DD Day 2021

By Director Barbara Palmer

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day always gets me pumped up with pride for the important job our agency has serving individuals with developmental disabilities, and 2021 was no different, even though the event was entirely virtual this year. Governor Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation declaring March 30 as Developmental Disabilities Day in Florida. The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Arc of Florida, and others planned and implemented a great event. If you were not able to participate, you can still watch it all here https://ddday2021.com/#!/schedule. I encourage you to take the time to view it because you will be inspired.

Keynote speaker Sara Gaver of Jacksonville gave a rousing speech about the challenges she has faced throughout her life. Gaver has not let any roadblock stop her from achieving her goals. Way to go, Sara!

I was thrilled to hear that two individuals were recognized with the Idelio Valdez Award. Katherine Margoli and Arizona Jenkins are both deserving of this great honor. Later in this Champion newsletter, you will read about more exciting news related to Arizona.

DD Day had many legislators speak about their commitment to meeting the needs of people with disabilities and asking to hear from their constituents on issues that affect them. During DD Day, I shared some of Governor DeSantis’ budget recommendations for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities that we hope legislators will support. Participants were told repeatedly that this upcoming budget year will be tight. We hope APD does not see any reductions in the final budget.

“Your advocacy is important” was the number one message we heard at DD Day 2021. Remember only you can tell your story.