Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights (VCDR) is an organization that works to “advance the human and civil rights of people with disabilities to ensure full and equal participation in all aspects of community life and political process” (VCDR website). VCDR is funded primarily through grants provided by Vermont’s DD Council, but its scope goes beyond developmental or intellectual disability. The coalition is working on expanding to include more cross-disability advocacy, looking to involve people who experience physical, sensory, psychiatric, developmental, or other disabilities.
Karen Lafayette, VCDR Coordination, and Sarah Launderville, VCDR President lead the coalition. Every January, they put out a Legislative Platform that lists and explains the priorities of policies that affect Vermonters with disabilities. 2019’s Legislative Platform includes items like Participant Directed Attendant Care, health reform, inclusive sex education reform, use of force data reporting, open captioning screening, Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program, and increasing the minimum wage.
VCDR also spearheads Disability Awareness Day at the Vermont Statehouse. This event, taking place on February 27 in Montpelier, provides the opportunity for self-advocates and family members to attend workshops, practice advocacy skills, learn more about local and national efforts, and engage with local policymakers.