Uniting for Change 
UNITING FOR CHANGE is the name of Georgia’s new statewide self-advocacy network created and agreed upon by self-advocates in Georgia. This self-advocacy network is committed to advocating, organizing, showing up, and being heard. The mission and the heartbeat developed by the self-advocates who make up this grass roots movement is:
Uniting Georgians and influencing change by speaking up and taking control of our lives. 

Looking into the future, Uniting for Change advocates expect the network to... 

G raphics by Gabby Melnick, GCDD

  • Grow into a bigger, more empowered group.
  • Find multiple ways and opportunities for self-advocates to be heard.
  • Teach self-advocates to stand up, to advocate and take control of their lives.
  • Develop more resources and become a place for information, where Georgians with and without disabilities can receive information and support.
  • Create more access and more opportunities for people with disabilities in Georgia.
  • Increase the representation of self-advocates in the many groups and committees making decisions in Georgia that impact individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.
  • Impact the development of policies and laws impact individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.
  • Increase public knowledge and influence change around supported decision making as an alternative to guardianship
  • Establish more mentor and mentee relationships.
  • Educate people and communities about diversity and full inclusion.
  • Bring awareness to what self-advocates can do; are capable of and the contributions self-advocates bring.
Sangha Unity Network, Inc. (SUN) was awarded the Expanding Self-Advocacy grant in 2018 from Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD). SUN has been working with self-advocates throughout Georgia to develop and establish a viable, grassroots, active self-advocacy network. Self-advocacy is not a program; it is a movement run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who speak up about what is important, make choices that matter and go after dreams. Self-advocates are supported by allies (people without disabilities) who believe in, advocate with, and support the self-advocacy movement. Self-advocacy has been growing across the US and in Georgia since the 1970s. The Expanding Self-Advocacy Grant from GCDD provides for formal structure and formal supports to grow the advocacy movement over the next few years in Georgia.

Self-Advocacy Retreat: 

As part of the self-advocacy movement in Georgia, Uniting for Change, with support from SUN and other allies, will host a self-advocacy retreat at Calloway Gardens May 3-5, 2019. The retreat will bring together self-advocates from all over Georgia. Participants will be able to deepen connections, learn, and have practice with identifying and speaking up about what is important. Everyone will discuss how to be more involved and grow Georgia’s self-advocacy movement.