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I/DD conference: 'We Stand Together, Band Together, and Stay Together'


Mon, May 1st 2023 09:55 am

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities gather to teach each other about speaking up for yourself at a conference in Niagara Falls

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, self-advocates and their supporters are gathering in person to celebrate victories, empower one another to speak up, and connect.

A conference, which features workshops such as “The Art of Advocacy,” "Telling Your Story in the Media” with reporter Emyle Watkins, budgeting and social justice, plus keynotes, an awards ceremony, and a dance party led by self-advocates, will be held at the Niagara Falls Convention Center at the end of June. The deadline to register is May 18. The event is open to everyone.

A press release stated, “Self-advocacy groups are places where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) connect with others with similar issues, share information, and support one another to speak up and get active in civic life. This conference brings together self-advocacy groups from across the Western and Finger Lakes region, and is open to anyone interested in self-advocacy.”

Josh Derrick, co-chair of the ARC Alliance in Rochester, said, “For me, those physical, face-to-face connections are so meaningful, being able to share stories and see people’s faces light up. I like going to the conference to learn new things, learn from others’ experiences, connect, and network.”

The keynote speakers are:

√ BJ Stasio, a self-advocate who moved the New York State Legislature to fund services for people with IDD with his testimony in Albany, and recently successfully advocated with Councilman Mitch Nowakowski and others to get the City of Buffalo to hire an inclusion coordinator.

√ Hannah Brecher, a young self-advocate looking to take the self-advocacy movement into the next generation.

More information and registration can be found at sanys.org/event/wny2023.

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