“Changing our community one match at a time”Citizen Advocacy of Atlanta & Dekalb
Our mission is to invite and involve a wide range of local people into a wide range of responsible personal relationships with people whose lives are diminished because of prejudice toward disability.
Our vision is of a community where people with disabilities – who are socially devalued* – are safe from discrimination and social exclusion because they are personally allied to ordinary people experiencing typical community life.
DEVALUATION stems from the creation and support of negative stereotypes, forced congregation and segregation, and the brutalization and extermination of these people groups.
*Social Devaluation: The process whereby a group of people is pushed down and to the edge of the larger culture. DEVALUATION stems from the creation and support of negative stereotypes, forced congregation and segregation, and the brutalization and extermination of these people groups.
Ordinary citizens with specific selection, orientation, follow-along, and support can and will, if asked, become citizen advocates, providing vigorous and powerful protection and advocacy to their neighbors who have developmental disabilities.
We take great care to ensure that advocates and proteges are well suited to one another and support their growing relationship. This approach has the dual effect of providing immediate solutions for current situations and contributing to the process of long-term societal change.
In order to avoid false assumptions, change negative preconceptions, and achieve fundamental social change for persons with developmental disabilities, people in local communities need to come to know, identify with, and ally themselves to people in their area who have disabilities, become involved with their situations, help to create solutions, and develop long-lasting relationships with them.
Therefore, Citizen Advocacy occurs when a competent, private citizen, recruited, oriented, and supported as a citizen advocate by Citizen Advocacy of Atlanta & DeKalb, Inc., represents the interests of one other person who has a developmental disability and is at risk of social exclusion. It has the advantages of being voluntary and free from conflict of interest, of occurring between members of the same community, and of potentially being an on-going, even lifelong, form of protection for the person who has a disability label.