By Kevin Smith, one of the founding members of The Arc’s National Council of Self-Advocates
I got involved in the self-advocacy movement because it promoted things that I believed in, both as a person with a disability and as just a person. When I got involved in self-advocacy in the early 90s, people with disabilities were segregated from the rest of the community. We were categorized as poor, pitiful, and helpless.
I wanted to join The Arc’s National Council of Self-Advocates because this movement has had a huge impact on my life and I want to share it with as many people as possible. I hope this Council accomplishes two things: To tell people that they have the right to be included in their community and not be shut behind closed doors. The second would be that together, as a national group, the government will hear our needs and make a difference in someone’s life. I want to leave people with disabilities in better shape than when I started.
About The Arc’s National Council of Self-Advocates
The NCSA was developed to foster the active involvement of individuals with I/DD in the work of The Arc. Its primary purpose is to empower persons with I/DD to voice their opinions about what is important to them and to ensure that they are afforded the same opportunities as everyone else to have a meaningful life in the community. In joining the Council, members will be able to network with others who are involved in advocacy work, educate the public about the issues that are important to people with I/DD, and become active leaders in their communities.