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CIL-NET Presents…. Get to the Core of it: Systems Advocacy A National Webinar/Teleconference Presented by: Chris Hilderbrant Wednesday June 16, 2010 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM EDT. Get to the Core of it: Systems Advocacy A National Webinar/Teleconference Presented by: Chris Hilderbrant

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Get to the core of it systems advocacy a national webinar teleconference presented by

CIL-NET Presents…

Get to the Core of it:

Systems Advocacy

A National Webinar/Teleconference

Presented by:

Chris Hilderbrant


June 16, 2010

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM EDT

Get to the core of it systems advocacy a national webinar teleconference presented by

Get to the Core of it:

Systems Advocacy

A National Webinar/Teleconference

Presented by:

Chris Hilderbrant


June 16, 2010

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM EDT

CIL-NET Presents…



  • Systems Advocacy is a core service!

    • What is it?

    • Can we do it?

    • Why would we do it?

    • How do we do it?

    • What are we going to do?

Learning objectives
Learning Objectives

Explain the philosophy and role of systems advocacy as a core service that builds community and changes people’s lives.

Describe the five elements of a best practice systems advocacy model that, when used together, serve as effective catalysts for change.


Learning objectives1
Learning Objectives

Describe how social media can be used as a highly effective advocacy tool for communication.

Explain strategies for measuring success of a CIL’s systems advocacy efforts.

What exactly is the first thing you’re going to do to get this started?


Who is chris hilderbrant
Who is Chris Hilderbrant?

Spinal cord injury at age 14, just before enactment of Americans with Disabilities Act

Started work with Center for Disability Rights in March 1999, just before Olmstead Decision

First jobs were providing direct service, Independent Living Skills Training

Then supervising programs and services

More and more involved in advocacy…


Who is chris hilderbrant1
Who is Chris Hilderbrant?

Director of Advocacy at CDR (March 2003 – February 2010)

Focus on Systems Advocacy




Chief Operating Officer (February 2010 – present)


Who is chris hilderbrant2
Who is Chris Hilderbrant?

A few of the things I’ve done in my time…

Met with Governors / Shouted down Governors

Opened doors to new relationships

Blocked doors with my wheelchair

Went wheeling in the snow with our Mayor

Been given the cold shoulder by our County Executive

Passed legislation to create new community-based services

Been arrested a dozen or so times

Hundreds of local, state and national media stories


Systems advocacy is a core service
Systems Advocacy is a Core Service!

  • It’s OK to do!

  • It’s required of all Centers!

  • It’s a critical means of changing the world!

  • It’s fun!

  • Not the same as lobbying.

  • Symbiotic with individual services

Why systems advocacy
Why Systems Advocacy?

  • Have you ever had a problem…

    • Securing accessible, affordable, integrated housing?

    • Securing needed home care services?

    • Getting and keeping a job?

    • Getting into or through public venues, stores, government offices, etc?

    • Finding accessible parking?

Why systems advocacy1
Why Systems Advocacy?

  • What CAN YOU do about IT?

    • Struggle as individuals trying to conform to the demands of an able-bodied world?


    • Mobilize a community wide effort to remove barriers?

    • Pick priorities and fight for them?

    • Educate the community about living with a disability?

Why do systems advocacy
Why do Systems Advocacy?

  • We have the obligation to make this world better for others.

  • We have the privilege to be the voice of many who cannot, yet, be their own.

  • We are the lucky ones.

  • We have our “Independent Privileges.”

Why do systems advocacy1
Why do Systems Advocacy?

  • If we don’t speak for ourselves, who does speak for us?

    • The “Experts”

      • Parents

      • Unions

      • Staff

      • Service Provider Associations

Why do systems advocacy2
Why do Systems Advocacy?

  • What are the “Experts” going to say?

    • The group home needs more funding?

    • The staff need more vacation days?

    • They need to be ‘less burdened’ by person-centered paperwork?

    • Disabilities are the problem, they need to be cured / eliminated

    • Quality of life with disability isn’t really all that good, why provide health care?

