January 14, 2022
Register for Virtual Joint Legislative & Advocacy Forum
Our Joint Legislative & Advocacy Forum with the New York Alliance for Inclusion & Innovation will be held virtually February 14 and 15. The annual forum provides access to information on the 2022-23 Executive Budget proposal, upcoming legislation, advocacy strategies, and opportunities to engage leadership in the Senate and Assembly. Parents and family members, self-advocates, direct support professionals, not-for-profit agencies and other stakeholders will hear from presenters across a wide range of timely topics, reflecting the importance for us to be a strong voice in Albany this year and beyond.

The forum is free to attend, and participants will be able to enjoy the benefits of our program without driving to the NYS Capitol! Join us, and ensure you're informed and engaged as we begin the next stage of our advocacy from March to June.

Launch of the Willowbrook Mile on January 18
The College of Staten Island/CUNY, housed on the former site of the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island, New York, is marking 2022 as The Year of Willowbrook, a year of public programming to commemorate several significant Willowbrook anniversaries. Programming will include the installation of the Willowbrook Mile, an interpretive walking trail on the Willowbrook campus. NYSARC's role as an advocate and plaintiff in the Willowbrook Case and resulting Consent Decree is recognized in the Mile. The initial launch will take place Tuesday, January 18 from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM. You can register for the event here

The Willowbrook project at the College of Staten Island grew out of the historical project initiated by the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council partnered with other stakeholders – the College of Staten Island/CUNY, the NYS Institute for Basic Research (IBR), and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) – to establish a memorial walking trail that is now the Willowbrook Mile.

Send A Message of Thanks and Encouragement to Governor Hochul
We created a one-click campaign for you to send your own message to the governor, thanking her for keeping her promise to support people with I/DD and urging her to stay the course throughout the budget process. The letter can be personalized, so please feel free to tell your story from the heart.

The recognition of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and tangible investment in the governors State of the State packet represents a turning point for the I/DD field and the people they support. Advocates across the state have worked tirelessly to make New York state leaders understand and support our needs and goals. Governor Hochul heeded that call by including significant investments to support people with disabilities in her Executive Budget. This is just the start of a long budget process, but we are entering negotiations from a position of strength.

Please take a moment to extend your thanks to Governor Hochul and remind her how critically we need the promised investment. Your words and actions drive change, as demonstrated with the great advocacy success realized this week!
Saratoga Bridges Virtual Town Meeting with Legislators
Saratoga Bridges is holding a virtual Town Meeting with legislators on Friday, January 21 at 1 PM. The 90-minute meeting will give direct care staff, self-advocates and family members an opportunity to address state leaders regarding the workforce crisis and critical need for funding in the 2022 New York State Budget. You can tune in live on the Saratoga Bridges Facebook Page.

Last Chance to Submit Nominees for The Arc US Board of Directors
The Board Development Committee (BDC) of The Arc of the United States is requesting your help to identify talented people of diverse backgrounds to meet the current and future leadership needs of the organization. The BDC developed 2022 Nominating Priorities, which are outlined in the 2022 Board Prospectus. Please take a moment to review the Priorities, and consider if you know someone who would be a good fit for The Arc’s Board of Directors, including, in particular, candidates who will help achieve greater diversity on the national board. 

You may nominate someone you know for a board member position by filling out the application for the Board of Directors online, or you may share the Prospectus with the individual(s) you have in mind and suggest they consider nominating themselves. 

The Board Development Committee will begin review in January 2022 with the ultimate goal of presenting a single slate of candidates for election at the 2022 Annual Meeting in the fall.

Thank you for supporting The Arc US in their board development process.
Acting Commissioner Neifeld Visits The Arc Rockland
Meeting with the people OPWDD supports, staff and provider agencies has been at the top of Acting Commissioner Kerri Neifeld's agenda since she began in her role at the agency last month. Neifeld recently visited the Arc of Rockland, where she had the chance to meet with some of the staff at the nonprofit provider that supports people with developmental disabilities. The Arc Rockland provides numerous supports and services, including residential housing; day habilitation; job development, placement and training; transition services; health services and recreation.
This and all advocacy updates are archived on The Arc New York website for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
Contact: Philip Aydinian, Director of Governmental Affairs 
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