The GSBA Blog

Member Spotlight: Disability Rights Washington

by Stacie Siebrecht, DRW Director of Strategic Partnerships
| May 06, 2019

Disability Rights Washington (DRW), is a private non-profit headquartered in Seattle and the designated Protection & Advocacy Agency (P&A) which serves the more than 940,000 people with disabilities in Washington State. DRW is the only organization that solely advocates for people with all disabilities, including physical, sensory, intellectual, developmental, learning, psychiatric disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and chronic illness.

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The organization first began in 1972 when founders Katie Dolan and Janet Taggert launched Troubleshooters for the Handicapped – the first name of the organization. Before this, the two had previously founded the Northwest Center, which operated as a school for children with disabilities whose needs were not being met by the public school system.

Today, DRW works directly with Washingtonians living with disabilities by offering training to help people advocate for themselves and understand individual rights, investigating abuse, neglect and rights violations, ensuring self-determination in personal and financial decisions, educating the public about disability issues, and much more.

DRW recognizes diversity, equality, and inclusion in its many intersectional forms within the lives of people who identify with disability, as well as marginalized groups who’ve often been under-represented in the disability rights movement. As a part of their efforts to partner with organizations who share these values, DRW is building a new vendor list. GSBA community members can help build this list by completing this survey.

DRW works towards a society where all people are treated with equality, dignity, and respect for their expressed choices, and who have equal opportunities to participate in a society where abilities, rather than disabilities, are recognized. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 19% of Americans have a disability, yet the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is twice as high as those without disabilities. For DRW, “equality is good business,” means a creating a work environment where all people of diverse backgrounds are valued for their lived experience, which benefits employee communities and offers the business insight to better serve all potential clients and consumers.

Join DRW for its Rooted In Rights Film Festival at Town Hall on Tuesday, May 7 at 7:30 PM