As an independent living center, Living Independently for Today and Tomorrow’s systems change advocacy is based on the simple philosophy of “Nothing about us without us!” in other words we believe that policy makers whether at the local, state or federal level should not be making decisions that affect the lives and well being of persons with disabilities without hearing directly from persons with disabilities.
Simply put we believe that people with disabilities have the right to control their own lives and enjoy the same opportunities as all other citizens. This includes the right to:
- Make their own decisions and direct their own affairs
- Have a family life
- Have choices in services, transportation, housing, education and employment
- Participate fully in the social, economic and political life in their communities and
- Contribute their unique talents and abilities as respected members of their communities
Although traditionally associated with 1960s style protest actions such as those undertaken by ADAPT and other groups, systems change advocacy has evolved to incorporate a wide variety of political strategy and public policy development. You don’t need to be a “rabble rouser” to be involved with systems change work here at LIFTT.
Montana Independent Living Task Forces
On a statewide level one of the ways LIFTT is involved in advocating for and creating policies that further the goals of independent living is by participating in a number of task forces whose membership consists of staff and consumers from all four Montana Independent Living Centers as well as other advocates. Currently there are five task forces each covering a specific policy area: Self-Determination, Native American, Community Living, Transportation, Youth & Employment. Anyone who is interested in a particular issue is invited to participate in a task force.
Montana IL Action Alert System
The four Montana Centers for Independent Living have combined to provide an action alert service which notifies and provides links to action steps for advocates when issues of importance to Montanans with Disabilities arise in the public discourse. Click here to sign up for the Montana CIL Action Alert System
National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
On a national level, LIFTT participates in advocacy efforts as a proud member of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). Click here to visit NCIL’s Advocacy Monitor Blog for the latest in what is going on in Washington and around the nation.
Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
Independent Living in rural areas such as Eastern Montana brings with it unique challenges and opportunities that may not exist in more urban areas. Because of this LIFTT is a proud member of the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL). APRIL provides leadership and resources on rural independent living. As a national membership organization, APRIL is dedicated to advancing the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities in rural America by serving as a center of resources and by leading systems change.
Sending a letter to the editor or contacting your elected officials
Perhaps the simplest way to become an advocate for systems change is to let your local community and elected leaders know what is important to you by sending a letter to your local media or contacting an official.
- Find your local newspaper (Montana Newspaper Association)
- Find your local radio and TV stations (Montana Broadcasters Association)
- President Donald Trump
- United States Senator Jon Tester
- United States Senator Steve Daines
- United States Representative Greg Gianforte
- Montana Governor Steve Bullock
- Montana Legislature
- Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
If you are interested in getting involved in systems change activity contact LIFTT Public Relations & Government Affairs Coordinator Jed Barton @ 406-294-5186 or firstname.lastname@example.org