Civic Engagement Toolbox For Self-Advocates

Right now, many people are getting involved in political advocacy for the first time. People are going to town hall meetings and making phone calls to their members of Congress. They’re writing letters and using social media to organize advocacy groups.

This new wave of political advocacy is incredible. And people with disabilities need to be a part of that. That’s why we’re pleased to announce a new series of plain language toolkits. These toolkits focus on the basics of civic engagement. Civic engagement means actively participating in our democracy. In a democracy, regular people choose, or elect, who gets to be in government. The people we elect should listen to our concerns and advocate for us in the government. But when they don’t do that, we have the right to make our voices heard. In short, civic engagement means:

  • learning about how the government works, and
  • making sure that the people we elect to government listen to us.

They Work For Us: A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Getting Through to your Elected Officials

The first toolkit is “They Work For Us: A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Getting Through to your Elected Officials.” This toolkit is about:

  • who our elected officials are, and
  • what strategies self-advocates can use to get our voices heard by the people we elect to represent us.

They Work For Us covers:

  • Who our elected officials are
  • How to contact your elected officials
  • Strategies, scripts, and templates to help you effectively communicate with your elected officials
  • How to use social media for political advocacy
Plain Language Version

Some parts of the toolkit are available as short stand-alone fact sheets. Click the links below to download the toolkit and fact sheets as PDF files. The PDFs are screenreader-accessible.

Easy Read Edition
The Easy Read Edition is split into parts. Each part has its own glossary, and there is also a separate glossary with all of the terms from every section. Click on the title of any of the parts below to download it:

You can also download the entire Easy Read Edition by clicking here.

Sharing Your Story for a Political Purpose

Telling your story is a great way to make a difference — and because it’s your story, there’s no one better to tell it! Our stories are powerful political tools, and we can use them to make real change. Hearing a real person talk about a policy problem gives policymakers a name and face to remember. Make sure they remember your story — and make the changes you want — with our toolkit, “Sharing Your Story For a Political Purpose.” 

This toolkit helps you brainstorm the most important parts of what you want to say, and make a plan to use your story to create policy change. It explains how to share your story in different places, like:

  • Town halls
  • Legislative hearings
  • Public comments on regulations
  • Op-eds and letters to the editor
  • Petitions

The toolkit is available in two versions:

  • Our Easy Read Edition. The Easy Read version is split into 9 parts. Each part has its own Words to Know section, and there is also a separate Words to Know part with all of the terms from every section. The Easy Read version uses pictures along with larger text, and has more white space.
  • A Plain Language Version for either those with vision-related disabilities or those who would prefer a version without accompanying graphics.
Easy Read Edition

The Easy Read Edition is split into parts. Each part has its own Words to Know section, and there is also a separate Words to Know part with all of the terms from every section. Click on the title of any of the parts below to download it:

You can also download the entire Easy Read Edition of the toolkit by clicking here.

Thanks to generous support from:

SARTAC logo