Normally when I think of new beginnings I think of January1st, New Year’s Day, the first day of spring, the first day of fall, my two favorite seasons. But today is a new beginning too. Every four years Americans have the right to elect a new president. I consider it a privilege and a responsibility to vote in every election I can vote in
This past November I didn’t really want to vote. I can’t believe I am saying that. I had studied the issues on the ballot, made my choices for local offices but when it came to voting for our next president, I didn’t want to cast my vote. I struggled with this issue for many, many days. When I woke up on November 9th and heard that Donald Trump had won I felt a moment of panic. I pushed the panic aside got out of bed, took a shower and got ready for work. As I worked through my day I realized that change is inevitable. No matter who won a new person would be our President. I began to feel calmer and more accepting of the change that would take place.
Yesterday one of my consumers called me and asked me if Donald Trump was going to cut social security benefits. I told him that most likely that wouldn’t happen. I’ve gotten a lot of questions this past week about benefits that my consumers receive and how they might be affected by our new president. I have always given the same answer: I don’t think your benefits will change but we will have to wait and see. I always finish by telling my consumers to remember that for today everything is ok. You have a roof over your head, food to eat and clothes to wear. You are all right for today.
Becoming self-empowered and learning to advocate for yourself and others is a great new beginning. One of independent living core goals is advocacy, talking with elected officials about how you live and letting them know how Ability 1st Utah has helped you fulfill your goal to live independently is very important to consumers and our agency. Yes big things are happening in Washington D.C. but big things are happening right here in Utah. Our legislative session is about to get underway and we need everyone’s help.
Utah legislators want to hear your stories. Find out who your legislators are and send them an email (http://le.utah.gov/.) Don’t forget to include a picture. Many legislators now have Facebook pages and Instagram accounts. The state legislature has a Twitter account, (@UtahGov/UtahLegislatureonTwitter) you can also subscribe to. Technology can be an amazing tool in advocating for yourself and others.
Becoming involved in the process can help you calm your worries about change and give you a new beginning. So here’s to “New Beginnings,” becoming a powerful advocate for ourselves and others, looking forward to the coming year with courage, self-assurance and joy.