Dear MCD Council Members and Ex Officio Members,
This year has been full of “pulling weeds and planting seeds.” We are finding things that are not working and trying to improve them. We are developing new ways of doing things that will strengthen our agency, even as we continue to grow.
As Council members, we ask you to set the big picture and strategic direction for our agency.
- What do we want to do for the people we serve?
- How can we hold ourselves accountable to the communities we serve?
- How can we build relationships with these same communities?
- How do we show them we are listening and making a difference in their lives?
As we come to the end of 2021, I look back at our year with pride in the work we have done. Here are some of the accomplishments we have made in 2021. I hope Council Members can take these achievements and use them to develop the strategic direction for 2022!
What We Do for the People We Serve
- Kody Olson worked with state emergency leaders to provide vaccines to people with disabilities and to ensure testing was made accessible and equitable for all.
- We hosted a Commissioner Roundtable to discuss the rollout of vaccines. Within days, the state listed disability as an initial category.
- We sent an open letter to the 2021 State Fair detailing our public health concerns about such a large gathering. The community, social media, and press amplified our message.
- Several of our legislative priorities passed in the 2021 session.
Holding Ourselves Accountable to the Community
- The Council approved three of four governing policy documents, replacing the current Council bylaws.
- We improved transparency by making Council meeting minutes more readily available.
Building Relationships with the Community
- We collaborated with the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities to make the 2021 Legislative Forum a success. We expect even more engagement in 2022.
- With the Minnesota Disability Action Partnership (MnDAP), we participated in several community events. The most popular event was Coping with COVID, a discussion of how to deal with trauma caused by the pandemic.
- MCD partnered with nonprofit organizations to improve education outcomes for students of parents with disabilities.
Making a Difference in People’s Lives
- The 2021 ADA Celebration was a great success. While the Americans with Disabilities Act serves as a milestone in the disability rights movement, there is more to be done to guarantee the rights of people with disabilities.
- As Minnesota continues to take in refugees from Afghanistan and the surrounding region, we work to ensure people with disabilities have the services and supports they need when they arrive.
- We have greatly improved our agency communications under a new Communications Officer. We see growing public engagement with our social media.
I am grateful for the Council strengthening our strategic planning and for the challenging and rewarding work staff do every day.
I am excited to enter a new phase of great possibility at the Minnesota Council on Disability!
Serving at your pleasure,
E. David Dively