How to Advocate and Show Your Support

Want to know how you can help?

  1. Anytime: Call on Your Members of Congress to Support the Cogswell-Macy Act
  2. Tweet Your Support for #CogswellMacyAct
  3. Spread the Word About the Cogswell-Macy Act on Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube
  4. Letter to Parents, Guardians, Grandparents, and Caregivers
  5. YouTube video from the Council of Schools and Services for the Blind
  6. Show Your Organization’s Support for the Cogswell-Macy Act
  7. Organize and Share Your Own Cogswell-Macy Act Advocacy Activities!

Call Your Senator or Representative to Support the Cogswell-Macy Act: H.R. 4822, S. 2681

How to Make the Call in Four Simple Steps

1. Be sure you know who are your 2 senators and one representative by following the links below:

Senators: Look for your Senators by state at https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Representatives: Look for your Representative by zip code at http://www.house.gov/htbin/findrep

2. Call the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your Senator or Representative

3. Identify yourself and let them know that you are a constituent.

4. Ask your member of Congress, or their staff, to support the Cogswell-Macy Act, and ask for their position on this legislation. If you know that your member of Congress is already a sponsor, please thank them for their support!

Sample Scripts

Here are two suggested scripts, but feel free to improvise!

If you are calling a Representative’s office, you can say: “Hello. My name is ________ and I’m a resident of _________ (city), __________ (state). I’m calling to ask Representative _________ (name of Representative) to co-sponsor the Cogswell-Macy Act – H.R. 4822. I support this bill because it will improve access to important and necessary education and services for children who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or deafblind. I am hoping I can count on Representative _________’s support. Please let me know (his or her) position on this bill.”

If you are calling a Senator’s office, you can say: “Hello. My name is ________ and I’m a resident of _________ (city), __________ (state). I’m calling to ask Senator _________ (name of Senator) to cosponsor the Cogswell-Macy Act, bipartisan legislation which was introduced in the Senate as S. 2681. I support this bill because it will improve access to important and necessary education and services for children who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or deafblind. I am hoping I can count on Senator _________’s support. Please let me know (his or her) position on this bill.”

If you’re leaving a message on an answering machine, provide your phone number or email address so that the office can get back to you.

Don’t be disappointed if you only talk to a receptionist or if you get your legislator’s voicemail; the fact that you are their constituent and are taking the time to bring the Cogswell-Macy Act to their attention is what it’s all about. If you like, you can ask to speak to the staffer in the office who works on special education issues.

Tweet Your Support

Let’s spread our support across the Twitter-verse! Most congress members are now on Twitter and actively monitor feedback sent their way. Plus, by including the hashtag #CogswellMacyAct, you and all the other Cogswell-Macy Act supporters can track the “Twitter storm” of support!

  1. Visit https://twitter.com/cspan/lists/members-of-congress/members to search for your congressional Twitter handles.
  2. From your Twitter account (mobile or web), send a tweet beginning with the Twitter handle (remember to include the “@” sign before the Twitter handle) and including the URL www.CogswellMacyAct.org and the hashtag #CogswellMacyAct
  3. From Twitter, search/follow #CogswellMacyAct to see who else is tweeting their support
  4. Retweet!

Sample Tweets (Feel Free to Write Your Own!)

Insert the Twitter handle for your own Representative and the abbreviation for your own state in place of the example provided here:

(State) #blind & #lowvision students want @MyCongressman to sponsor #CogswellMacyAct. All students deserve truly appropriate education! CogswellMacyAct.org

350K students have hearing impairments, 100K have vision loss, but current law protects <1/3 of those populations. #CogswellMacyAct @MyCongressman

Get creative! Tweet photos of yourself with a sign supporting the Cogswell-Macy Act!

___________________________________________________________

Letter to Parents, Guardians, Grandparents and Caregivers. Copy and paste this onto your letterhead and disseminate or copy and paste into an email and get it out even more quickly. The power of families—who can share their remarkable stories with members of Congress—cannot be overstated!

