People On the Go Maryland (People On the Go) has been a grassroots organization since 1989, advocating with boots on the ground to affect change for the developmentally and intellectually challenged community. With that same grassroots spirit, the influence of this organization has grown over the years, and has been evident with some key accomplishments.
2009—Closing of the Rosewood Center
The Rosewood Center was an institution in Owings Mills, Maryland were people with disabilities lived. Many residents were abused and the building was falling apart. With the advocacy of People On the Go Maryland, Governor O’Malley closed the Rosewood Institution in 2009.
2012—People On the Go Maryland becomes autonomous
People On the Go Maryland was previously housed under The Arc Maryland, but became independent in 2012. People On the Go was growing in the work it was doing, and this move allowed the group to become more autonomous.
2015—Ethan Saylor Alliance
Ethan Saylor was a young adult who went to the movies and decided he wanted to see a movie a second time, but he did not realize he needed to buy another ticket. The police were eventually called and placed Ethan on the floor. He was held down in the prone position too long, resulting in the collapse of his wind pipe and his eventual death. His mother and other advocates formed the Ethan Saylor Alliance in 2015 to give trainings to police officers on how they can better work with people with disabilities. People On the Go has been instrumental in providing these trainings to the police and other community groups. Many local community groups continue these efforts today.
2016—Ken Capone Equal Employment Act
The Ken Capone Equal Employment Act (EEA) abolished the payment of subminimum wage to individuals with disabilities working in the state of Maryland. Passed in 2016, the EEA eliminated practice of subminimum wage payment, originally legal through Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
Ongoing—Disabilities Day at the Legislature
Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature is an annual event where self-advocates and those who work to further the rights of those in the disability community of Maryland go to the state capital to have meaningful conversations with legislatures from across the state. The event is sponsored by The Arc Maryland, Disability Rights Maryland, Maryland Association of Community Services (MACS), Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, and People On the Go Maryland.
As People On the Go has grown over the years, our influence has grown too. As a result, we have been invited to speak at conferences and meetings across the U.S. to help others learn about self-advocacy and to share what we, as an organization, do to continue our mission of advocating for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
Some events that we have been honored to participate in:
The SABE (Self Advocates becoming Empowered) Conference
APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment First) National Conference
AUCD (Association of University Centers on Disabilities) National Conference
NACDD (The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities) National Conference
Project ACTION, a Washington, D.C. self-advocacy group
The Community Summit of People with Disabilities of Wenatchee, Washington