Messenger e-Newsletter

December 18, 2022

A new year is on the horizon, and at CTD, we’re reflecting on the past 12 months. As in all years, there were some ups and downs, some victories and some defeats.

The wins and progress we’ve been a part of this year are all the more meaningful in light of the ever-increasing headwinds in our state and in our world. Texans in power have always been resistant to fully invest in their constituents with disabilities, and we really felt that this legislative session. However, we were buoyed by our own conviction of the necessity of this work and the strength and brilliance of our partners and members.

Read our 2023 annual summary (8 minute read) on our website, or check out the highlights below for an even shorter read (3 minutes).

Major Advocacy Work

In a legislative session where golden opportunities were passed by and culture wars dominated conversations, we take pride in what we achieved and know that we have laid important ground work for more positive outcomes in 2025.

Community Services and Supports

The Legislature raised the base hourly wage of community attendants from $8.11 to $10.60. After starting the session with a lot of optimism, we are disappointed by this woefully inadequate increase.

At the same time, we are encouraged. The budget conference committee chose the Senate's methodology of raising the wage, which means more money to attendants in the next couple years, and it put us in a stronger position to push for a competitive wage next session.

Also, even though a $2.49 per hour raise is not nearly enough, it's the biggest increase the Legislature has ever given attendants, by far.

Student Safety

In recent years, CTD and our partners have noted an alarming uptick in reports of students with disabilities being violently, and even lethally, disciplined in Texas public schools. With the No Kids in Cuffs coalition, CTD was instrumental in the passage of SB 133 (West), which bans certain types of physical restraint, tasers, handcuffs, and the use of chemical irritants on students in 5th grade and below.

Criminal Justice

We worked with a determined group of criminal justice advocates and self-advocates to pass SB 1146 (West), a bill that will end the dehumanizing—and completely inaccessible—conditions of medical transport for women in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), known as medical chain. Already, this month, we have received reports from incarcerated women that conditions are improving!

In the Community

While legislative advocacy and work with state agencies are at the forefront of our efforts to build a barrier-free Texas, that’s not all we do. For example:

  • We held 19 Raise Your Voice! Advocate Connection Program Zoom calls this year, with over 500 advocates and self-advocates from across the state, for deep dives into our advocacy work and gathering feedback about participants’ priorities and concerns.
  • We launched the Advocacy Corps (A-Corps) program, which provides intensive, hand-on training to self-advocates who have lived
    experience with disabilities. In our first year, 12 A-Corps interns joined the program from around the state.
  • Our staff or work appeared in the media 50 times in 2023. We were pleased to see the press covering critical issues like attendant wages, student safety, and voting, among many other topics relevant to Texans with disabilities.
  • We celebrated 20 years of our annual Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival with music, 13 winning and selected short films from our international Short Film Competition, a handful of shorts spotlighting local people with disabilities, guests from near and far, and more!
  • Our monthly Lion & Pirate inclusive open mic remained mostly virtual, with one in-person event in October. We continued our support of the Thunder & Lightning Poetry Collective, which is led by and serves disabled BIPOC and disabled queer poets.
  • In our CDS Division, we installed new user-friendly technologies that have solved major issues with Electronic Visit Verification (EVV). In fact, we’re open to new CDS consumers now! Call (512) 236-1070 or email for information.

Support CTD in 2024!

As 2023 winds down, please consider us in your year-end giving plans. Member support helps sustain our advocacy work, community organizing, arts programming, like our Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival, and more!

WOW what a fest. Such a kind, strong, supportive, creative community in Austin. Met many creative locals, stayed well informed, and was supported by the CTD staff. The event does a wonderful job of helping out-of-town filmmakers feel right at home.

Cory Reeder, Director, Smash or Pass, 2023 CTD Film Fest 3rd place non-documentary winner

Thank you to our 2023 Raise Your Voice sponsors!

Superior HealthPlan
Gilead Sciences

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