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Disability Advocacy Journey

I grew up in a faith-based family with an aunt and uncle who spent most of their career as missionaries overseas. They spent many years in Japan and the Philippines establishing Christian churches. I heard enough stories from them when they visited on furlough to know that I was not equipped for their somewhat nomadic lifestyle. I love to set up roots in a community and have a large network of family and friends close by. Listening to their conversations about distant lands always brought me back to the question of how I can invest in my own community. 

This question nudges me to examine my own city through the lens of social justice. What injustices are hidden below the surface? Who receives less access to care? How do I define the margins within my own community that people find themselves relegated to? The more I stare right in front of me, the more I realize I have work to do right here. 

Working within the realm of social justice does not require a long journey to a far off place.

I also wonder how to do the work well. For me, the first step is connecting with people and groups who have lived experience of being marginalized. The more I listen, the more God lays on my heart a deep desire to ask questions, to listen and work alongside my sisters and brothers who have been marginalized. God helps me understand that He has designed me to love community and to love building relationships. Working within the realm of social justice does not require a long journey to a far off place. It simply requires a deep desire to make positive change in the world, and that can happen where I am living right now.

If you would like to invest in your own community, Disability Concerns ministry leaders of the RCA and the CRC and the Next Generation team of the RCA have created Disability Advocacy Journey for young adults (college age and older) who want to grow in their advocacy skills. Over the course of eight months, starting this September, 25 young adults will gather online for a learning journey in disability advocacy. This program is rooted in community, connecting to local disability advocates and learning from people who are already working within the community currently. 

Simply put, anyone who embarks on this journey will discover how they can put their passionate heart into action. 

Participants will have the opportunity to learn about advocacy from dynamic activists like Judy Heumann (featured in the Netflix documentary “Crip Camp”). They will learn from local activists who have been championing access and improvements in their regions. They will learn about resources needed for advocacy and talk with others who got things moving in their areas of expertise. Participants on this journey will work with each other and with a professional coach to achieve their goals to further the work of advocacy with people who have disabilities in the community. Simply put, anyone who embarks on this journey will discover how they can put their passionate heart into action. 

The Disability Advocacy Journey is currently accepting applications. If you are between the ages of 18 and 30; live in West Michigan, Northwest Iowa, or the Central or Capital regions of upstate New York; and would like to expand your advocacy knowledge and skills, we encourage you to apply. It will be an amazing opportunity for you to invest in your community.

Apply here  Do you know someone between the ages of 18 and 30 who is passionate about disability advocacy? You can nominate them for this journey. Nomination form.

To find out more about the Disability Advocacy Journey, visit: Disability Advocacy Journey, Turning your Passion into Action

Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

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