Emmaus At DRLD - E Advocates #14 | Emmaus Homes

E-Advocates #14 

Emmaus Homes at the State Capitol For Disability Rights Legislative Day

March 26, 2024 | Blog by Christina Ingoglia


A vibrant group of 60 Emmaus advocates cheerfully posing on the Missouri State Capitol steps for Disability Rights Legislative Day.Last week, about 60 Emmaus Advocates showed up at the State Capitol in Jefferson City for Disability Rights Legislative Day (or DRLD), hosted by the Missouri Developmental Disability Council! Among our group were clients, direct support professionals, a board member, and more. This year’s theme was “We Are Here”. We joined in chanting this slogan along with the hundreds of others who attended too.  

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Jeffery, a client from Emmaus, addresses the audience at the State Capitol during the DRLD Rally.

One of our own clients, Jeffrey, spoke at the rally, and Board Member Susie Parker spoke as well. We are so proud of Jeffrey and Susie for sharing about issues that are important to them! Jeffrey shared why paying his staff a market wage is important—they ensure his ability to have choices, get out in the community, and live as independently as possible. Susie shared concerns about staff pay across the state of Missouri as well, and she talked about the best ways to advocate, what she’s learned, and the relationships she’s built with legislators on both sides of the political aisle.

Susie Parker, an Emmaus Board member, is delivering a speech at the State Capitol during the DRLD Rally with audience members in view.

Susie Parker, representing Emmaus, passionately speaks at the State Capitol for the DRLD Rally.

In addition to attending the empowering rally, Emmaus advocates went to 14 appointments, in total, with State Senators and Representatives. We had positive interactions, and legislators enjoyed meeting our client self-advocates and the staff who support them! 

Staff and clients also got to hang out with and take pictures with Miss Missouri 2023, Hayley Leach, and her brother, Matthew Leach. Hayley’s platform focuses on autism acceptance and awareness. She’s influenced by her brother, who is on the autism spectrum. They both spoke at the rally together as well! 

Did you miss DRLD? You can view a recording of the big event here on YouTube. Jeffrey Foust’s speech begins at 39:00 minutes, and Susie Parker’s speech begins at 1:05:00. 

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DRLD 2024 Photo Gallery

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