Jennifer Wolff A Conversation with Jenn Wolff, Manager, United Spinal’s Advocacy Alliance

The Advocacy Alliance is a grassroots group of wheelchair users who are invested in helping our community and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities by fighting for the equipment and policy we need to live our lives to the fullest.

Why do we need the Advocacy Alliance?
JW: Many of our elected leaders may not have contact with people with disabilities and if they don’t hear about our needs and concerns, they cannot assist in creating change. We need to remember that elected leaders work for us, we are their constituents and we have to make sure they hear our voices all across the country.

How would you assess the current state of things?
JW: Well, we just celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and while many things have changed to increase our access to buildings, transportation, employment and more, the statistics show people with disabilities have a long way to go before we have equal access.

What’s an example?
JW: According to the last US Census, approximately 56.7 million people (18.7 percent) who were not in institutions in 2010 had a disability, when counting those residing in institutions, add 4 million more. The American population is aging, living longer and adding to the disability count. Studies consistently find that disability rates rise with age while unemployment rates continue to decline. Yet acc