Peer Support Group around Advocacy!
TWP Advocates in Action
Meets on the 4th Tuesday of the month from 2:00 - 4:00 pm on Zoom.
Open to all people with disabilities and anyone in the community who wants to participate in civic activities at the city, state, and federal levels of government impacting people with disabilities in Kansas and Missouri. All are invited!
RSVP or request accommodations with Kendra Burgess, Public Policy Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org; or 816-627-2204.
(This group was formerly called "TWP Consumer Advocacy Group")
March 2022 Meeting
Guest speaker, Martha Gabehart – Executive Director, Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns (KCDC), in the Kansas governor’s office. KCDC is a catalyst for change in state government for all people with disabilities. It recommends policy and programmatic changes to state laws, programs and regulations that improve independence and integration in Kansas.
Topic: “2022 Kansas State Legislative Overview.” What you can expect to learn:
- How the Kansas State Legislature works & how to navigate the state legislative website
- The purpose, services, and resources offered by the KCDC
- Overview of topics/bills of note introduced thus far during the Kansas Legislative Session
- How to further engage in virtual or in-person advocacy
Even if you are not a Kansas resident, this is still an excellent opportunity to learn about how state government works!
Accessible Healthcare Workshop Webinar - April 27, 2021
Help your healthcare providers help you!
Learn how to become an empowered, proactive healthcare advocate from a leading attorney on disability rights and healthcare law.
Learn about your legal rights and how to enforce them to become your own patient advocate. This in-service can also explain to healthcare providers and students how to increase accessibility for patients and clients and inform them of their legal rights.
Presenter: Andrés J. Gallegos, Esq., Robbins, Solomon & Patt, Ltd.
There are solutions if you’ve experienced any of the following while seeking healthcare:
- Examined while in your wheelchair
- Exam rooms too small to move around in
- Exam tables or exam chairs are too high and can’t be lowered, or you are told to bring someone to lift you to access medical equipment
- Long waits or refusal of service because of your disability
- Important information is not given to you in an accessible format
- No qualified sign language interpreter at appointments
- No service animals allowed
This workshop is for all people with disabilities, healthcare providers, and Independent Living staff.
About our Presenter: Andrés J Gallegos, Esq.
Andrés J. Gallegos, Esq. is a disability rights attorney and shareholder with the Chicago, Illinois law firm of Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd. Andrés founded and directs his law firm’s national disability rights practice, which has as its focus improving access to healthcare and wellness programs for persons across all categories of disabilities throughout the country.
In February 2018, Andrés received a congressional appointment to the National Council on Disability (NCD). In January 2021, on the afternoon of his inauguration, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., designated Andrés to be the Chairman of NCD. NCD is an independent federal agency that advises the President, his administration, Congress and the head of federal agencies on all matters affecting persons with disabilities in the country and in the US territories. Andrés has a deep history of advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities, having been appointed by the Illinois governor to the Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois, serving two terms; is the immediate past Chairman of the Board of Directors of Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago’s center for independent living, and has been on its board for the past ten years; and was recently voted to the Board of Directors of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Institute, which has as its mission to increase civic engagement and diverse leadership by developing and building a network of leaders with disabilities consistent with the spirit of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Andrés is a person with a disability have sustained a spinal cord injury, resulting in quadriplegia, as a result of an automobile accident in 1996. Andrés is a veteran of the United States Air Force having served on active duty for 14 years. Andrés was recently featured in Health Affairs, a leading journal on health policy. View article here.
Advocates in Action Documents
Creative Advocacy in Action
by Darrin Sherman
TWP Advocates in Action Group Member
I am a visually impaired person, and walking is my preferred method of exercise. I live across the street from the Parade Park baseball complex in Kansas City, MO, where there is a track within the complex.
Although there are entrance on the far South and West sides of the complex, there is no accessible entrance for people with disabilities to get to the track from the Eastside of the complex closet to where I live. This has bothered me for years, especially since there are residences on the Eastside and not on the Westside.
Due to difficulties in finding the track, I have always just walked on the sidewalk around the complex, upset that I couldn’t easily access this public facility in my neighborhood. Since my ultimate goal was to find the track, I decided to think outside the box to solve the problem.
I reached out to several of my associates in the blind community, including Michael Nava and Sheila Styron, Blindness Low Vision Specialist II at The Whole Person. Michael suggested driveway markers. Driveway markers are an inexpensive way to create an artificial landmark that a visually impaired person can locate with their mobility cane.
I then purchased a package of the markers then reached out to Kendra Burgess, Public Policy Coordinator at The Whole Person, to see if I could get permission from Kansas City Parks and Recreation to place them in the park. Not only did I receive permission, but Leslie Alford, Communications and Development Manager at KC Parks and Rec, and her husband, Mark Alford, also met with me, Kendra, and Anthony Trakas, Accessible Sports Outreach and Inclusion Specialist at The Whole Person, so that I could explain my problem and the inexpensive and creative solution to said problem.
We then walked to an area that was closest to the track from the sidewalk on the east side of the complex. Then we placed two markers next to the track and two markers next to the sidewalk, in essence, creating an artificial landmark that I could locate while walking on the track or sidewalk. Once I located the markers, I knew that was where I could cross the grass to get to the track and back to the sidewalk. A simple and creative solution to a problem that was preventing me from finding the track.
Unfortunately, this simple solution was also a temporary solution, as the markers were taken on several occasions. I reported this to Kendra and suggested that if the markers were replaced, they could be anchored in cement to make the markers more difficult to pull up.
She shared my suggestion with Parks and Rec, and the markers have been replaced and anchored in cement. In the future, I will continue to advocate for a permanent sidewalk to the track. But for now, the driveway markers are a simple creative solution to my problem.
Advocates in Action Stories
These are real stories from consumers working to create positive change in the community.
CLICK TITLE to read full story:
"I am visually impaired and am an avid user of public transportation here in Kansas City. For years, I had been having a problem at the intersection of 11th Street and Grand Avenue in downtown Kansas City. While I was working, I had to use this intersection daily to catch the bus that took me to work."