By: Kelly Turner, People for Quality Care
Ms. Wheelchair California, Alette Colbe-Temple, was recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair America at the 2016 competition in Des Moines, Iowa.
Tom Powers of VGM Government Relations and Kelly Turner of VGM’s People for Quality Care were invited to present to the contestants in a workshop focused on shaping their platform messages and learning about grassroots lobbying, building and mobilizing coalitions and communicating with legislators.
It was a privilege for us to be in a room full of passionate advocates who were engaged throughout the presentation. They asked numerous questions and shared the experiences and challenges they have encountered being a person with a disability. Together we generated ideas for the advocacy work that still lies ahead with a focus on their role and opportunities as Ms. Wheelchair representatives. They understand their title allows them through doors that sometimes can be very difficult to navigate for others who fight for patient rights.
Throughout the 90-minute workshop, their enthusiasm and ideas continued, and it was easy to see how important advocating was to them. They would develope strategies to keep the conversations going with their legislators and offer suggestions to each other using some of the ideas Tom had shared with them. These women are a group of passionate, intelligent, willing advocates who want to help in all areas of quality living.
The workshop ended with candles and birthday cake to celebrate the 25 years of the ADA.
Reach out to the Ms. Wheelchair representative in your state and ask them to help your local advocacy efforts. They would be very happy to accompany you to the state capital to share their concerns on access issues, appropriate equipment and quality services. They are just a call away.
If you would like to know who your state representative is, please feel free to contact Kelly Turner at People for Quality Care, 866-342-6643.