Independent Living Resource Center
Group Advocacy/Systems Change

All of our services are provided with the independent living philosophy as their foundation. For a complete description of the philosophy, click here

 

Occasions of discrimination may be general and widespread. It may affect many people, and happen once or repeatedly. It could be in a specific neighborhood, region, or statewide. The responsible person or entity may be a business owner, a city or county service, or an “institution,” such as a business with dozens of offices, or a branch of the government.

 

The discrimination may come in the form of an accepted practice or social pattern that no one has analyzed or questioned.  Perhaps people just “looked the other way.”  It might be unintentional, or rationalized as acceptable because of the “cost savings” or budget constraints.  BUT, it is still discrimination.

 

When multiple individuals encounter the same barrier(s), it may be most effective and efficient for many people to work cooperatively to advocate the alteration of the 'system.'  This is known as institutional advocacy or, not surprisingly, as “systems change.”

 

Our Systems Change Advocate, based in the Santa Barbara office, coordinates consumers in ILRC’s entire service area through a variety of activities, including marches, rallies, letter-writing campaigns and legislative visits. We participate in statewide action groups and empowerment teams, including Access Watch and the Systems Change Network, and are part of a statewide coalition representing the disability community.

 

Issues that involve a change in public policy are taken beyond local boundaries to the state or federal elected bodies.  All legislators  – local, state and federal – listen when their voting constituents speak up and voice their concerns. And of course, the more voices joining together, the more forceful the message – increasing the likelihood that change will occur.

 

Click here to find a list of legislators, addresses and sample letters and e-mails you can customize and send.

 

Make your voice heard!