Today my blog will be about my day in Harrisburg. Monday April 15th, The ARC Alliance and I went to Harrisburg to speak with some of our legislators. We talked about legislation that we want passed, just like we did when we went down to Washington.
Mom and I went down to Harrisburg a day earlier which was good, because like many who travel we had problems checking into the hotel. Mom and I stayed at the Crown Royal which was where the event was held. When we got up to our room, it was a decent size, not too big not too small. The hotel room also had a decent size television with a lot of channels to choose from. In the morning, mom and I had breakfast at the buffet. It was very delicious! Mom and I both had an omelet. I want to thank Maureen Cronin, the Executive Director of the ARC of Pennsylvania and her staff for hosting me and my Mom at the Crown Plaza and for the passes to the conference. They did a great job and we appreciate how they covered the cost of this event for us!
After breakfast, we went to a conference. Maureen Cronin, the Executive Director of the ARC of Pennsylvania, spoke briefly about the reason we were all there. She introduced people from Congress to the self-advocates. There was a decent turnout I estimated to be about 300 – 500 people there. The conference was a little intense for me and at times I felt exhausted. What I can say is that there was a panel that was very informative. The panel talked about Paul’s Law, which I am going to detail later in the blog, and getting people with disabilities into the workforce after high school. What scared me about the panel is that they kept mentioning a few times that some people with disabilities graduate from high school and as they put it, “graduate from high school to the couch”. On the panel, there were some pretty influential people including a Press Secretary who is also a mom of two disabled children. I thought it was nice it to have a representative from Congress that knows where we are coming from as parents and children with disabilities. One of the representatives said something that I’ve been hearing for the past couple days, from my teachers and my family. “We are here to listen to you, and we put our pants on one leg at a time, we are no different than you, we want to know about the issues that affect you. So, if you tell us about your issues, we can work to fix them.”
At the end of the conference, we went and had lunch together, Paul, Monica, myself, and my mom. We all sat at the same table. Monday was my birthday so Monica bought me a chocolate cake, it was very good. After lunch, we went to a meeting where we spoke about Paul’s Law and other things. Did you know that a person with a disability is more likely not to get on the transplant list, not because they can’t for other medical reasons, but simply because they are disabled? Paul’s Law aims to change that. In legal terms, they want to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities and show that we are all equal in one way or another. At night, the ARC staff and I went to a reception where legislators came up to me. I told him my story about how we got denied for a wheelchair with a stander built in, and how it would be useful to have that device. I took a picture with a couple of the legislators, they were very nice. I enjoyed my time in Harrisburg and I hope to do it again someday. Maybe not all the meeting parts, but as for the reception, I would do that again any day. I’d like to thank Pat Hennessey for taking the time to meet with me and for saying he will read my blog. Remember all of you representatives and the public, it only takes one person to change the world.
I thought Washington and Harrisburg were two productive days and I would do it again in a heartbeat. That’s about it; see you next week where I will give you a total rundown on Prom 2015.
See you next week and make it a great day or not the choice is yours, 🙂