Why do systems advocacy3
Why do Systems Advocacy?

Advocacy is not something “those other people” do

Systems Advocacy and Direct Services are interdependent

Direct services identify the barriers

Systems Advocacy removes the barriers

We need to support one another wherever possible


Questions and answers part 1
Questions and Answers, Part 1

  • Questions… Answers…

The systems advocacy pitchfork
The Systems Advocacy “Pitchfork”

ADAPT’s Pitchfork of Systems Advocacy

In no particular order…

Public Education / Media

Legislative Advocacy

Judicial Process

Executive / Administrative

Direct Action

More prongs on a pitchfork are more effective!


The systems advocacy pitchfork1
The Systems Advocacy “Pitchfork”

Media/Education: Use media to influence public policy, educate public and explain how public policies affect lives of people with disabilities. When general public becomes passionate about our issues, elected officials have less chance of resisting our demands.

Judicial Process: This prong deals with using existing anti-discrimination laws in court to challenge discriminatory practices.


The systems advocacy pitchfork2
The Systems Advocacy “Pitchfork”

Legislative: Influencing elected officials and their staff in order to affect public policy

Executive / Administrative: Influencing administrative or regulatory entities.

Direct Action: Non-violent direct action, such as civil disobedience, street theater and rallies can be used to bring about systems change. One of the strengths of our movement is the number of people we have who are fiercely committed to creating change.


How to do systems advocacy
How to do Systems Advocacy

  • Putting the Pitchfork into action

    • What’s the issue?

    • What are your goals?

    • What are your strategies?

    • How do you know when you’ve won?

    • What’s your exit strategy?

    • How do you celebrate your victories?

How to do systems advocacy1
How to do Systems Advocacy

  • From Organizing for Social Change

  • A good issue matches most of these criteria:

    • Result in real improvement

    • Give people a sense of their own power

    • Alter the relations of power

    • Be winnable

    • Be worthwhile

    • Be widely felt

How to do systems advocacy cont d
How to do Systems Advocacy, cont’d.

  • Be deeply felt

  • Be easy to understand

  • Have a clear target

  • Have a clear time frame that works

  • Be non-divisive

  • Build leadership

  • Lay groundwork for next campaign

  • Be consistent with your values

How to do systems advocacy2
How to do Systems Advocacy

A sampling of Saul Alinksy’s Rules for Radicals:

Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people. The result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. “If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.”

Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues.

How to do systems advocacy cont d1
How to do Systems Advocacy, cont’d.

Rule 8: Keep the pressure on.

Rule 9: The threat is more terrifying than the thing itself.

Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.

How to do systems advocacy cont d2
How to do Systems Advocacy, cont’d.

Now, something entirely different…

McNeilly's six principles are: (partially derived from Sun Tzu – Ancient Chinese military Philosopher)

1. Win All Without Fighting: Achieving the Objective Without Destroying It

2. Avoid Strength, Attack Weakness: Striking Where the Enemy is Most Vulnerable

3. Deception and Foreknowledge: Winning the Information War

How to do systems advocacy cont d3
How to do Systems Advocacy, cont’d.

4. Speed and Preparation: Moving Swiftly to Overcome Resistance

5. Shaping the Enemy: Preparing the Battlefield

6. Character-Based Leadership: Leading by Example

How to do systems advocacy cont d4
How to do Systems Advocacy, cont’d.

  • Some other tips to remember:

    • Anyone can be a leader

    • Invest people by using their strengths

    • The most important victory is the group itself

    • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Meade

Get to the core of it systems advocacy a national webinar teleconference presented by

Questions & Answers

Got questions?


Social media and e advocacy
Social Media and E-advocacy

Just what the heck is social media?




Myspace (the dinosaur…)



Can you really change the world in 140 characters or less?


Social media and e advocacy cont d
Social Media and E-advocacy, cont’d.

“Just because I am a woman who uses a wheelchair, does not mean anyone should be patting me on the head. That is so 1950s.”

