I am still recuperating from an amazing whirlwind experience at the FL SAND Annual Conference that took place from December 5 to December 7th at the Florida Mall Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando, Florida. This conference is fully supported by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council and the Arts In Action team plays a major role in assisting Self-Advocates to plan, participate, and present. There are so many people to thank! All the Self-Advocate groups’ Advisors as a start, and all of the vendors who distributed important information such as the FL Dept. of Health, The Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Disability Rights Florida, the FL Disabled Outdoors Association, Delmarva, and the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities. Plus, all the presenters who took time out of their busy weekends to provide us with important content! Thank you to Paula Roberts, Attorney Scott Orsini, Diane White, Frank Shalett, Jordan Knab, Eileen O’Brien, Richard Chapman, and Safee Broxton! You all were fantastic! But the clear highlight of the conference was the evening program when Ms. Wheelchair USA, Jennifer Adams took the stage and graced us with her inspirational story, her powerful song and then her incredible dance performance… and then when singer/songwriter David Roth played a concert for the group which included a song that was written earlier at a conference workshop.The new song will be used specifically for the FL SAND Self-Advocate Movement!
The world at large is beginning to hear about and take the Self-Advocate Movement seriously and all of us at the conference, about 145 to be exact, are ready to go back to our homes in Florida and beyond and make sure our voices are heard! Thank You to each and every conference participant, it is truly a privilege and an honor to work with all of you! LET’S DO THIS THING TOGETHER!!!