RISE de Updates

RISEde is a self-advocacy group established in 2022 to Redefine Independence and Social Empowerment for people with disabilities in Delaware. Sponsored by The Arc of Delaware, the group is led by Benjamin Shrader, an experienced self-advocate who sees choice and self-directed services as key to unlocking potential through community and shared responsibility. Benjamin’s Bullhorn provides his regular updates on disability news, events and perspectives of interest to the RISEde community.

Benjamin’s BullhornMegaphone silhouette

During our May 2023 meeting, members of RISEde wanted to set a path forward for the fall and spring, establishing a mission from which to grow our group. As we began brainstorming a number of issues, we quickly realized that everything we wanted to do was tied to our ability to access transportation. Meaning, if we couldn’t go anywhere, we couldn’t do anything.

So the decision was made to begin a bold undertaking. Starting this fall, RISEde will research, hold meetings, and ponder solutions with the various stakeholders — Medicaid and other agencies, home health companies, etc. The plan is for these efforts to form the basis of a legislative framework to present to legislators sometime in the spring. This framework would hopefully loosen some of the liability issues facing home health aides that bar them from being able to drive clients. If successful, this will open up new worlds of opportunity for Delawareans with disabilities.

This summer we will meet socially and get plenty of rest because we’ve got a lot of work ahead!

For many decades, readers of popular Marvel comic books would finish a story and be greeted by something called “Stan’s Soapbox.” Such pieces would function almost like letters wherein Editor-in-Chief Stan Lee could educate young readers (true believers, as he called them) about issues of the day. Lee covered everything from racism and poverty to war and hatred. His goal was to give kids a context for the chaos they were seeing around them in the 1960s and '70s, as well as a firm grounding in the reality of the day for the fantastic story they just read.

I’ve always liked the idea of this soapbox as a way to communicate frustrations and feelings, forging a better world together. In Stan Lee’s tradition comes “Benjamin’s Bullhorn.” Through this platform, I plan to talk about issues facing the disability community today as a whole. And more specifically, I hope to discuss how those things tie into the mission of RISEde.

Here we can discuss things in the news that I feel require a more grounded context, just as Stan once provided his readers. The disabled voice is so often missing from everyday conversations, even those that ostensibly pertain to said voice. My idea behind the bull horn is to create a space where that’s no longer the case. I can’t promise to end every letter with a cool catchphrase (Stan was fond of closing with “Excelsior!”) but I can promise we’re all going to learn something and hopefully grow as a community a little bit too.

I will have more to say about RISEde’s exciting first mission in the coming months. So hold on tight, true believers! We’ve got lots of excitement ahead of us!