When you are young, recess signals a break from the drudge of work. It is a welcome chance at a bit of freedom to play and escape the school day. But when you are a member of Congress, recess takes on an entirely different meaning – one that is important for disability advocates to know.
For U.S. senators and representatives, recess is a time of the year when legislators leave their duties in Washington, D.C. behind and return home to the districts and states they represent. But members of Congress are not home to relax and recharge for the fall legislative session. They are there to travel around their districts, attending a variety of community events, and hearing from as many constituents as possible.
You can use this time to educate your federal elected officials on how critical policy priorities impact people with disabilities, which may include you and your family. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Savings Penalty Elimination Act and the importance of home and community-based services (HCBS) are just a few of the critical policy priorities.
Your stories can empower these decision-makers to return to Washington with the concerns of the disability community top of mind.
So, what are you waiting for? The following tips can help you make the most of your advocacy during August congressional recess!
- Find out who your members of Congress are. The Arc provides an easy way to look them up. Visit our Action Center and enter your zip code in the Find Your Elected Official box on the right-hand side of the screen. You can also follow your members of Congress on social media by finding their Twitter handles.
- Attend town hall events. Many members of Congress host town hall events during August recess to hear from their constituents. You can find townhalls in your area here or look on your elected official’s website.
- Download The Arc’s August Congressional Recess Toolkit. The free toolkit offers everything you need to advocate effectively, including links to action alerts, plain language factsheets on key issues, tips to engage, and sample letters to the editor that you can personalize and submit to local newspapers.
- Connect with your local chapter of The Arc. Find your state or local chapter to learn more about advocacy opportunities in your area. They may have meetings and other activities you can join.
This August recess presents an excellent opportunity for sharing your perspective on important policy issues and educating members of Congress in your hometown on what living with a disability is like. With just a little preparation, you can prepare your legislators to fight for disability rights in the fall!