In October, Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) held their national conference in Oklahoma City. Seven Sibling Leadership Network (SLN) members attended the conference and many volunteered with Project Vote to help people vote in the Board elections. Additionally, the SLN shared an exhibit booth with Parent to Parent USA providing information about our organizations to attendees. The SLN also gave a presentation in partnership with SABE and Parent to Parent USA called “We Are Family: Progress Through Collective Empowerment.”
Here are perspectives on the conference from two SLN members, Liz Weintraub and Rachel Patterson, who attended:
Rachel, a sibling and I, as a self-advocate, went to the SABE conference in Oklahoma City in October. What a great partnership!! The theme of the conference was “The sooner we are equal, the better.” This year, the topic of siblings was very important at the conference because the Pearce brother gave the opening keynote. Their story was one of love and determination, and how siblings can help each other. There were many sessions to attend. There were sessions on Self Determination, Employment, Community and many others. There also time to have and celebrate the self- advocacy movement with friends. Sunday was time to goodbye until 2016.
I was so happy to attend my first SABE conference with my colleague Liz! The Pearce Brothers gave a fantastic presentation about the roles of siblings. I was glad to see how all three of the brothers, with and without disabilities, supported each other throughout their lives.
On Saturday, Liz and I presented about policy with Julie Petty. Liz and Julie serve on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and we presented information from their 2012 Report to the President about managed care in Medicaid and what it means for long-term services and supports and waiver programs. I hope we inspired some people to get involved in policy in their states and make sure that self-advocates and siblings are included as stakeholders!
About Liz and Rachel:
Liz Weintraub is on the Communications Committee of the SLN. She has a long history of leadership in self-advocacy, and has held many board and advisory positions at state and national organizations. In addition to working as an advocacy specialist for the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD), Liz also works for the Council on Quality & Leadership (CQL) and consults for National Children’s Center in Washington, DC. Her work with both of these organizations focuses on improving quality of life for people with disabilities. Liz has three sisters that are important in her life.
Rachel Patterson is the co-chair of the SLN’s Communications Committee and is also on the SLN’s Policy & Advocacy Committee. She serves as the Policy Analyst for the Legislative Affairs team at AUCD. Prior to joining the legislative team, Rachel worked for the AIDD technical assistance team supporting the network of UCEDDs. Rachel has two siblings, including her sister with intellectual and developmental disabilities who lives in the Seattle area.