Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection benefits local disabilities nonprofit

Friday, Nov. 11, 2016
By Special to the Intermountain Catholic

As we near the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), I would like to take the opportunity to briefly speak to the impact the sacrifices and charitable donations have meant to our local non-profit, the Disabled Rights Action Committee. Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento has said the “CCHD sustains the Holy Father’s initiative to bring the joy of the gospel to our brothers and sisters living on the margins of American life.” This has certainly been true in our case. 
We are a group of activists with disabilities. Year after year we see our brothers and sisters sentenced to life in nursing homes, segregated from friends and family. We are fighting to get the state of Utah to adopt the Community First Choice Option that would allow persons with disabilities, including those brought on by advancing years, who need assistance in their daily life to have a choice of living in our own homes and apartments, supported by attendants that we have a say in hiring and firing. 
The dignity that comes from remaining in our own homes and communities, surrounded by supportive family and friends, with the ability to participate fully in our civil and religious communities cannot be overstated. The voice we have gained from organizing together and the power we have felt from fighting for our rights and those of our brothers and sisters has truly brought us from the margins to the mainstream of American life. 
The funding we have received has allowed us to hire an organizer that will help recruit even more individuals to our cause who will experience the joy of unselfishly fighting for the freedoms of others. It will allow several of our members to participate in national protests in Washington DC where our voices can be amplified by joining with over 200 of our brothers and sisters with disabilities from around the country. It will strengthen us as we impact policies that are made on the national level. The funding will help us get our message out through the miracle of social media and will allow us to train others in the power and dignity of non-violent protests for social justice. 
Of course, it is not just about money. Even as Christ raised up the poor and outcasts of his day, so CCHD representatives have assisted and encouraged us in further fund raising efforts to make us more self-sufficient, to recruit, organize and train to ensure we will be able to pass on our efforts to a new generation of advocates with disabilities.
For our members who have avoided life in the margins of nursing homes and for those who have had the prison gates of nursing homes opened, and for our members who are experiencing the dignity of fighting for their own rights, we express our profound gratitude to our Catholic brothers and sisters whose personal sacrifices have made our grant and the support we receive possible. God bless you all. 
Jerry Costley
Executive Director
Disabled Rights Action Committee 
(Editor’s note: The Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection will be taken up at Masses during the weekend of Nov. 19.)

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