The 6th Annual Roll on Capitol Hill, June 11-14, featured more than 150 wheelchair users, clinicians, partners, and disability advocates, with the goal of meeting with key congressional leaders to discuss improving disability policies.

“With a new administration, we face both challenges and opportunities on a range of public policy issues from civil rights to healthcare and community living to transportation and employment,” says James Weisman, president and CEO of United Spinal Association, host of this, its annual signature policy event.

“We must ensure that our rights, access to healthcare and appropriate equipment and independence are not diminished,” he adds.

Advocates met face-to-face with more than 200 members of Congress and other key legislators during the event to discuss their unique challenges that come with living with a disability.

Additional events included panel discussions and advocacy training sessions.

A Congressional Awards Reception held June 13 recognized members of Congress for their outstanding service to people with disabilities and veterans. Those honored included Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), who received the 2017 James J. Peters Disability Rights Champion Award; Rep Phil Poe (R-Tenn), who received the 2017 VetsFirst Congressional Bronze Star Award; and Rep Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who received the 2017 Junius A. Kellogg Congressional Outstanding Leadership Award, per the release.

“Your advocacy on complex rehab technology and personal stories about how your wheelchair empowers you to live needs to be told to every member of the House of Representatives and Senate,” Zeldin states.

“I am proud to be fighting alongside all of you for policies like the Disability Integration Act and those that address other disability issues. I want to express my gratitude for the work you’ve done today and every day. Hearing your stories is incredibly important,” Warren shares in a prepared statement.

Disability advocates were also honored during the event for their dedicated work to ensure the full integration, independence, and civil rights of people with disabilities, the release explains. Frances M. Ozur Cole, president, United Spinal’s New Mexico Chapter, received the 2017 Finn Bullers Advocate of the Year Award, and Jenn Wolff, formerly United Spinal’s advocacy alliance manager, received the 2017 Grassroots Advocacy Award.

[Source(s): United Spinal Association, PR Newswire]