious air of positivity through the course of the day. Reinforcing the importance of every individual voice, one CFS participant, Oscar Segal, an advocate, filmmaker and working professional with I/DD endorsed the wage increase–loudly–saying
“My name is Oscar Segel, and I want DSPs to make more money!”
DSPs help those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) live fulfilling and enriched lives by supporting them at home, in school, and in community. DSPs assist individuals with I/DD by providing personalized care that focuses on healthcare access, transportation, financial management, employment, daily tasks, and so much more, so that persons with I/DD can live the lives they want, and fulfill their dreams and desire to be more independent.
However and unfortunately, despite the job’s very demanding requirements, DSPs earn little more than minimum wage, leading to a 25% vacancy rate. This workforce crisis puts individuals with I/DD at risk of losing essential support, as service reductions and program closures become more likely.
Join us in advocating for improving the wages and working conditions of these extraordinary professionals by lobbying Governor Kathy Hochul and urging New York State to invest in the DSP workforce and services that support individuals with I/DD in the upcoming 2023-24 Executive Budget proposal.
To take action and learn more about this issue, visit www.nyalliance.org.
Let’s work together to ensure that individuals with IDD receive the professional support and assistance they need to live full, prosperous lives!
CFS Group Rallies in Albany!