Advocacy has been and will always be a cornerstone of the Association. As such, we joined with a number of organizations last year to form the Michigan Disability Support Alliance (MI-DSA) to fight the ACA repeal and protect Medicaid. All involved were cognizant of the fact that we will need to work on the state level, not only to preserve crucial programs like Medicaid, but also ensure the well-being of Michigan residents living with disabilities.
This year, MI-DSA has developed an initiative to educate and encourage those living with disabilities to vote in the upcoming primaries and election. Beginning in August, MI-DSA members will be hosting presentations across the state to explain why it is important to vote; the rights granted to those with disabilities in regards to voting; the responsibility all voters share; and issues regarding accessibility at polling places. There will also be the opportunity for people to register to vote.
Since last year, MI-DSA has grown from three organizations to eleven. Partner organizations now include the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Disability Rights Coalition, Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council, Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services, ARC of Michigan, Self-Advocates of Michigan, Michigan Disability Networks, and Wayne State Developmental Disability Institute. With threats to repeal the ACA and cut funding to Medicare and Medicaid, disability organizations must join together to fight for all persons living with disabilities and their families who rely on these programs and protections granted by the ACA.