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SourceAmerica representatives on Capitol Hill

Grassroots Advocacy Conference Update

In light of increasing concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, SourceAmerica has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 SourceAmerica Grassroots Advocacy Conference.

We are not alone in choosing to prioritize the health of our participants over their attendance at major events; we join many other organizations and businesses across the country in taking this preventative action. This event is always a highlight of the year for us and we are already looking forward to 2021.

If you have any questions regarding the cancellation or travel arrangements, please contact Shari Walton.
 

Making a Difference: Public Policy

SourceAmerica collaborates with key policymakers in the U.S. Congress and other Federal government leaders to protect and increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Our goal is to establish relationships with stakeholders who can forward our mission through policy advancements.

In addition to impacting legislation, SourceAmerica continuously comments on Federal rulemakings that will impact the U.S. AbilityOne Program, federal contracting, and employment for people with disabilities.

SourceAmerica also fosters collaboration with other disability policy organizations. These partnerships bolster our voice on Capitol Hill to expand employment choices for people with disabilities.

AbilityOne Congressional Champions

Congressional Champions play a key role in advancing our legislative agenda and supporting people with disabilities employed through the AbilityOne Program. SourceAmerica and National Industries for the Blind (NIB) established the AbilityOne Congressional Champion Program in 2002 to honor representatives and senators who have demonstrated a commitment to their constituents with significant disabilities or blindness and to the AbilityOne Program. More than 160 Members of the current Congress are AbilityOne Champions and have joined the national effort to ensure employment opportunities continue to grow for people who are blind or have significant disabilities.

Members become AbilityOne Congressional Champions by completing a four-step process:

  • Meet with representatives from an AbilityOne agency at the member's district or Washington, D.C. office.
  • Tour an AbilityOne agency's manufacturing or service contract site(s).
  • Support the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act by using AbilityOne products or services in the member's district or Washington, D.C. office.
  • Voice support for the AbilityOne Program through a public communication, such as a press conference statement, Congressional Record statement, social media post, or a similar communication.

Take a look at our current list of AbilityOne Congressional Champions: Congressional Champions List

Grassroots Advocacy

When it comes to increasing awareness of important issues and showing policy makers the real-life impact of programs that benefit individuals with significant disabilities, such as the AbilityOne Program, there is no better messenger than employees with disabilities.

Our grassroots advocacy program focuses on making sure the stories of people with disabilities are heard by key policymakers in Washington, DC, and calls attention to the profound and lasting effect these programs have on people with disabilities.

The highlight of our grassroots program for member nonprofit agencies operating with AbilityOne contracts is the Grassroots Advocacy Training Conference. This event takes place every June and includes employees with disabilities, their families, and employers from our member network of nonprofit agencies—with a focus on those nonprofit members located in targeted Congressional districts. We provide these invitees with the tools and training they need to personalize and deliver their message about how policy made in Washington shapes the employment choices and opportunities of people with disabilities across our nation.

Get Involved and Take Action

One of the first steps in beginning an advocacy campaign is identifying key stakeholders capable of impacting your policy issues. The resources below will help you to learn more about the Executive and Legislative branches at the Federal level and to identify your legislators. Resources include information about the Office of the President and Executive Agencies, the 116th Congress, and basic information about the legislative and regulatory process.

Office of the President and Executive Agencies

The Office of the President is responsible for implementing and enforcing law written and passed by Congress, and appointing heads to numerous Federal agencies to that end. The Cabinet includes the Vice President, the Director of National Intelligence, the White House Chief of Staff, and the heads of 15 executive departments: the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Attorney General. More information about the Executive branch and Executive Departments can be found through this link - www.whitehouse.gov.

The 116th Congress

Legislators have a responsibility to meet with their constituents and respond to the issues impacting them. Meeting with your legislator is one of the most impactful ways to make your voice heard in Congress. The resources below will help you to identify your members of Congress and their committee membership.

Contact Us and Learn More

To learn more about how to get involved in advocacy with SourceAmerica, feel free to contact the Government Affairs Department at advocacy@sourceamerica.org

If you are a member of SourceAmerica's nonprofit agency network, please visit the Advocacy Center for additional resources and tools.