We Rise: DRO Highlights Challenges, Victories in 2020 Annual Report

July 7, 2021

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Disability Rights Ohio (DRO) was faced with a stark reality, their work on behalf of Ohioans living with disabilities was needed more than perhaps ever before. “We Rise,” DRO’s 2020 Annual Report, summarizes the advocacy organization’s remarkable results, despite a year complicated by a rapidly shifting work from home environment.

“The pandemic disproportionally impacted people living with disabilities,” explained Disability Rights Ohio Executive Director, Kerstin Sjoberg. “With the healthcare system already biased against people with disabilities, we knew we would need to implement new processes and procedures to ensure our constituents needs were met across the entire state. “

The impacts of COVID-19 presented DRO with a unique set of challenges. The details of how the organization prevailed are included in the report. For example, the organization’s Intake and Operations teams partnered to ensure their services remained accessible, both by phone and web-based intake submissions. As the prospect of care rationing arose, DRO worked to protect access to medical services for Ohioans with disabilities. As vaccines became available, DRO’s advocacy became pivotal to ensure that people with disabilities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 were prioritized. In addition, DRO created procedures and tools to investigate care facilities remotely while also compiling special resources to help families who have children with special needs navigate remote-only learning.

The report also chronicles the ways in which DRO confronted discrimination this past year, particularly where race and disability intersect. Also detailed in the report are the vast measures DRO implemented so people with disabilities were equal participants in the 2020 electoral process.

“To put it mildly, we were tested in 2020,” Sjoberg concludes in the report. “…the strategic, mission-focused resolve shown over this past year gives me the confidence that we’re ready to face whatever comes our way” Sjoberg concludes.

To read the full report online, click here or visit www.disabilityrightsohio.org/assets/documents/dro_2020_annual-report_pdf_accessible.pdf

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