Advocacy Network

NEW YORK STATEWIDE SYSTEMS ADVOCACY NETWORK

Background

The New York Statewide Systems Advocacy Network (SSAN) is a project that was originally prioritized in the New York Statewide Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) for 2002-2004. Please see text from the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, below in italics. It is highlighted to emphasize systems advocacy themes consistent with the SSAN.

Chapter 1, Title VII, Section 701: Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to promote a philosophy of Independent living, including a philosophy of consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and individual and systems advocacy, in order to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American society, by:

1) Providing financial assistance to States for providing, expanding, and improving the provision of independent living services; and

2) Providing financial assistance to develop and support statewide networks of centers for independent living.

State-wide network (SSAN) made up of hundreds of individuals across New York State all working together to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.  The SSAN, as it’s called, employs a variety of strategies and methods designed to achieve a barrier free, fully inclusive society for everyone, including individuals with disabilities.

The SSAN is a group of volunteers who stand “at the ready” whenever their help is needed.  Usually assistance is requested to support or oppose a piece of legislation or a legislative issue that will impact the lives of individuals with disabilities.  When this happens, the network is asked to respond in one or more of a variety of ways such as:

  • Contact legislators by phone, fax and/or email
  • Write a letter to the editor in support of or opposition to a legislative issue
  • Provide oral and/or written testimony on a given topic
  • Participate in voter registration drives, voter pledge drives and/or get out the vote campaigns

Resources

Click here to contact your local state and local government.

New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL)

Click here to read about information to include when writing to your congressman.

Center for Disability Rights “CDR partners with disability rights activists across the city, state and country in order to foster the independence, integration and civil rights of people with disabilities.”

About our Systems Advocate – Alex Thompson

Before joining RCAL, Alex worked as the co-founder of Abilities Connect, an accessibility consultancy. He has also worked for the American Association of People with Disabilities(AAPD), the National Council on Aging (NCOA), and the National Association of Law Students with Disabilities (NALSWD).

During his time at AAPD, Alex met with U.S. Senators and staff to advocate for the appointment of judges with disabilities to better represent the diversity of U.S. citizens. Alex is a volunteer tax preparer for the AARP Tax-Aide program, a peer mentor with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, and on committees for the Newburgh Illuminated Festival. He is a member of the Hudson Valley Chapter of the United Spinal Association, the National Federation of the Blind at Large Chapter, the National Eagle Scout Association, and the National Association of Attorneys with Disabilities.

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Read the article “From Injury to Employment” written by Keith Gurgui