Rebuilding lives after spinal cord injury.

ROCH 2019

ROCH 2019 Advocacy Academy
ROCH 2019 Advocacy Academy helps give members the tools they need to be effective advocates.

Advocating for Disability Rights

Roll on Capitol Hill is United Spinal’s annual signature policy event and provides people with disabilities the opportunity to sharpen their advocacy skills and learn how to be proactive in fighting for their rights and independence, at both the state and national level.

For the last 8 years, United Spinal members and their supporters have rolled on Capitol Hill to educate lawmakers on how their decisions directly affect our independence.

This year 100 advocates made over 250 in-person visits to Congressional offices to talk about 3 key issues:

  • Promoting Universal Design for self-driving vehicles that include wheelchairs and wheelchair users;
  • Improving access to quality affordable healthcare for people with disabilities and maximizing appropriate rehabilitation outcomes and therapies;
  • Improving access to community care for veterans with disabilities

One of the highlights of ROCH is the Advocacy Academy. This boot camp for advocates featured a full-day of policy briefings from fellow advocates, Federal agency officials, and representatives from automobile manufacturers and coalitions and SCI/D research and assistive technology sectors that focused on pertinent legislative issues impacting the disability community to help advocates better understand all aspects of the issues at hand.

Attendees learned how best to perform successful meetings with their congressional representatives and how to utilize the power of their personal stories to demonstrate how specific legislation impacts their lives and independence.

NYC Advocacy Team

NYC Spinal ROCH 2019 advocates and supporters
NYC Advocacy Team: Stefan Henry, Yannick Benjamin, Nancy Hanson, Jose Hernandez, Jessica DeLaRosa, Jenny Lieberman.

NYC had 6 representatives at ROCH including advocacy all stars: Chapter president Jose Hernandez, Jessica De La Rosa, Yannick Benjamin and Jenny Lieberman. First time attendees Stefan Henry and Nancy Lieberman came away with a new appreciation for how to bring ROCH home.

Impressions of ROCH 2019

“The Roll on Capitol Hill 2019 saw 50 new faces of individuals with disabilities across the country advocating. This included two members of our NYC chapter Nancy Hanson and Stefan Henry.

After having an intense day training we headed out on Capitol Hill to attend our visits. In the early visits you can see that these two advocates were still nervous, however, as the day went on you could see their confidence building as they became more comfortable with the issues and advocating on such a grand scale.

I am happy to have these two members as friends and advocates for NYC Spinal. I hope to see more of our members advocating on a local and national platform. It is especially important now more than ever.”

~ Jose Hernandez, NYC Chapter President

“ROCH was a life-changing experience. Even though I have been an advocate for a few years now, I’ve learned about what it takes to advocate on a national stage. Thanks to NYC Spinal I’ve been made aware of issues concerning not just myself but many others across the nation. I have gotten to meet many great people who are all doing fantastic things with their lives and their advocacy.”

~ Stefan Henry

“It was a very moving and powerful experience to sit before our elected officials representing the face and voice of thousands.

Meeting new friends from around the country was delightful! I arrived at the ROCH conference as an individual however I left the event feeling like a member of a united organization!

It’s my goal, with follow up visits, to be certain and hold accountable the political representatives’ support and votes on the critical issues presented on June 25th.”

~ Nancy Hanson

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