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Goal 5: Increased Civic Engagement

From 2014 to 2019, together we:

Trained community stakeholders on the legislative process and how to influence policymakers.

How did we do this? We:

  • Hired a Director of Civic Engagement.
  • Provided customized training across the state in 2014, 2016, and 2018. In 2014, we hosted 15 successful voter outreach activities. All (100%) participants responded that they were more likely to vote as a result of our workshops. In 2016, we hosted 17 successful voters outreach activities all over Minnesota with 5 Deaf contractors. We reached nearly 400 people. In 2018, we wanted to improve our voters outreach in rural Minnesota. We traveled to 9 rural cities, reaching over 145 people. All training was provided by the Director of Civic Engagement and trained community members. In addition, we attended 6 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division Advisory Board meeting across the state to demonstrate our Voters Outreach training, resources, and online tools.   In 2018, we hosted “Voting Night with Peers” which was filmed live by the St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) and broadcasted on live TV. This event was in collaboration with over twenty community organizations and their representatives.
  • Updated the online training, “Making Your Case.”

Hosted “Lobby Day” and provided the information and supports to advocate for issues important to Minnesotans who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing.

How did we do this? We:

  • Hosted Lobby Day in 2015, 2017 and 2019. In 2015, over 125 members of the deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing community as well as parents, professionals and supporters met with their Legislators on March 4th, 2015. We were not able to use the Capitol due to construction but had a great turnout. In 2017, 178 people signed up for Legislative appointments. We had an estimated 300-400 people at the rally. In 2019, we again hosted 
  • Launched Lobby Tuesday/Thursday in 2019, which is 1:1 and small group coaching on how to meet your legislators and explains the legislative process. Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Day at the Capitol, which included ASL Capitol tours hosted by tour guides/community members for the first time. Almost all people who had appointments met with their legislators, making this year the lowest percentage of no shows ever. 

Educated legislators, communities, and the general public on the issues surrounding legislation that is important to Minnesotans who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing. 

How did we do this? We:

  • Held hundreds of meetings with legislators, developed fact sheets about issues and produced video newsletters about issues. 
  • Passed legislation to create IT standards for the legislature.  
  • Hosted a Legislators, Legislator assistant and staff awareness booth to provide information about communication and access needs. 

Worked with the Secretary of State and the Campaign Finance Board to eliminate barriers to voting, and provided the supports necessary for Minnesotans who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing to vote.

How did we do this? We:

  • Updated the voter education videos. 
  • Participated on the Secretary of State’s Disability Advisory Board.
  • Hosted a meeting with Secretary of State’s Office Voters Outreach team and the community to make access recommendations for their website and outreach materials.
  • Proposed and helped developed a plan with the Secretary of State’s Office to hire a deaf or hard of hearing staff member who is fluent in American Sign Language to work at the Voters phone bank for the upcoming 2020 Election.
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