Advocates of people with disabilities will rally at Oklahoma Capitol

Development Disabilities Awareness Day will bring together advocates and other supporters Thursday to hear addresses from Oklahoma legislators and others.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: April 11, 2014
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Advocates of people with disabilities will rally at the state Capitol on Thursday for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day.

People with disabilities, their loved ones and advocates will gather on the south steps at the Capitol beginning at 10 a.m. in an effort to heighten awareness about developmental disabilities and encourage additional funding to serve people on a waiting list for state- or Medicaid-funded services.

Wanda Felty is a parent of a child with a developmental disability. She coordinates the Developmental Disabilities Services Waiting List, which contains the names of nearly 7,000 disabled Oklahomans currently seeking services from the Department of Human Services. Some have been waiting as long as eight years, she said.

Last year, Gov. Mary Fallin approved $1 million to help address the waiting list.

DHS Director Ed Lake will make opening remarks at the rally, followed by state Reps. Jeff Hickman, Scott Inman, Jason Nelson and Earl Sears and state Sens. Gary Stanislawski, Bill Brown and Connie Johnson.

Felty said this year’s rally theme is based on Katy Perry’s hit song “Roar.”

“One voice is a but a whisper,” she said, “but many is a roar. We are encouraging self-advocates, family members and those who support people with developmental disabilities to band together for the cause. We are encouraging people to call and invite their legislators to attend and speak at our rally. We will also feature a surprise event designed to capture the public’s attention about our cause.”

A handicapped-accessible entrance is located on the southeast corner of the Capitol.

For more information about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day or Developmental Disabilities Services, email kevan.goffparker@okdhs.org or call 301-6676.