Every month we highlight one of the many partners that the Jewish Federation & Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee works with on disability inclusion. One of our community-wide partners is the Tennessee Disability Coalition (TDC).
For over 30 years, the Tennessee Disability Coalition (TDC) has brought together organizations and individuals from across Tennessee to create a society that values, includes, and supports the 1.6 million of us experience some form of disability. Through programs, policy, and purpose; the TDC empowers Tennesseans to advocate for a more inclusive state. The impacts of equality and inclusion touches every inch of Tennessee, including through the cornfields and cow pastures, for both Tennesseans with and without disabilities. We work with advocates regardless of age or disability (e.g., Down Syndrome, diabetes, autism, depression).
At TDC, inclusion looks like people with disabilities having a seat at the table and a voice in the conversation. All disabilities may not be visible. Invisible or “hidden” disabilities can be physical, mental, or neurological and include, autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, dementia, asthma, low vision, hearing loss, and brain injuries. Tennesseans with any form of disability should be included as valuable members of and decision-makers in their communities.
So, who are these voices? Well, they’re moms, dads, spouses. Folks just like you who are speaking out and speaking up for people with disabilities. They advocate for independence, accessibility, education, voting access, and more. In coalition with over 40 organizations, TDC has worked to pass bills that protect and defend the rights of people with disabilities in Tennessee. Additionally, TDC works with individual disability advocates in many ways: empowering someone to write, call, or meet with their legislators; to share their story/struggles with the media; or to run for local office. Advocacy is not done in a vacuum; the voices of our diverse community make Tennessee a more inclusive state.
To learn more about TDC inclusion or how to connect with other disability advocates and campaigns, visit www.tndisability.org, follow us on social media at @tndisability, or text TEAMWORK to 72690.