Take Action

DVU board members and founders stand smiling with their hands on a statue of a bear in front of the Governor’s office in the California State Capitol.

Action Items:

When Disability Voices United talks about the future we want for all Californians with disabilities, we talk about self-determination, meaningful outcomes, equity, and accountability. These aren’t just nice phrases: they inform everything we do. We believe that having choice, control, and responsibility over one’s life is a basic human right. We work to make sure people with developmental disabilities have access to those human rights through advocacy and community organizing.

We need your help! Get involved with DVU today. Everyone can make choices! Help us build a world where those choices are heard and respected.

A photo collage including the following: Two DVU board members pose with Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager in front of her office; DVU board members smile outdoors on a pathway outside of the State Capitol on DVU Advocacy Day; DDS Director Nancy Bargmann is smiling and clapping her hands as she sits around a conference table with DVU board members; DVU board members pose with Senator Richard Pan in front of his office with wide smiles

Clockwise from upper left: DVU meeting with Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager; DVU Advocacy Day in Sacramento; DVU meeting with DDS Director Nancy Bargmann; DVU meeting Senator Richard Pan.


Tell Senators to Pass the HEROES Act

Because of a massive $54 billion budget deficit, California Governor Newsom’s revised 2020-2021 budget includes drastic proposed cuts to developmental services and a 7% cut in hours for IHSS hours.

These terrible cuts can be avoided if the U.S. Congress passes the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Solutions (HEROES) Act. This bill passed the House of Representatives on May 15. It provides emergency funding relief to state and local governments, as well as additional funding for regional center services, Medi-Cal, housing programs, and hazard pay for direct service providers.

The U.S. Senate has not set a date to consider the HEROES Act, so we have to educate them about how important it is to our families. It is critical that we contact Senators to urge support for the bill and to assure that the needs of people with developmental disabilities are protected in any relief legislation.

Thankfully, our California Senators support the HEROES Act, but there are many Senators in other states who need to be educated. So, we must all reach out across the country to our family and friends who care about protecting people with disabilities from severe service cuts and who live in states with Republican Senators.

Do you have a family member or friend who might be willing to contact their Senator?

Would you be willing to ask them to urge their Senators to pass the HEROES Act?

We can show you how in this short video linked below or you can use the written explanation below it.


How to Contact Your Senators:

  1. Visit the Senate’s “Find a Senator” tool here: Find Your Senator.
  2. Choose your state. It will show the names of your Senators. Remember that most Republican Senators have yet to express their support for the HEROES Act.
  3. Under each name, it will have a “Contact” link. Click on that and it will bring you to the Senator’s page to send them a direct constituent email.
  4. Fill in the information (name, address, email)
  5. The subject line and the message of the email should be personalized. Having the exact same language from hundreds of people is not as effective as ONE personal message. The subject line should mention asking them for support for the HEROES Act.
  6. The message should:

    • describe your connection to people with developmental disabilities, e.g., a family member, close friend, etc.

    • explain why protecting their services is important to you

    • emphasize that without the help to state and local governments provided by the HEROES Act, those vital services will be cut

  7. You should receive a response from your Senator.


Tell DDS to Expand the Self-Determination Program!

Tell DDS to expand the Self-Determination Program (SDP). Send an email to nancy.bargmann@dds.ca.gov with the following information:

  • Say your name/your family member’s name and your regional center
  • Tell them you/your family member is still on the Self-Determination Program waiting list
  • Explain how the SDP could help you, particularly during the coronavirus crisis
  • Provide your contact information if they want to follow up.


Restore Social and Recreation Programs!

DVU President Judy Mark testifies from a witness table, one hand raised in front of her, her face focused. Text along bottom of image reads: Item 4300 Department of Developmental Services (DDS) 8 Proposals to Restore Reductions Made in Prior Budgets: Uniform Holiday Schedule, Half-Day Billing, and Camp. California State Assembly

Disability Voices United has led past efforts to restore funding for social and recreational programs and camp for regional center clients. When the economy recovers, we will return to this fight!

Get more information on our Restore Social/Rec Campaign. >>