FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The 'Key campaign rally' took to the streets of Downtown Fairbanks, and around the state, to encourage advocacy for those with disabilities.
Just inside the doors of the Sadler's building, members of the Key Coalition and supporters gathered to celebrate 32 years of advocating for Alaskans with intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The Annual Key Campaign Rally had representatives in Fairbanks, on the capitol steps in Juneau, and around the state expressing their thoughts on budget cuts and policy decisions that impact the everyday lives of those living with disabilities.
"People In this room that you see, many of these people are supported through Medicaid waiver fund, but many of them are still waiting for support. And that's one of the things we are going to talk about today," said Wendy Cloyd, parent and Key Coalition advocate.
Cloyd says that with budget cuts to Medicaid, they are Advocating to have the Medicaid waiver joined with the Senior and Disabilities service budget for protection. The coalition is vowing for legislative support to restore grant funds and increase the number of individuals selected annually from the developmental disabilities registry, which is also referred to as the "wait list."
"We shouldn't have to wait to start our lives you shouldn't have to wait to be able to make a decision about what kinds of activities you want to participate in as an individual, or as a parent or a sibling of someone with a disability," said Susan Kessler Executive Director of Alaska Center for Children and Adults.
"We all have disabilities, and rights to vote, and human rights too, people with children with disabilities are allowed to get a job and to work in the United States. But the government and the state sometimes won't allow special needs people and children to get jobs, but I'm going to do something about it, and I'm going to change that," remarked a member of the Coalition.
With signs that say, "Don't make me wait," and "No more wait list," advocates gathered outside to bring awareness to these issues. Cloyd says the Key Coalition represents the voice of those who don't have one, for those who live everyday with barriers.