Dear Parent, Guardian, Grandparent or Caregiver,

Families are THE most important influence in our lives. The direct care and support a child receives is critical for their growth and development. In addition, your opinions and perspective influence local schools, states and even our country , which encourages access and resources for the education of your child.

As a nation we have come a long way in providing education for children who are deaf/hard of hearing, visually impaired/blind or deafblind. There is much to be proud of and there are many success stories. However, many children have unmet educational needs, which we suspect you know. The stories about opportunities lost are harder to share, but deserve attention to improve your child’s future.

Concerned professionals and parents of children with one, or a combination of sensory deficits, report a pattern of unmet needs.  If a child has significant physical or intellectual disability, it is not uncommon for the sensory impairment (hearing or vision loss) to be underreported and subsequently unaddressed. Without an accurate count of students who have difficulty learning because of sensory loss, it is impossible to have a true picture of how many teachers and other specialists are needed in the education system. To collect better data, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) must be greatly strengthened. If we do not act, we are accepting that many students will continue to be underrepresented and underserved.

A coalition of organizations believe that the issues are different across our country, but there needs to be better accountability and planning in every state. The passage of this legislation will require states to review services every two years and develop plans for unmet needs. It is our belief that parents should definitely be engaged and participate, which is why we’re seeking your assistance now.

We hope our coalition of organizations will be a strong voice for your children, but without the help of families, the Alice Cogswell-Anne Sullivan Macy Act may never move forward. This crucial legislation will only pass with parents communicating honest concerns. Tell your stories of success, but please do not hold back when sharing concerns with your Senator or Member of Congress.

Your child deserves an equal playing field based on evidence based, best practices. Their ability to learn and grow into productive adults depends on a system that works.

Thank you for considering advocacy for your child and others. If you have any questions about the specifics of the proposed legislation, please complete the contact form on the website www.cogswellmacyact.org.

___________________________________________________________

Please support the Cogswell-Macy Act YouTube video

Paul Olson, President of the Council of Schools and Services for the Blind, recorded this 2 minute 26 second close-captioned video urging support for Cogswell-Macy. View it, share it, show it at meetings and workshops, and help us spread the word!

For a transcript of this video, click on the YouTube logo in the lower right corner.

Spread the Word on Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube

Post your support on Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+ with a link to www.CogswellMacyAct.org. You can now use the hashtag #CogswellMacyAct on Facebook as well as Twitter to post about the Cogswell-Macy Act and track friends’ Cogswell-Macy Act posts.

Cogswell-Macy Act on Facebook

Also like or follow www.facebook.com/CogswellMacyAct for more posts to share about the Cogswell-Macy Act.

Make a video!

Making a video of Cogswell-Macy Act supporters helps draw attention to the act and provides an exciting way of conveying your message. See this short video created at the Illinois AER conference on youtube.com.

Show Your Organization’s Support for the Cogswell-Macy Act

Set Up Your Own Call-In Day Activities!

What ideas do you have to promote the Cogswell-Macy Act? Send, Tweet, and share photos if you host an information table or engage students, families, and parents in exciting ways.

Resources for Hosting a Call-In Table or Event:

If you are hosting a table, we can offer you some resources to get started. Feel free to be creative and attract attention in your own unique way.

You could print out a map of your congressional districts to help people find out who to call. Through nationalmap.gov, the US Geological Survey offers state maps of congressional districts.

Provide the Cogswell-Macy Act talking points to familiarize callers with the Act. The talking points are available for the House and the Senate, in English and Spanish.

Thank You for Your Support!

Thank you in advance for your support! In making these important calls and tweets and sharing the Cogswell-Macy Act with your friends and colleagues, you are joining families, professionals, and consumers from all across America who are as concerned as you are about the readiness of kids with vision loss for college and career.