Utah Grassroots Advocacy Partnership wants to help the disability community in advocacy

October 17, 2012 by Storee

Utahns looking to influence public policy and advocate for disability-related issues have the support of Utah Grassroots Advocacy Partnership (GAP).

The goal of GAP is, “To provide education and support to the disability community that allows individuals with disabilities, their families, and professionals to proactively advocate for the policies and services needed though the interaction and engagement in the making of public policy.”

Utah is divided into eleven regions, each region having its own organizer. To see regions and contact information for organizers, visit utahgap.org/blog. Region 1 organizer, who oversees Cache, Rich and Box Elder Counties, is Cherissa Alldredge.

Alldredge tries to use her own experience with disability to help those who haven’t experienced disability.GAP regional organizer, Cherissa Alldgredge

“My interest in disability advocacy is a result of my own experience with disability.  My disability – visual impairment – is due to an acquired brain injury,” she said. “Because of my brain injury, I have come to understand on a personal level some of the social, economic, and accessibility challenges that individuals’ with disabilities face.”

Before Alldredge’s brain injury, she was working as a human resource professional, so she is particularly interested in improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.  Currently, she is a student in the Disability Disciplines doctoral program at Utah State University.

Disability is a relevant national issue for policymakers. A recent, weighted survey found that 51 percent of respondents either had a disability, or had a family member or close friend with one. Advocacy for disability services and policy is particularly important with the upcoming 2012 election and 2013 U.S. budget resolution, when programs may be facing cuts.

Earlier this month, the CPD participated as a viewing site for the National Forum on Disability Issues, where representatives for the presidential candidates addressed concerns from citizens.

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