Systems Advocacy

Systems advocacy is how ARISE makes our goal of independence and access for all a reality. 

“Nothing About Us, Without Us.” In our advocacy, people with disabilities work together to champion our rights, change policies that hurt us and propose legislation to improve our lives. 

Our goals are limited only by our imaginations. The issues we are working on right now include:  

  • the accessibility of public spaces and services 
  • access to quality health care 
  • more accessible and affordable housing 
  • advising local emergency planning agencies on the needs of people with disabilities 
  • public transit that meets the needs of our community 

Here’s how you can take action for disability rights: 

1. Add your name to our Action Alert email list. Our advocate sends emails with information about current issues and proposed legislation that affect people with disabilities. The email will tell you how to contact politicians and agency staff locally, in Albany, and in Washington, D.C. to make sure officials know your opinion before they vote! If you don’t receive our Advocacy Action Alerts–click here to sign up! If you need help registering to vote–click here for help.

2. Join the Independent Living Council. Our grassroots group run by people with disabilities meets monthly and makes sure our voices have a powerful impact. We meet with public officials and testify at public meetings. 

3. Volunteer to help on one of our committees: 

  • Inclusive Emergency Planning Task Force: advise local Emergency Planning Departments on the needs of the disability community 
  • Americans with Disabilities Act Celebration Committee: plan our annual community celebration in July of this landmark civil rights legislation 
  • Candidate Forum on Disability Issues: plan our forum each fall allowing candidates running for public office to consider issues affecting the disability community. 
  • Access Watchdogs: identify public facilities, events and websites whose access can be improved in terms of mobility, vision and hearing. 

 Together we can create a fair and just community in which everyone can fully participate.

Contact Us


Phil Prehn
SSAN Advocate
(315) 671-4658


Jeff Parker
Asst. Independent Living Services Director
(315) 671-4651


Cathy Almodovar
Lead Advocate
(315) 606-5095


Sara Douglass
Lead Advocate
(315) 604-4046