Here’s what you need to start.
1. A PLACE to hold the Celebration
You need an accessible place for your event. A meeting room at a local Center for Independent Living is a great place to hold an event. Other disability organizations that have room may be willing to provide you a place to meet as well.
2. A CONNECTION to the National Event
There will be a live video feed from the one-hour introduction event that will be available through the internet, so high speed internet access is necessary for streaming the video. That means you also need a way to show the video. Your site may have equipment to project the video in their conference room. To ensure access for the Deaf Community, the ASL interpreter will be visible in the video and live open captioning will be visible as well.
We know that some folks don’t have access to high speed internet so – as an alternative – you will be able to listen using a phone line with a speakerphone. Finally, to ensure that Spanish-speakers can participate, live audio translation of the event will also be available through a conference call line.
3. A PLAN for What You Want to Do at Your Local Celebration Event
You can do something as simple as have a group of local folks watch the live video feed, but there is much more that you can do. Here’s a list of things that local In-Person DIA Reintroduction Celebrations may include:
Celebrate with Food
It’s a celebration. Have food. Even some snacks and drinks will make your event seem more celebratory. Get (or have someone make) a celebration cake. Send in pictures of your group with your cake to ADAPT – via email, twitter or Facebook – and you will be entered to win $200 in a national drawing. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #FreedomDay2019 so we don’t miss your great pictures!!
Wear your DIA Introduction T-shirts
Order your DIA Introduction T-shirts today so you can wear them for the event. To order please email Dawn at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the email please include how many T-shirts you need for your Watch Party, along with sizes and a mailing address for delivery. Deadline to order T-shirts is ASAP.
Lead a Discussion Group
If you haven’t done an event like this before, it can be an extremely powerful experience when folks share how this issue impacts our us individually, the people we care about and our entire community. Pick someone to moderate the group. Their job is to get people to share their stories. After the discussion, hand out paper and markers and encourage people to make signs about why we need DIA! For example, one person may write “We need the Disability Integration Act because all Americans should live in freedom!” and other may write other reasons. People can then take selfies with their signs and post them on social media with the hashtag #FreedomDay2019
Educate and Advocate
Get a few folks – or even one person – to read up on DIA before the event and then explain the bill and what it does to the group. Use the resource materials available on our DIA website. As you explain it have people identify examples of why it is important. Then have people in the group call their individual Representatives and Senators. Thank the initial cosponsors and urge the others to cosponsor the bill.
Write Your Legislators
If your members of Congress are initial cosponsors of the Disability Integration Act, have everyone at your event write them letters or cards to thank them for supporting the lives and liberty of Americans with disabilities and seniors! If they’re not on the bill, write to your members of Congress and urge them to get on! Post pictures of your letters (and the people writing them) on social media before you send them. And don’t forget to write a text description of the letter so we know what it says!) and use the hashtag #FreedomDay2019
Pick a time and identify up to five speakers. Then invite the media and folks from the local Disability Community to hear from them. Talk about the bill and the importance of the House passing it. If you have a local member of Congress who is an initial cosponsor, invite them to send a representative to talk about the bill. You can give them a certificate of appreciation. Express excitement about seeing DIA pass before July 26, 2019. Even if the media doesn’t come, do the press conference anyway. The pictures are great for social media and newsletters and the people who were there will be excited.
4. A PLAN to Ensure Access
DIA is a civil rights bill that ensures all Disabled Americans are able to live in freedom. To honor that commitment, we must ensure that people with all types of disabilities are able to participate. Access is a civil right, but even within the Disability Community, there still are inaccessible events. Most often the issue is a lack of awareness.
- Here is a guide for making temporary events accessible
- Here are some tips for providing communication access
We know people all over the Disability Community are excited about the reintroduction of DIA and the expectation that the House of Representatives will pass DIA before July 26, 2019, but people won’t come to your celebration if they do not know about it. So, invite people! You can do this by email, Facebook or other social media and electronic means, but you can also be old-school and call people up. Personal invitations like this are most effective. You can also ask other groups to join you. Look at the National DIA Supporter List for ideas.