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  • Kelsi Marie Weaver

Live Your Best Life

Updated: Mar 27

In the Disability Community, we speak a lot about advocacy and its many different forms. In the last couple of months, I have been reflecting on what advocacy means to me. The value of talking about advocacy in the Disability Community is that everyone feels empowered and supported. I think the most important takeaway is it does not matter the role you play within the Disability Community; we are all advocates! It does not matter what you do if you are speaking up for yourself and the things you need or fighting for an issue that impacts your whole community, you are an advocate.


A woman with long black hair smiling at the camera while in a jean jacket.

Being an advocate also means you often are also practicing self-determination. Self-determination is the belief that a particular person has the right to be in control of their own lives and make their own decisions. This should be the same for all of us, people with disabilities and nondisabled people. Whether you work at Kroger or on Capitol Hill, you have the right to speak up for yourself and receive the things you want and need to live your best life.


We have many decisions to make, like if we want to be involved in romantic relationships, if we want to pursue higher education and go to college, if we want to travel and explore new places and if we want to live independently instead of living with family. We all deserve the right to make these decisions. Having a disability does not matter, people with disabilities can live full and meaningful lives. We might just have to accommodate things a little differently to achieve what we want, and that's OK. It is always good to have family, friends, and other trusted people around you. But at the end of the day, it is your life, and you need to have the final decision. Always remember you are your greatest advocate! And YOU have the power to speak up for the things that you want in your life.


In my personal opinion, people with disabilities deserve to have the freedom and opportunity to make their own decisions and mistakes. We all have people we “lean on” for guidance and support no matter if you are disabled or non-disabled. We all need a little help from our friends! But the greatest strength lies within you.


Think about it this way, if everyone with a disability had the mindset of self-determination and that they were in control of their own lives consider how powerful the Disability Community would be! Generation after generation of people with disabilities would be fierce and confident. They would not be afraid to fight for the things they need, and what makes this even more remarkable is that our world would be more fantastic because of it.


So, if you are reading this and you have a disability, and you're wondering why you should advocate for yourself, think about the future generations. Think about the young person who may look up to you someday! You may empower them to speak up for themselves and make a change. That is truly what it's all about! Building a better future.


Kelsi Marie Weaver is a writer and passionate about making the world a better place for people with disabilities. She is currently attending Ohio University Eastern to earn a bachelor's degree in social work. If you want to check out more of Kelsi’s writing, check out powerfullydisabled.com.


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