Advocacy and outreach are important for people with all types of diversabilities (diverse abilities). Not only is being included and feeling like a part of a community nice, it is also a critical part of mental health. Additionally, it can be important for safety and advancement. There are dozens of ways to get involved in advocacy and outreach – meaning you can participate in the way that works best for you with the time that you have available.
Types of Advocacy
While advocacy and outreach are often mentioned together, they are actually different. Advocacy is defined as “public support or recommendation of a particular cause or policy” while outreach is “involvement with or activitiy in a community.”
It is possible to be a full-time diversability advocate that helps people with either legal or social advocacy. However, it is also possible to advocate for individuals with diversabilities on a less formal level.
Either way, advocates do very important work. They work with local governments and establishments to help make the world a more accessible and equitable place for people with diversabilities. This may include calling out a local establishment without a wheelchair accessible ramp or a government office that does not offer an accessible website.
There are a few different ways to get involved in advocacy, whether you prefer to do so on a part-time level or as a full-time advocate:
- Self-advocacy – This refers strictly to people with diversabilties who advocate on behalf of themselves. Self-advocacy is important, but it often helps to have other people involved, as well.
- Citizen advocacy – Just like it sounds, citizen advocacy involves people in the community working to raise awareness and make changes for individuals with diversabilities. This is a great way to get involved for people who want to work on a volunteer basis by doing things like making phone calls, sending emails, and organizing.
- Individual advocacy – Often, individual advocates work on a full-time basis to help people with diversabilities avoid discrimination or unfair treatment either in the workplace or in public spaces.
- Legal advocacy – Diversability lawyers can work as legal advocates. Pursuing legal action against a business or government agency is generally a last step in discrimination cases.
Ways to Get Involved in Outreach
Outreach is a proactive way to work within the diversability community. Businesses and individuals can all get involved in outreach in different and impactful ways.
For businesses and federal or state agencies, one of the best ways to perform outreach efforts is to provide hiring information specifically to websites or hiring agencies that specialize in helping people with diversabilities find jobs and careers.
Oftentimes, people with diversabilities can be overlooked in the job search, especially if there is any hiring bias present. Working with an outside agency helps you to be more objective and improve your outreach to a wider pool of potential candidates.
For individuals who want to get involved, start by talking to local colleges or looking into community centers. Often, these organizations work in outreach already and can let you know where people are needed the most.
Advocacy and Outreach in the Applied Development Mission
At Applied Development, our services exist to help people of all diversabilities to be able to work and communicate effectively. Services that we provide that work to that end include: