VECTOR students participated in the 2013 Lobby Day on March 6th at the Capital to stand up and advocate for the concerns of the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans. Lobby Day is an opportunity for everyday citizens to experience the legislative process. VECTOR students met with their state representatives and senators and spoke up about concerns close to them. (read more)
Legislators “heard” about the importance of these issues through their stories and testimonies and it made a difference. VECTOR students practiced their advocacy skills, met other citizen activists, and learned more about the legislative issues that affect their unique cultural needs and united as a community.
Significant changes to budget and program priorities are being proposed in the Minnesota Legislature this year. The needs of the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing will easily be overlooked unless the community and its allies speak up.
A highlight of Lobby Day was the rally that was held in the Rotunda of the State Capital. VECTOR student, Leng Yang, was honored to share the stage with Governor Mark Dayton. Leng was given the opportunity to help lead a community united in support behind the programs and bills which benefit the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing. Leng shared a bit of his life story including the benefits he has gained by participating in the VECTOR Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program and introduced a Senator. His story helped to inspire other members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, legislators and other citizens visiting the Capital that day.
The schedules of VECTOR students during Lobby Day were packed with meetings with their legislators and the senators and representatives that sit on the committees that are reviewing our latest bill. They had the opportunity to share their life stories, advocate for the issues of importance to their community, and ask for the support of decision makers that have the ability to directly impact the services and supports that are available to them.
Later that month, Leng returned to the Capital with fellow VECTOR student, Shayne Wilson, and their advisor, Greta Palmberg, to testify in front of the House Jobs Committee to tell the personal stories of their experience growing up with hearing loss and how the VECTOR Program has helped them reach their full potential and increase their readiness for independence. Their heart-felt testimony inspired members of the committee to speak up on their behalf in support of a bill that would return dedicated funds for employment supports for transition-aged individuals who are Deaf, DeafBlind or Hard of Hearing. Collapse this story