LOS ANGELES/ORANGE COUNTY/SAN DIEGO , September 21, 2020
Vicki Greenleaf, Greenleaf and Associates
Easterseals Southern California (ESSC), which assists more than 13,000 people with developmental disabilities and other special needs throughout SoCal, has launched a public awareness campaign encouraging people with disabilities to register and to vote.
According to the CDC, more than 61 million people across the country—25 percent of the U.S. population or one-in-four voters—have a disability, making them a minority demographic that could help decide the Nov. 3 presidential election. Of those, 23 percent live in California (more than 9 million), nearly 5.5 million of them in SoCal.
Under the banner, We Are the 25%, the campaign’s goals are to raise awareness; educate people on the various options available to them outside of traditional voting avenues that cater to their needs, by mail, at home or at the polls; and encourage them to take action.
The campaign—which is in both English and Spanish—includes billboards throughout Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties; and a robust social media campaign with the hashtags #WeAreThe25, #VoteYourWay and #DisablityVote. Learn more about how to register by Oct. 19, expanded voting options or how to get involved at www.WeAreThe25.org.
Howard McBroom, an activist for people with disabilities, once received services from ESSC is now a staff member of the non-profit’s Adult Day Services. McBroom, who has autism and also utilizes a wheelchair, advocates on behalf of disability rights with state and city legislators in Sacramento and in Southern California.
Says McBroom, “The disability vote is very important. We are 25 percent strong. How we vote could tip the election. Developmentally disabled people don’t have much power and don’t usually get a say in things. If they realize they do have power, things might change. People think of us as having no minds, but if you really got to know us and see how capable we can be, I think it would change opinions. We can vote and it’s imperative that we do. We’re a vulnerable population. If my services were taken away, I’d be immobile. I can’t begin to tell you how crucial this election is.”
Commented Mark Whitley, president & CEO of ESSC, “As our country strives for true inclusion, justice and equality, people with disabilities must play a larger role, renewing our fight against marginalization, stigmas and gross under-representation. Our elected officials, whether seated locally or in Washington D.C., make decisions every day that dramatically impact the lives, wellbeing, health and prosperity of every person within the disability community. We vote to be heard, to be counted, to be included and to ensure our government makes informed decisions about necessary social services, access to healthcare, critical employment or educational supports and more. The stakes have never been higher, we must get out our vote.”
Added Andre Filip, ESSC’s board chair and CEO of ELA - A Global Creative Agency, which developed the campaign’s creative pro bono, “Now more than ever the 25 percent need to be heard. Our objective was to create a meaningful campaign meant to encourage and empower people with disabilities to register and make their voices heard in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. This campaign also raises awareness around how many people in the U.S. have disabilities, as well as disability inclusion. Every voice counts and this is the core message of the We Are the 25% campaign.”
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About Easterseals Southern California:
For more than 100 years, Easterseals has been an indispensable resource for people with disabilities and their families. The services provided by Easterseals Southern California (ESSC)—in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura counties—make profound and positive differences in people's lives every day, helping them address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals so that they can live, learn, work and play in our communities. With nearly 3,000 employees, 60+ service sites and hundreds of community partnership locations, each year ESSC assists more than 13,000 people, providing adult/senior day services; autism therapy; child development/early education; employment services; veteran employment support; independent living options; and more. For more information, visit: Easterseals.com/SouthernCal.
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