Right Words

We change lives by changing systems.

For four decades, the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities (GCPD) has worked to empower Hoosiers, both with and without disabilities, to create positive changes in our state. We largely focus on advocacy and leadership training, but we’ve also achieved significant progress in community leadership, grassroots efforts, public policy and civic engagement, as well as fostering large-scale systems change.

Just in the last five years, we’ve awarded $5 Million in grants and contracts, leveraged another $4.25 Million toward the cause, helped create or improve 130 policies and programs and registered more than 11,000 individuals with disabilities to vote.

Basically, if there’s action that can be taken to help build a more supportive and inclusive Indiana, we’re on it.


Just in the last five years:

$5 Million

awarded in grants and contracts

$4.25 Million

leveraged towards the cause

130

policies and programs created or improved

11,000+

individuals with disabilities registered to vote

Jamie Beck Jamie Beck
Jamie Beck – Proud patient advocate at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie.

Our mission:

To advance the independence, productivity and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society.

Our methods:

Education, collaboration, planning, evaluation, research and advocacy.

Our makeup:

Board members of the Council are appointed by the Governor, and at least 60% of our board are people with disabilities or their family members – it’s the law! As the saying goes, “Nothing about us, without us.”

Pride: It matters. A lot.

You know it and we know it: People tend to look at those of us with disabilities as “different.” “Other.” Separate. But this viewpoint kind of collapses when you realize that pretty much everyone, if we’re lucky to live long enough, will sooner or later join the ranks of the “disabled” because of an incident, accident or simply getting older. We’re all in this together.

That’s why more and more of us are standing up to say: “Hey. Maybe don’t look at disability as such a terrible thing!” What if, instead, we saw it as just a normal, everyday aspect of regular human life? What if instead of fearing disability and judging it, we accepted, planned for, accommodated and even embraced it as another essential aspect of diversity?

This is some of the thinking behind the Disability Pride Movement, which has been going strong for about 50 years and counting now, and supports individuals taking ownership and celebrating their true, authentic identities – not unlike the better-known Pride movement in the LGBTQ community.

When we make our voices heard and take pride in who we are, we take a necessary step toward the kind of society we all want to live in – one that recognizes differences and gives everyone a chance to succeed.