Congress’s last two attempts to address Coronavirus overlooked people with disabilities.
People with disabilities are unequivocally the hardest hit by this.
Our education (- the rights of students with disabilities who need accommodation and supports in their learning) and our very lives are at stake here. If we are going to get through this, we need Congress to include us in the third bill (which is currently being drafted), making sure that it covers things like:
- Extra funding so Medicaid can still provide home and community based services during the crisis.
- Making sure family caregivers for adults with disabilities are covered by paid leave.
- Making sure that people on SSI or SSDI are able to receive cash payments like everyone else, without worrying about income or asset limits.
- Making sure that people with disabilities can get our medications refilled.
- Making sure we don’t face discrimination in health care.
- Protecting the rights of students with disabilities.
- Permanently reauthorizing Money Follows the Person, to make sure that people who are institutionalized during the crisis can return to their homes and communities.
How to Make Our Voices Heard:
Social media and emails are the way to go right now!
This makes me happy, because these are my forums of choice. Here are 2 tools that AAPD notified me of:
- The Arc came up with this super cool tool in which you put in your zip code and it tells you who your state representatives are, their respective bios, social media handles and their contact information. Find it linked here.
- Tweet your Members of Congress directly through this site called “Tweet Congress“
Social Media Schedulers
You can set up a bunch of tweets to go on auto-pilot on twitter, and then set a time for yourself to actually get on twitter and re-tweet others’ tweets to amplify them.
Social Media tools:
There are a ton of schedulers out there, most of them cost money.
For the purpose of this, I recommend Buffer, because it’s free, easy to use, and intuitive for those who aren’t that familiar with this stuff.
Other well known social media schedulers include HootSuite, SmarterQueue, MeetEdgar, TweetDeck. I use SmarterQueue for this blog, but I’m only going to recommend Buffer for something like this, because it’s so easy and it’s FREEEEEEE.
You can also schedule tweets and posts directly from your Facebook or Twitter business pages.
The Hashtags Being Used for This:
Add one or both of these to your tweets, in addition to directly calling a representative (or 3).
The point of adding the hashtag is that others can search and find your tweet, and also, so that we can get enough momentum to trend and make this surge forth and “trend” on twitter, which always makes people pay attention.
This is What To Do:
- Look up your representatives’ twitter handles using the tool from The Arc, create a list of the handles
- Open up the pdf of the tweets to spring from
- Open up Buffer or a social media scheduling tool. Schedule tweets to run all day, with short breaks throughout.
- Copy/paste and edit the tweets in, being sure to add your representatives’ handles, as well as the Big Guns (Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Kevin McCarthy). You won’t be able to fit everyone in one tweet, so just add some representatives to some, and others to another tweet, and keep it all scheduled. Be sure to add one or both of the hashtags that are being used for this, #SeeUsSchumer and/or #WhatWeNeed
- Set up a time to get on Twitter directly. Find people who are also tweeting for this by searching the hashtags, #SeeUsSchumer and #WhatWeNeed and retweet their content. Don’t just “heart” it or like it; you need to actually retweet! And you can retweet with comment! Whatever; just keep it moving!
Useful Direct Links:
- Lookup Your Representative (tool): https://disabilityadvocacynetwork.org/app/lookup?8&m=9898
- COVID-19 Legislation in more detail: https://thearc.org/covid-19-legislation-first-step-in-addressing-crisis-for-people-with-disabilities-families/
Tweet Congress: http://www.tweetcongress.org/home
Buffer Social Media Scheduling: https://buffer.com
Twitter 101: All the basics of Twitter (what @, #, rt mean, and more!) https://www.meriahnichols.com/twitter-101
Sample Tweets: Click to Download
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E). Deaf, with C-PTSD and TBI, she’s also a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.