Human Rights

Nicole LeBlanc reports…

In the area of advancing Human Rights, GMSA has been partnering with the VT Workers Center and other non-disability groups to build a strong human rights movement that puts people first. As part of our work together we have held solidarity schools which are geared toward training people with and without disabilities to be grassroots organizers. We also sit on the Human Rights council, which meets during the legislative session, to problem solve around stopping budget cuts on the backs of people with disabilities, the poor, and the elderly.

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Max Barrows reports…

As much as I like working with disability groups, organizing with other groups beyond the disability community is refreshing, rewarding, empowering and exciting. People accept us for who we are. They are not trying to change us. Our issues become part of a bigger Human Rights campaign.

We spend a lot of time with the twenty-somethings at the Vermont Workers Center. They taught us how to use google hangout. If they have an appointment with the Governor they include us. They even offer to give Self-Advocates rides to meetings. We write press releases together.

They are true allies. They came and celebrated with us when the Governor signed the Vermont Respectful Language Bill. They find money for our leaders to attend national events and travel with us providing natural support.

Over the last 4 years, as part of the Human Rights Council we organized Candidate forums in every County in Vermont. Self-Advocates were involved every single step along the way.

For example, here are two college students testifying at a candidate forum. Raymond is one of our members and a Think College student. He explained how developmental services supports him at college and at work. Then a fellow student without a disability testified about the impacts of the growing student debt crisis.

We learn so much about barriers that other people are facing. We work together because we know that there is no climate justice without migrant justice, no workers’ rights without disability rights.

And we are all in this together as one.

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