2021 Legislative & Annual Report: In the Community

3 minute read

Engaging our communities is critical to our advocacy work and our mission creating a barrier-free society. We seek to educate and activate Texans with disabilities, their families, and support networks through our own grassroots organizing and all kinds of collaborations with our partners.

Raise Your Voice!

CTD’s interactive Raise Your Voice! (RYV) events are designed to provide a functional understanding of our state’s legislative process while connecting emerging and seasoned advocates. We prepare and support a geographically diverse group of people with disabilities and their supporters to educate legislators about the real good and harm their decisions can mean to Texans with disabilities.

In 2021, we connected and activated hundreds of emerging and seasoned advocates across the state, while providing detailed updates of issues affecting Texans with disabilities in a tumultuous legislative session.

Guests of note included Emily Wolinsky, whose testimonial about her experience in the winter storm as a person with a disability reached national audiences, and Nick Kalla, chief of staff for State Representative Garnet Coleman, speaking about Coleman's efforts to revive the sorely needed Office on Health Equity.

We held 20 Raise Your Voice! calls this year, sparking hours of meaningful conversation and generating thousands of messages to legislators.

“Thank you so much for all you do for the community. Personally, I loved participating in your RYV trainings throughout the legislative session – I learned so much.” RYV participant

Presentations, panels, trainings

Outside of Raise Your Voice!, our staff gives presentations, sits on panels, and holds trainings on a range of policy and practical topics (like navigating special education systems or the state’s Compassionate Use Program). In 2021, our staff delivered content in 38 presentations, panels, or trainings to over 1,100 Texans. Some highlights:

"It was the best webinar/training that covered ethics in healthcare w regard to the elderly and or disabled that I have ever attended. I mean wow! Thanks for setting this up; it was invaluable to my professional and personal education." Training attendee

“Her experience illustrates the need for significant reform in the criminal justice system, especially as it applies to supporting individuals living with mental health conditions. Further, Jennifer told her story in a way that elicited positive feedback from numerous audience members. Simply, she is among the most effective advocates at the Capitol and in the community.” Matthew Lovitt, NAMI Texas Peer Policy Fellow

SXSW award

With such turmoil at the start of 2021, we were thrilled and deeply moved that SXSW honored us with a Community Service Award for our work to bring down barriers for people with disabilities in Austin (including at SXSW!) and across the state.

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