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2277 Highway 36 West, Suite 200 Roseville, MN 55113-3830
Phone: 612-378-2742
Toll Free: 1-800-669-6442
Fax: 612-378-2789
E-Mail:info@braininjurymn.org
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Public Policy Advocacy

Public Policy Advocacy

The vision of the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance is that of an active grassroots community of people who are engaged in the political process and are participating in working toward solutions to the complex problems associated with brain injury. The Public Policy Department conducts direct lobbying activities at the Capitol as well as grassroots activity that builds the capacity of people to take action in support of public policy change to help meet the need of all Minnesotans affected by brain injury.

We work to:

  • Monitor legislative activity on issues that may impact persons with brain injury and their families.
  • Identify and promote public policies that are consistent with the mission and vision of the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance.
  • Advocate directly on behalf of prioritized policies.
  • Organize grassroots advocacy campaigns on behalf of these policies.
  • Increase the capacity of individuals and organizations to impact public policy.

Our most important grassroots strategy is our Citizen Advocate Program.

Why is Citizen Advocacy important?
When a brain injury happens, an individual and his or her loved ones are rightfully most concerned about finding treatment and services in order to meet their immediate needs. Later, when the immediate crisis has subsided, attention is given to developing an appropriate long-term strategy. People must rely on services that give an individual the opportunity and ability to live as fully as possible in the community.

What we don't often recognize is that these existing services are the result of the efforts of people who, because of their own experiences, fought for adequate choices for all persons with brain injury. They advocated for themselves and for their loved ones to create and maintain the critical services that help people with brain injury live fulfilling lives. Despite these past efforts, many people find that services for people with brain injury – and funding for those services – is inadequate. Citizen Advocates have the opportunity to do something about that.

What is a Citizen Advocate?
Citizen Advocates are people who have committed themselves to getting involved in the policy-making process in order to make a difference in the lives of others affected by brain injury. By learning about the political process and developing their own advocacy skills, citizen advocates join with others to make improvements in public policies that relate to brain injury.

Whether it is through promoting increased funding for brain injury services, creating more transportation options, developing affordable housing, improving special education, securing employment services or preventing future brain injury, each Citizen Advocate becomes stronger by developing their skills and working with others to create long lasting positive change.

What does a Citizen Advocate do?
Citizen Advocates have a large number of options for deciding what they want to get involved in and how much they want to do. Some of the most important and frequent activities include:

  • Participating in training opportunities to develop effective advocacy skills;
  • Telling your story to legislators in person and/or in writing;
  • Coordinating or attending legislative forums in your community;
  • Writing, calling or e-mailing your legislator asking them to take action on particular priority issues;
  • Meeting with your own senators or representatives;
  • Attending events at the State Capitol;
  • Testifying at a hearing at the Capitol.

The Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance will provide you with all the information, tools and resources you need so that you will feel confident in your advocacy activity.

You don't have to take a special class, or devote hours upon hours to one issue. You simply must be willing to tell your personal story and explain to others why adequate support for persons with brain injury is important.

How can you become a Citizen Advocate?
Visit the Advocacy Action Center on our Web site. Then we'll keep you posted on upcoming activities, current issues and provide opportunities for you to get involved.

While you are there take some time to explore the Advocacy Action Center. You can find out who represents you, get more information on the legislative process and get updates on our priority issues. The most important thing is that you become willing to get involved and help make a difference for the more than 100,000 Minnesotans living with a disability as the result of brain injury.

For more information on public policy or citizen advocacy, please call the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance at 612-378-2742, 800-669-6442 or e-mail info@braininjurymn.org.

Funding for public policy advocacy is through private dedicated funding.

Continue to the next section, "General Questions to Ask Service Providers."