1997 Next Generation Leadership Symposium
Looking Ahead to the Next Generation: Presentations and Recommendations
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Publication (Documents and Resources)
As part of the mission and focus of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation (PCMR), Committee members are deeply concerned about training new leaders for the 21st century.
During the over 30 year history of the President's Committee, dramatic changes have occurred regarding the quality, location and types of services and supports available for citizens with mental retardation.
At the dawn of the Committee's formal creation in 1966, typical services and supports left a lot to be desired. Quality, if measured at all, might more likely represent numbers of individuals served in custodial settings, rather than addressing the hopes, dreams and aspirations of Self-Advocates who simply yearned to be part of their home community.
As walls of separation, segregation, low expectations, and limited options fell to integration, person centered planning, Self-Advocacy and high expectations, people with mental retardation were able to dream more, earn more and be part of everyday life.
So much more remains to be done in our field. First is building upon the successes of the last 30 plus years by continuing to ignite the fire of change to break down even more barriers that keep us apart and our futures limited.
New leaders are emerging.
That is the focus of the Next Generation Leadership Symposium. Training new leaders ranging from Self Advocates, Direct Support Professionals, Service Providers, Researchers, and Agency Personnel to Family Members will help create the energy and enthusiasm to shake the system sufficiently to allow positive change to occur.
The 1997 Next Generation Symposium, held August 22–23, 1997, was successful in meeting PCMR's goal of reaching out and training new leaders. More than 250 individuals, under the age of 35, from over 40 States and the District of Columbia joined the PCMR in passing the torch to the next generation. Participants in eight concurrent workshops were challenged to: (1) Identify and address model activities, best practices and develop strategies for future leaders in programs, supports and advocacy for people with mental retardation and, (2) Identify and address barriers that are expected to hamper progress of future leaders in their efforts to improve the lives of persons with mental retardation and their families.
The eight concurrent workgroups addressed topical issues as Public Policy; Legal/Justice System; Direct Support; Housing; Employment; Education; Research; and Diversity.
The 1997 Next Generation Symposium culminated in this special PCMR Report entitled Looking Ahead to the Next Generation.
Special thanks to Kerri Melda, Human Services Research Institute, Salem, Oregon, and Tanya Dorf, InterHab, Topeka, Kansas, for their creativity, dedication, and hard work as Co-Chairpersons of the 1997 Symposium.
The Committee extends its gratitude to the members of the Next Generation Leadership Advisory Committee whose understanding and guidance contributed immensely to the total success of the Symposium:
- Jane L. Browning, Washington, D.C.
- Robert D. Dinerstein, J.D., Washington, D.C. Steven M. Eidelman, Arlington, Virginia
- Ann M. Forts, Center Harbor, New Hampshire Dawn Rae Hays, Columbus, Ohio
- Sally Jochum, Lenexa, Kansas
- Delmas Johnson, Glenn Dale, Maryland Seth Krakauer, Rockaway Park, New York Sabrina Lewis, Middletown, New York
- Yona Lunsky, Columbus, Ohio
- Laurel Manthey-Silvio, Germantown, Maryland Deborah Robinson, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Julie Silver, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Marisha Tapera, Rockville, Maryland
- Sheryl White-Scott, M.D., Valhalla, New York and
- Thelma Lucas, PCMR Next Generation Symposium Project Officer
- Laura Jelliffe, 1997 PCMR Research Associate Mara Kreiger, 1997 PCMR Intern
- Christine Kohl, 1997 PCMR Intern
Additionally, the PCMR expresses its appreciation to Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Assistant Secretary, Olivia A. Golden and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, John Monahan for their leadership and continuing commitment to PCMR's initiatives.
The 1997 Next Generation Leadership Symposium
was dedicated to the memory of
Natalie Sage Hazelton Coe
a courageous and articulate advocate
on behalf of individuals with disabilities.
May her memory be a blessing
and inspire others to a life of advocacy and achievement.
Gary H. Blumenthal, Executive Director
"Do we believe all our people are entitled to an equal opportunity to live out their dreams? Do we believe our own lives are enriched when we live and work together with people of different backgrounds who share our values? We begin to answer these questions as young children. As Thurgood Marshall once said, 'Unless our children begin to learn together, there is little hope our people will ever learn to live together."'
President William Clinton, September, 1997 — reflecting on the 40th anniversary of racial desegregation at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas
People with developmental disabilities have dreams to fulfill. They want to live and learn, and to work and play, just as others do. They want to be supported by their communities, as we all are. They want to contribute to their communities, as we all do.
People with disabilities want control over their daily decisions, opportunities to succeed, and the freedom to fail.
It seems so simple. Yet, at times, we have made it so difficult. Historically, it has often been the disabilities "system" itself that has isolated people with disabilities from their families and communities. Only in the past few decades have we, as a field, begun to tear down the walls, and rewrite the rules, that have for so long isolated us from being a truly integrated community.
As "young" leaders in the disabilities field, we have grown up side by side with the disabilities movement. Over the past three decades, we have experienced first-hand the monumental changes in disability policy and practice. As youngsters, we welcomed children with disabilities into our schools. As teenagers, we rode the bus, we went to the movies, and we became friends with schoolmates having disabilities. And now, as adults, we fully expect people with disabilities to join us in the workforce, and as our neighbors and friends.
We have watched the "advocacy" movement become a "self-advocacy" movement. We have cheered legislation guaranteeing individuals with disabilities the same rights and protections under the law to which all Americans are entitled. And we look forward to a future that truly puts "people first" in all aspects planning, implementation, and evaluation of disability services and supports.
President Clinton posed the questions above about racial integration in America. We find these questions equally valid when considering the integration of individuals with developmental disabilities in our communities.
Best practices must become common practice. As young leaders, we came to the 1997 Next Generation Leadership Symposium to learn from one another, to share information, and to develop recommendations from our collective experiences and expertise. In the following pages, we offer our observations, our analysis, and our suggestions for better supporting individuals with disabilities as full participants in our communities.
Co-Chair, 1997 Next Generation Leadership Symposium
Co-Chair, 1997 Next Generation Leadership Symposium