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Advocacy on the Internet

At the 2004 Disability Caucus, MTSTCIL staff were asked to fill in to conduct a session on Advocacy on the Internet. The purpose of the session was to teach people how to access the Internet and related Web sites when preparing advocacy strategies.

Since the Caucus was being conducted as a mock legislative session, there were several topics the Caucus planners selected that participants would address during their sessions. These topics would be the basis for writing legislation to be "passed" during the actual legislative session.

Topics included:

In preparation for the presentation, MTSTCIL staff took each one of the topics and researched Web sites providing information on the topic. Links to these Web Site are listed under their respective topic. This provided an easy way to access several sites addressing a specific topic.

In addition, the MTSTCIL Web site was used as an advocacy tool. Participants were encouraged to add events to the Disability Community Calendar, in order to demonstrate how easy it is to add events. An email was also sent to representatives of the WV Legislature by accessing their email addresses posted on the Web site.

General information on how to access the Internet, use search engines, and to navigate from one site to another was also provided for those who were new to using the Internet.

During the Caucus, MTSTCIL staff were available in the computer lab provided by WVDRS. They were able to assist Caucus participants in doing research for their "committees", while preparing legislation for the general session. WVDRS staff were available to also assist with using adaptive software and hardware for individuals who had different limitations.

MTSTCIL continues to encourage the use of their Web site and the Internet to develop advocacy strategies as well as a mechanism to reach Congressional and Legislative leaders regarding issues of concern to people with disabilities. As Justin Dart once said, "advocate like your life depends on it, because it does. Lead on!"

Mountain State Centers for Independent Living