Author: Mary Grace Lagasca, CEO
You could feel the intense emotions in the air as I joined Grassroots Day at the Capital. Being side-by-side with clients and their families advocating for our services was not easy work. I was exhausted at the end of the day after giving my elevator speech at least half a dozen times with my heart and soul on the platter. There were times I just felt like another statistic and I was beginning to wonder if what we do matters to them because we were one of so many groups here advocating at the Capitol. It was at one point overwhelming and discouraging.
In fact, of all the 7 appointments today, only one actual Assemblywoman met with us – Christine Garcia. Hooray! Fortunately for us, she is in charge of our district and even better, she remembered us and her visit to InJOY. Perhaps she decided to make time and come to our appointment herself because of her time spent with us months ago. She was my last appointment but the most meaningful one for me today. She understood our issues and concerns because she experienced first hand for herself our services. Since our relationship was rekindled today, it cased her to introduce me to the media person that would come to our events and promote them. This was a huge win for us today! When I arrived, I felt known, welcomed and understood.
I am reminded of the importance of hospitality whenever someone comes to InJOY. It just proved to me once again how important it is to build these kind of relationships. Of all things I experienced today, I walked away with a greater appreciation for the disability movement and the significance of our work – great and small. After all, isn’t this how the Lanterman Act started? I am also reminded that our work outside of InJOY’s four walls is just as important as the work inside them. Like my work today, I am idealistically hopeful that more is yet to come and perhaps one day soon we can flood the capital with our advocates so that more relationships can be built like the ones we started or reconnected with today.