#AdvocacyMatters: Connecting to Communities

December 1, 2023 / #AdvocacyMatters

Our advocacy and resources are only effective when they reach those who need them. Communities throughout Ohio still face barriers when attempting to fully participate in the world around them. We are working to connect directly with these underserved groups to learn how organizations like ours can better reach them and more comprehensively understand and address their needs.

Yesterday our team partnered with Cleveland's U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants -  Uniting for Ukraine to host a hybrid in-person and virtual listening session, covering a range of topics like language and cultural needs, the barriers faced by community members with disabilities, and the best way the engage with them. This event was the first in a planned series of sessions with underserved communities all across Ohio.

This event successfully generated conversations not just about the Ukrainian-American community’s needs, but about more complex topics like how disabilities are recognized across these two cultures. Participants also discussed specific areas of advocacy and support that they felt would be most beneficial to their community, and existing resources were shared with them to help bridge these gaps in the short term.

“Our mission – to advocate for an equitable Ohio for people with disabilities – can only be achieved if we are connecting to those who face the greatest barriers to accessing supports,” Executive Director Kerstin Sjoberg reflected. “This listening session took us one step closer to understanding some of these barriers and beginning partnerships to overcome them.”

If you or your organization have a connection to any underserved communities and are willing to help us with this project, please reach out to us at communications@disabilityrightsohio.org. While we know the need is great, by partnering with others who share our vision we’ll be able to develop meaningful relationships where they’re needed most. #AdvocacyMatters

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