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Search Self-Advocates and jjslist.com Unite!

Nothing says "spring has arrived" like a field trip! On Thursday, March 20th, six long-time members of the Self-Advocates for Search set out on a two-fold journey. First, to the new JJ's List digs in Evanston and second, to a whole new level of self-advocacy.

United in their vision, the group crossed the bridge from On-Land to On-Line in a silver Sprinter van. By harnessing the power of social media through jjslist.com, the Advocates hope to further inspire awakenings in their neighbors and in their community about the needs and wishes of a quiet-yet-powerful demographic: the disabled.

JJ Hanley led the group in a high energy discussion about the potential of advocacy through social media (Yelp, anyone?), and took the group on a virtual tour of jjslist.com. Reviews were read aloud. A brainstorming session produced at least a dozen categories of businesses that would be great candidates for reviews: Hotels! Restaurants! Wrigley Field! (We're coming after you, Cubbies. Only one slow elevator for a field that seats 41,160?? Maybe not for long!) Finally, a group identity was established: "Self Advocacy Group". Watch for us!

Then: Pizza.

On the ride back to Kensington, the most interesting thing happened as we discussed the afternoon: it turns out everyone had the same "favorite moment." It was a review about a local sandwich shop, where an employee carried the person's tray to their table for them, as it was clear that the customer had some ambulatory issues. This resonated deeply with our crew.

They loved that the disability did not create a distance between the two, as it sometimes does. They loved that, in this instance, the disability was embraced with kindness, and a mutual respect was shown: the employee with her actions, and the customer with their glowing review - a public "thank you."

Watch out world. Change is coming.

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