On August 20, 2019, Allies in Advocacy named Betty Schwieterman, State Developmental Disabilities Ombuds, their “Ally of the Year.” Betty accepted the award and addressed the audience.
“Thank you for naming me an ally – it means the world to me. I am so grateful to be recognized by such a powerful group of advocates. I feel a strong responsibility to be an ally to you, to the disability community.
I will always work hard to be a trusted ally, to recognize that you are the experts, to always listen, listen, listen and listen some more, to learn, to support, to enthusiastically make room for everyone, and to challenge systems that work against your power.
Unfortunately, the DD Network was created about you – without you. Can you imagine where we would be if 45 years ago the DD Act had also created the fourth partner? I am sorry that it has taken so long to get here where we are today. Thank goodness you have come together and made this happen. I am sorry that there are people who hold positions of power that do not think you belong in power. I applaud you for standing up to the nay-sayers and the detractors.
Now you, Allies in Advocacy, are recognized as a DD Network Partner in Washington State. Way overdue and so exciting. Congratulations.
You know you can count on me to support you and to be an ally, always. Thank you.”