124 characters, including spaces and quotations.

Debbie Bonomo, Rochester, NY, regarding then presidential candidate, Senator John Edwards


Social media and e advocacy cont d1
Social Media and E-advocacy, cont’d.

Campaign Volunteers directing wheelchair users to inaccessible entrance

Sign language interpreters cancelled

Senator Edwards’ head-pat heard round the world

CDR issued a press release, including the quote from Ms. Bonomo


Social media and e advocacy cont d2
Social Media and E-advocacy, cont’d.

The next day, the local newspaper ran an article about all three of our concerns.

The next day, the local Fox affiliate interviewed us and ran a story during their evening news.

The next day, National Fox cable news ran the story during the evening news with Brit Hume.

The next day, there were articles and responses and blogs all across the nation.

The next day, it was in the Guardian newspaper in the UK!


Social media and e advocacy cont d3
Social Media and E-advocacy, cont’d.

Democrat blogs condemned the story as being fabricated by Republicans

Some editorial boards condemned us for being an overly sensitive culture

Local shock-jocks blasted us, then had us on their show

124 characters created an international dialogue about the treatment of people with disabilities

And this was before Facebook and Twitter!


Social media and e advocacy1
Social Media and E-advocacy

  • Facebook

    • The facebook page for the Center for Disability Rights has 1,694 fans as of 6/4/2010

    • 119 of these joined us in the preceding week

    • 459 visits to the page that week

    • Only about 20% of our fans are from Rochester

    • 20 Nations are represented in our fans list

Social media and e advocacy2
Social Media and E-advocacy

  • Facebook success story

    • A number of local reporters are my facebook ‘friends’

    • Posted a status update on a Sunday morning about an issue

    • Reporter called my cell on her day off and mine, asking for an interview

    • Generated a news story for the evening on the most watched local channel

Social media and e advocacy3
Social Media and E-advocacy

  • Twitter

    • Tiny bits of information for the short attention span generation

    • News propagation

    • Follow people and they will follow you

      • Reporters

      • Politicians

      • Legislative staffers

Social media and e advocacy4
Social Media and E-advocacy

  • YouTube

    • Zillions of videos, short and lengthy

    • Create your own channel, get subscribers

  • Create your own propaganda

    • When budgets were stalled, we got creative

    • Our bill sponsors were on a white stallion

    • Gov and Lej leaders were three men in a smoke filled room

Social media and e advocacy5
Social Media and E-advocacy

  • Our video advocated for CIL funding

  • 2,644 views as of 6/4/2010

  • Multiple blogs linked to our video

  • We (comically) portrayed the problem that everyone knew was there

  • Simplified our issue to be readily understandable

  • Many views by legislative staff

Social media and e advocacy6
Social Media and E-advocacy

  • Capwiz and other E-advocacy tools

    • Quick and easy

    • High quantity, low quality

    • Tools are evolving quickly to improve quality of constituent contact

  • Amplified by social media

    • Post the action alert to twitter

    • With automatic copy sent over to facebook and LinkedIn

Why measure success
Why Measure Success?

  • Some states require systems advocacy successes

  • Board wants to know

  • We’re responsible to our consumers and members

Measuring success
Measuring Success

  • Establish attainable goals

  • Goals need to be in line with community priorities

  • Quantify what can be quantified

  • Know your goals!

  • Monitor progress regularly

  • Celebrate the victories

Get to the core of it systems advocacy a national webinar teleconference presented by

Questions & Answers

What’s the first thing you’ll do as a result of this training?


Wrap up and evaluation
Wrap Up and Evaluation

Click the link below now to complete an evaluation of today’s program found at:

Cil net

Support for development of this Webinar/teleconference was provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration under grant number H132B070002-09. No official endorsement of the Department of Education should be inferred. Permission is granted for duplication of any portion of this PowerPoint presentation, providing that the following credit is given to the project: Developed as part of the CIL-NET, a program of the IL NET, an ILRU/NCIL/APRIL National Training and Technical Assistance Project.