Every person’s story has the potential to impact how others think or act. Disability rights have been legislated because of individuals who spoke up and sparked change. This video introduces a strategy for telling a potent story in two or fewer minutes, using your own hand to guide the process. Think of this as a hand model for an inspirational elevator speech to improve or inspire:
- Public comment
- A meeting with public officials
- Legislative forums or candidate meetings
- Community education
The Arc of Washington State provides pathways for people to participate in legislative advocacy. The Arc serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities of all ages and their families.
Some staff members at PAVE are certified to teach Telling your Story with a Purpose, a training created by the state’s Department of Health and Seattle Children’s Hospital. For support to create your story, fill out a PAVE Helpline request, and a trained staff member will contact you.
Questions to consider first:
- What is the challenge or problem that you, your child or your family faces? Think of a problem that also affects other people and families. Consider writing one sentence about people in general and one sentence about your own story, child, or family.
- How does this challenge affect others?
- How might this challenge affect others if nothing changes?
- What needs to change?
- What can be done to improve the situation?
- Who has the power to make a change?
Key information for your story:
- Who are you? Be sure to say your name and the district, city, or town you live in.
- If you want to include information about other people be sure you have permission before sharing anything confidential, such as names, ages, or health information.
- Clearly and simply describe the problem or challenge.
- Explain why this is important.
- Include a short story (4-5 sentences) about how this issue has affected you and your family. If possible, use a positive example – a situation where things went well and why you want others to have a similar experience.
- What do you want your listener to do? State your request in one sentence with 30 or fewer words. Avoid a general request for “support.” Provide a clear action:
- “I ask you to vote for…”
- “I want you to change this policy in order to…”
- “I want you to fund a program that…”
- Stop and check: Consider if your comments might make the listener feel criticized or attacked. Focus on the solution. Make sure you’ve included statements about how others in the community can benefit.
- End by restating your request and saying thank you. When possible, thank the listener for something they have done in the past that you appreciate–voting for a bill, serving on a committee, funding a program.