You are a person; you are a son, a daughter, a parent and maybe a sibling, and you have talents and interests. If you are also a person with any type of disability, you are a member of the country’s largest, and most diverse, minority group.
People First is a national organization that is run by, and for, people who have a developmental disability. Members or People First are empowered to self-advocate so that they can affect positive change at all levels of society.
People First Language (PDF), written by Kathy Snow, discusses the importance of putting the person before the disability:
“Using People First Language — putting the person before the disability — and eliminating old, prejudicial, and hurtful descriptors, can move us in a new direction. People First Language is not political correctness; instead, it demonstrates good manners, respect, and the Golden Rule.”
– Kathy Snow
Please visit the Disability is Natural website for more information on this topic.
Working together to raise awareness
From putting on puppet shows — the life-size puppets have disabilities — at Saint Charles area elementary schools to attending school board meetings and speaking at city council meetings, People First members go out into the community to raise disability awareness.
They have participated in campaigns such as “Clean Up Your Language” and “Don’t DIS my ABILITY” to promote inclusion and celebrate the ability and diversity of people with mental, developmental, and physical disabilities.
Bringing about legislative change
As a person with a disability, you are one of the best people to identify what needs to be changed to improve the lives of all people with disabilities.
Working at a chapter, the Missouri State and even national level, People First members identify what laws, facilities and even public signs need to be improved. Then they campaign for legislative and other changes.
Currently, People First is working to increase the Missouri asset limit for Medicaid services, the guardianship bill and the Missouri Buy-in-bill. Read more about this on the Missouri People First website.
Join a People First meeting
The F.A.C.T. People First chapter in Saint Charles County, which as more than 60 members, meets on the third Wednesday of every month at the Developmental Disabilities Resource Board (DDRB). Members learn about their rights, give each other support, and help to raise disability awareness.
Anyone interested in working for the rights of people with disabilities is welcome to attend, but voting is restricted to people with a disability.
Steering committee meetings, hosted by the Missouri State chapter, are held quarterly and once a year, People First leaders get the chance to meet legislators.
To find out how to participate, contact
People First Advisor
(636) 949 2425 ext. 266
Get the People First Brochure.