Bold Lives: Celebrating and Advocating with People with Intellectual Disabilities
That’s the theme of Mosaic’s celebration for National Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness (NIDDA) Month, which begins today.
As a mother of two, I want my children to lead bold lives, to be people who are confident, strong, and determined.
That’s the same goal I would wish for every person we support at Mosaic. Being bold doesn’t require specific abilities, talents, or skills. It doesn’t even require success. But it does mean believing in yourself and what you stand for.
I have seen that quality in many people I have served during my career at Mosaic. They are the people who are confident in their own choices and decisions; even when others may disagree, they know what they want.
They are the people strong enough to not be intimidated by standing out in a crowd because they have a disability.
They are the people determined to do something independently, even when it would be easier to have someone help them or do it for them.
They are bold, and they lead bold lives.
This month on our blog we’ll be sharing a few profiles of people served by Mosaic and their bold lives. Their stories are just a snippet of what is happening every day in the lives of the more than 3,700 people we serve.
While we celebrate NIDDA month annually, there is an added urgency I feel this year. I’ve never been a Chicken Little-the-sky-is-falling kind of person. But I am a person who is passionate about the rights of people with disabilities to lead a meaningful life in a caring community.
Great things have been happening for people with disabilities because there has been a growing, widespread understanding over the last five decades about their rights and dignity.
But their rights and dignity are threatened today.
Strong voices in Congress are pushing to make Medicaid a block grant program. They promote it as a measure that gives states more flexibility about how to serve the neediest people in ways that save money.
But a study by The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that block grants, over time, lead to large funding declines. Since 2000, the total funding for housing health and human services that are block grant programs has declined by 27 percent, or $14 billion. If you take into account population growth, or compare that reduction in spending against growth in the U.S. gross domestic product, the declines are even more dramatic at 37 and 45 percent respectively.
Medicaid is the lifeline for people with disabilities. It is at subsistence levels today. Funding reductions would be catastrophic to the overall well-being of the people Mosaic supports.
MAV members receive messages (called alerts) about specific issues relating to people with disabilities. The alerts contain brief, specific information about the issue and offer a suggested message to use when contacting your representatives. It is a small time commitment that can have large influence on the quality of life for people with disabilities.
As we celebrate the bold lives of people with disabilities this month, let us be bold in standing with and for them as advocates and friends.