Disability Rights Advocacy

Advocate

The Arc of New River Valley works locally and statewide to support The Arc of Virginia’s legislative priorities. The short Virginia General Assembly season is an especially active time, with Lobby Day in Richmond, meetings with state representatives and calls to you, our supporters, to make your voices heard. Click the buttons below to see The Arc of Virginia’s legislative priorities and the new Action Center which makes it easier to add your voice!

We Did It! Historic Legislation Passed in 2024

This has been a historic year for developmental disability rights in Virginia. After decades of fighting, Priority One has become a reality! Our Self-Advocates, our statewide volunteers and family members, and supporters like Senator David Suetterlein and Governor Glenn Youngkin helped make this an historic year. More than 3,000 DD waiver slots were funded, and more!! Read more.

We Did It! Historic legislation passed in 2024.
2023 Candidate Forum

In Their Own Words

The Arc of New River Valley is proud to provide a platform for the disability community to advocate for themselves, and to speak in their own words. In that spirit, our 2023 Candidate Forum was first and foremost a listening session. On Thursday, October 12, 2023, the disability community shared stories about their lives and challenges with our Virginia General Assembly candidates. A relaxed atmosphere encouraged people who hadn’t planned to speak to get up and take the mic. At the end, we heard from the candidates from Virginia’s 4th and 5th Senate Districts, as well as House of Delegates 41st and 47th Districts.

2023 Candidate Forum

In Their Own Words

The Arc of New River Valley is proud to provide a platform for the disability community to advocate for themselves, and to speak in their own words. In that spirit, our 2023 Candidate Forum was first and foremost a listening session. On Thursday, October 12, 2023, the disability community shared stories about their lives and challenges with our Virginia General Assembly candidates. A relaxed atmosphere encouraged people who hadn’t planned to speak to get up and take the mic. At the end, we heard from the candidates from Virginia’s 4th and 5th Senate Districts, as well as House of Delegates 41st and 47th Districts.

Richmond, VA

Lobby Day

Every January, while the Virginia General Assembly is in session, The Arc of New River Valley joins advocates from across the state for The Arc of Virginia Lobby Day in Richmond. We visit our state Delegates and Senators to ask for support on issues affecting people with disabilities. In 2003, 150 Self-Advocates from across the state went to Richmond demanding DD System Transformation!

The Arc of Virginia created a Facebook Reel recapping the 2023 DD Advocacy Season.

New River Valley Self-Advocates Alliance introduced to the House of Delegates January 19, 2023
Richmond 2023

Honored in the General Assembly

The New River Valley ALLY Self-Advocacy Alliance was introduced to the Virginia House Chamber in January 2023 as part of an annual tradition by Delegate Jason Ballard of Giles of the 12th District. Chris Cadwallader and Nancy Camajani (of The Arc of New River Valley) and self-advocates Matt Hudgins and Anita Ehrhardt waved from the balcony wearing The Arc’s brilliant orange.

New River Valley

A Life Like Yours

The A Life Like Yours (ALLY) Self-Advocacy Alliance works to increase the availability of inclusive supports for people with Developmental Disabilities, through changes to policy, expectations and support systems. Our goal is for people with disabilities to live a life like yours in a home that they choose, working in a job that they choose, and participating in their communities. Watch the Declaration of A Life Like Yours video.

New River Valley Self-Advocates, Franklin Lawson, Matt Hudgins, Anita Erhardt, and George Rogers

Highlight: 2023 Visits with Delegates and Participation in Lobby Day, Introduction to the Virginia House of Delegates by Del. Jasaon Ballard, receipt of custom Calling Cards by our Board.

Delegate Jason Ballard welcomed the ALLY Self-Advocates Alliance (l-r: Nancy Camajani, Matt Hudgins, Anita Erhardt).
Local

Visits with General Assembly Members

The Arc of New River Valley stays in touch with our Delegates and Senator even when the General Assembly is not in session through phone calls, emails and visits to their local offices. We want to keep them up to date on our concerns and ideas for statutory and policy changes that would improve the lives of their constituents with disabilities.

tHE aRC’S POSITION

Racial Justice

The Arc of New River Valley, The Arc of Virginia, and The Arc of the US call on our nation’s leaders to dismantle racism, end discrimination, and to honor, protect, and enforce the civil and human rights of all people!

Your Story

Add Your Voice

Self-advocacy is a growing trend. Who better to tell the stories, challenges, and needs of people with disabilities than people with disabilities and their families? We’ve created some resources for telling your story, writing your legislators, and visiting them too!

Your Inbox

Email Blasts

The Arc of New River Valley works actively during the Virginia General Assembly session to respond to daily changes in the Assembly and to mobilize our networks to call and email your representatives as particular bills and resolutions of concern to people with disabilities come up for vote. Often, our action window is very narrow and we don’t know until the end of the day that a bill will be up for vote the next morning! Sign up to add your voice to The Arc of Virginia and Arc of New River Valley’s advocacy efforts.

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