The Kansas Disability Caucus, Inc. Board has five positions up for election each beginning January 1, 2020 for a two year term. They are seeking individuals who want to join the group to organize and coordinate activities that promote independent living of all people with disabilities through collaboration, networking, education, planning, and peer-to-peer interaction, including the Disability Caucus held during even numbered years. The Kansas Disability Caucus supports and encourages successful outcomes for people with all types of disabilities of all ages, especially encouraging the involvement of young adults.

For more information or if you would like to apply, view the application here. The deadline to submit the application is December 1, 2019.

Last week, members of the disability community from across the state came together in Topeka for the Kansas Disability Caucus.  This year’s theme was “Fan the Flame” to get everyone pumped up and excited to accomplish what needs to be done in the next couple of years.

Mark Derry, from West Virginia, started the Caucus with an opening speech that explained how people with passion and power are unstoppable.  Employment was also a focus at the Caucus, including a panel of individuals who are employed and disabled.  US Attorney, Barry Grissom, was also a keynote speaker, and he said that as long as he is in office, he will fight for people for disability rights.

During the three-day Caucus, the state was split into three regions and those regions came up with barriers/issues facing Kansas’s disability community and solutions to these issues.  Many solutions focused on more advocacy, training and filing Olmstead complaints in order to eliminate the waiting list.

During the celebration, our own Summer Ludwig received an advocacy award at the Caucus for her passion and dedication to the issues and needs of individuals with disabilities. Summer has been with RCIL since 2008, and over the past few years, she has emerged as a true leader in the disability movement in Kansas. She serves a vital role in shaping the advocacy efforts of not only RCIL, but also the larger independent living community.

Summer’s steadfast commitment to ensuring that all voices are heard and everyone has a “seat at the table” has produced an inspiring instrument of change. Summer stood, holding her message, in the rain and cold every morning for nine days to raise awareness to the legislators as they convened for sessions. She also helped organize countless advocacy events, including a legislative breakfast, the Olmstead Anniversary Celebration, and the Save Our State days at the Capital. She’s trained consumers in systems advocacy, was quoted numerous times in area media outlets, and spent a great deal of time at the Capital developing relationships with many state legislators. In addition to these efforts, Summer spends time researching topics important to the disability community to help keep her coworkers and consumers informed of what matters while also making the time to serve on the SILCK Advocacy Group.

We are proud of all of Summer’s accomplishments and to have her as part of the RCIL team. With staff members like her, we are able to more fully achieve our mission of promoting independent living and individual choice to persons with disabilities.

The entire Caucus was a great way to fan the flame of disability awareness in the state of Kansas and get us all ready to accomplish great things in the coming year.