Have you ever wondered what spending a day at the Capitol advocating for individuals looks like? Have you ever wondered if YOU could be an advocate? Three of the newest members of our Easterseals Legislative team attended their very first "Day at the Capitol" advocating for the passage of House Bill 831; Employment Independence for Georgians with Disabilities. Here's what they had to say about their first experience advocating for individuals with disabilities at the State Capitol.
Lesia Irvin, Easterseals Family Support Coordinator
"The thought of visiting the Capitol and speaking to legislators was terrifying for me, but I'm so glad I was given the opportunity to participate in this inspiring and amazing experience. We advocated for House Bill 831 (HB 831) Employment Independence for Georgians with disabilities while we were there and I was amazed how Legislators took the time out of their busy day to talk to me about it. A special thanks to Senator Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur) for an amazing memory; because of him we were able to visit the Senate floor and meet Lieutenant governor Casey Cagle. Senator Jones invited me to sit in his seat and took my picture with Senator Ellis Black (R-Valdosta). As if I wasn't already as excited about my day as a child at Christmas, we watched the Senate pass HB 831. I now have a better understanding of the Senate and House of Representatives. I'm no longer terrified to talk to my Legislators about issues because I need to let them know what's important to me, so they will know how at least one constituent feels about the issues. I'm looking forward to my next opportunity to visit the Capitol and advocate regarding the issues facing individuals with disabilities."
Daphne Jackson, Easterseals Director of Adult Day Services
"My experience at the Capitol was great. An opportunity to speak with legislators about the issues we care about, and for them to be appreciative of the work we do. I found myself both inspired and captivated. Inspired to do more work for the individuals we serve and captivated that we are not along in the pursuit to provide a community for all. At the end of the day, I seek the open door of creativity, healing and peace. I choose harmony and understanding. I will live confidently knowing that my life will be enriched through the people we serve."
Christina Cooper, Easterseals Director of Development
"Our trip to the Capitol gave me the opportunity to put what I have learned in the office into practice. I had no idea that legislators would be so open to talking to individuals about their issues-even those not within the districts they serve. Being able to see that legislators are "people too" and they care about the issues of their constituents was both encouraging and enlightening. In addition, being about to talk to individuals that the legislation supports inspired me to continue to be an advocate for those individuals and their families."