Sarah: In Action with Others

The blog this week was written by Allison Hammond, Program Director at The Arcadia Institute. Leadership is taking initiative with others to make impact that improves the community.

Sarah is the Chair person of the Regional Interagency Community Council (RICC) for the Kalamazoo area. The RICC is a community collective of people with and without disabilities who are committed to advocating for people with disabilities. She also chairs the Public Policy Work Group for RICC. Recently, Sarah was appointed to be a liaison from the Kalamazoo region to the statewide RICC network.

Sarah takes this work very seriously.

Sarah was very active in the movement to have the Michigan Legislature approve Medicaid Expansion in 2013. Not only did Sarah actively and persistently collect signatures of a few hundred voters; she personally arranged several conference calls with RICC members and our local Legislators in order to have conversations with them about Medicaid Expansion. She and others shared with the Legislators what the expansion would mean for services for people with disabilities.

More recently, Sarah is involved with communications to Legislators about issues around Employment First. Just this week, Sarah led a conference call with Legislators to discuss the practice of people with disabilities going to work in "enclaves" or groups being considered competitive employment. She and RICC members talked with them about their concerns about this practice limiting people with disabilities from being considered by employers to be hired as individuals.

As Sarah leads this advocacy work, she is constantly communicating with others about the importance of speaking up and being part of the action. She has learned how to become more tactful and diplomatic in her communications, while being true to her convictions. She reads legislation and helps other RICC members understand what it means so that they can have informed discussions.

Sarah also has her own successful cleaning business and had a contract to clean for a local enterprise.

When are you running for office, Sarah?