Why Invest Common Sense, Passion, and Persistence in Citizen Advocacy?
· The images created about people with disabilities by the media, human service efforts, and in literature often create and support negative, stereotypical attitudes. From these attitudes comes our conscious or unconscious action or our choice not to act. Personal relationships between people allow us to reassess our stereotypes.
· Many people who are seen and treated as negatively different will need to be protected from conscious and unconscious prejudice and discrimination.
· Abuse and neglect exist in all human services effort. The involvement of ordinary citizens in relationships with people who have disabilities is one way to monitor and decrease this reality.
· The most predictable outcome of current human services spending and practice is organized segregation, which has kept people apart and unknown to one another. Personal relationships between people help to overcome fear, myth, and discomfort that comes from people not knowing one another.
· The best interests of the person may be different from the best interests of the organization offering assistance, the person’s family, or the collective course of social change. The citizen advocate always focuses solely on the person.
· Much of the care and response that has traditionally existed in community life is being driven out and replaced by professional services. Citizen Advocacy tips the scale back toward personal response and community responsibility.
· Personal relationships are built on common interests and depend on common bonds to sustain them. This challenges the illusion of difference.
· Personal commitment is the most conservative and potentially powerful form of action available over long periods of time.
· People involved in voluntary, ongoing relationships sometimes find themselves in true solidarity with one another, which creates a potentially powerful measure of protection.