What is Systemic Advocacy?
Systemic advocacy is about working towards broad changes in policy, practice, and legislation that will benefit people now and into the future. The goal of our work will be to improve laws, regulations, policies, and practices, to prevent abuse or neglect as well as to enable people with disabilities greater independence and full inclusion in the community.
Disability Rights South Carolina (DRSC) adopted new Advocacy Plan to support our mission and vision and demonstrate our commitment to disability justice through advocacy that we hope leads to more inclusion, equality, and full participation for all people.
South Carolinians, like many across the country are experiencing challenges brought on by the pandemic, economic downturn and racial inequities that are disproportionately affecting people with disabilities and their families. DRSC’s new Advocacy Plan addresses our commitment to these individuals. The issues we address include:
- Unsafe, segregated, institutional care for older adults and people with disabilities.
- Lack of affordable, accessible, and stable housing for people with disabilities that is integrated in the community.
- Inequities in our healthcare, mental health services, transportation services, and education for people with disabilities.
- High rates of unemployment and underemployment among people with disabilities.
- Government programs and private business that discriminate against people with disabilities, by refusing to ensure physical and communication accessibility for all.
- Structural problems in our justice systems that have led to increased incarceration of youth with disabilities.
Moving forward, DRSC will be proactive to ensure our advocacy seeks out and responds to the voices of all people. To learn more, please visit our Advocacy Plan page.
How Will DRSC Conduct This Work?
DRSC will work to ensure that that there are equal protections, access and opportunities for all people. DRSC will expand our work by advocating for people with disabilities by addressing discrimination and systemic racism in the criminal legal system, housing, education, and healthcare that disproportionately harms the Black, Latino, Native American, and LGBTQ people with disabilities. We will conduct this work in a variety of ways:
- Engage stakeholders in the disability rights community and other diverse disability leaders to help coordinate resources, understand priorities and goals of the community, and to build coalitions for advocacy work and training.
- Identify problems, research solutions and best practices, and issue public reports.
- Meet with leaders of state agencies and comment on proposed regulations.
- Help legislators understand the potential impact of policy changes on the lives of people with disabilities.
- Introduce and support legislation that will protect and improve the lives of people with disabilities.
- Represent clients in court, particularly through systemic lawsuits where the results can benefit many people with disabilities. Example of this work in our Legal Page.
Not sure where to start? We have a few recommendations.
If you have questions, you’re always welcome to contact us directly. We also have a wealth of information on our site about being a strong self-advocate and knowing your rights.