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Please support the passage of SB 853 and HB 1161, the Ethan Saylor Center for Self-Advocates as Educators.

This petition had 8,051 supporters


This critical legislation calls for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (self-advocates) to be trainers and leaders across State government, making Maryland a pioneer in the area of inclusion. The Saylor Center, named for Ethan Saylor, a man with Down syndrome who died in police custody, is the most urgent recommendation of the Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. 

At a time when greater numbers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are living independently in our communities, it is time to ensure that the public sector, including law enforcement, is adequately prepared to interact effectively and appropriately with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Inclusion Commission believes that the establishing relationships between self-advocates and law enforcement, as well as other members of the public sector, are an important part of ensuring that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities feel safe, understood, and included in their communities. 

Starting in 2015, all police academies in Maryland will be required to include training about how to effectively and appropriately interact with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Inclusion Commission recommended the Saylor Center in its Annual Report so that self-advocates are able to participate in all such trainings for law enforcement and at in-service trainings whenever possible.  In addition, the Commission envisions other areas of State government, including education, transportation, courts, residential services and support, and hospitals, will also provide training that includes self-advocates in a meaningful role. The nonprofit sector in the State does not have the capacity to fulfill the need. Therefore, the Saylor Center is a critical lynchpin to the Commission’s vision of a more inclusive Maryland. 

In addition to training self-advocates, the Center would identify and disseminate national, state and local training best practices regarding people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as trainers and educators. The legislation establishes a Governing Board that would oversee the Center and the effectiveness of training programs that include people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

We are asking for your support of this first-in-the nation legislation to make Maryland leader of inclusion for all of its citizens.   



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