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Self-Advocacy for Adults with Disabilities

  • client practices using accessible voting machine
  • clients holding "support my supports" sign at capitol
  • clients providing anti-bullying presentation to fourth graders

About Self-Advocacy

Merrick, Inc., is considered a leader in the State of Minnesota, in part, due to our commitment to self-advocacy. In 1997, six self-advocates started the initial Putting People First group hosted at Merrick. Today, there are 10 self-advocacy groups that meet weekly with 100 active members. Annually, each group elects officers and advisors from Merrick to provide an auxiliary role. For many years now, self-advocates have made countless presentations to schools, civic organizations, disability groups, conferences, and workshops. Self-advocates believe that self-advocacy is not just an activity or something that happens in a group, if you are speaking up for yourself – you ARE a self-advocate. It is a life-changing experience.

Merrick is well known for providing opportunities for self-advocates to express themselves and learn and encourage their peers to pursue their goals and dreams. Self-advocates at Merrick have focused their efforts in the following four areas:

  • Public Awareness
  • Legislative Efforts
  • Voter Rights
  • Serving on boards, committees, and workgroups

To learn more about the self-advocacy program at Merrick,  please contact our Self-Advocacy Facilitator Danea Davis at


Created in collaboration with self-advocates, Merrick’s Self-Advocacy Newsletter provides readers with a glimpse into our self-advocacy program.

“The self-advocacy program [at Merrick, Inc.,] has not only sensitized and educated me on a number of issues relating to the unfair stereotyping of individuals with disabilities, but by having this program, Merrick has empowered individuals with disabilities … the self-advocacy program ensures that it is more difficult to continue to treat individuals with disabilities as the forgotten minority.”

U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank