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Five Great Ways to Support the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act and Improve Education for Students Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired

Read the complete text of the The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act.

Five Great Ways to Help!

  1. Call on Your Members of Congress to Support the Cogswell-Macy Act
  2. Tweet Your Support for #CogswellMacyAct
  3. Spread the Word About the Cogswell-Macy Act on Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube
  4. Show Your Organization's Support for the Cogswell-Macy Act
  5. Share Your Own Cogswell-Macy Act Advocacy Activities!

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1. Call Your Senators and Representatives

How to Make the Call in Four Simple Steps

1. Be sure you know who your 2 senators and one representative are by following the links below:

2. Call the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your Senator or Representative

3. Identify yourself and let them know that you are a constituent.

4. Ask your member of Congress, or their staff, to support the Cogswell-Macy Act, and ask for their position on this legislation. If you know that your member of Congress is already a sponsor, please thank them for their support!

Sample Scripts

Here are two suggested scripts, but feel free to improvise!

If you are calling a Representative’s office, you can say: “Hello. My name is ________ and I’m a resident of _________ (city), __________ (state). I’m calling to ask Representative _________ (name of Representative) to co-sponsor the Cogswell-Macy Act, bipartisan legislation which was introduced as H.R. 1120. I support this bill because it will improve access to important and necessary education and services for children who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or deafblind. I am hoping I can count on Representative _________’s support. Please let me know (his or her) position on this bill.”

If you are calling a Senator’s office, you can say: “Hello. My name is ________ and I’m a resident of _________ (city), __________ (state). I’m calling to ask Senator _________ (name of Senator) to cosponsor the Cogswell-Macy Act, bipartisan legislation which was introduced in the Senate as S. 2087. I support this bill because it will improve access to important and necessary education and services for children who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or deafblind. I am hoping I can count on Senator _________’s support. Please let me know (his or her) position on this bill.”

If you’re leaving a message on an answering machine, provide your phone number or email address so that the office can get back to you.

Don't be disappointed if you only talk to a receptionist or if you get your legislator's voicemail; the fact that you are their constituent and are taking the time to bring the Cogswell-Macy Act to their attention is what it's all about. If you like, you can ask to speak to the staffer in the office who works on special education issues. Once you've made your calls, we'd love to hear how it went, so please drop us a note at mrichert@afb.net. Thank you for your advocacy for children who are blind or visually impaired!

More Details

If you’re asked for more information (or if you want to provide more details), you can mention that the Cogswell-Macy Act will:

  • ensure specialized instruction specifically for students who are visually impaired, deafblind, or deaf or hard of hearing.
  • increase the availability of services and resources by ensuring all students who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deafblind are accounted for.
  • enhance accountability at the state and federal levels.
  • increase research into best practices for teaching and evaluating students with visual impairments by establishing the Anne Sullivan Macy Center on Visual Disability and Educational Excellence—a collaborative consortium of nonprofits, higher education institutions, and other agencies to provide technical support, research assistance, and professional development.

You can also point them to: www.afb.org/CogswellMacyAct for the full text of the legislation.

2. Tweet Your Support

Twitter logo

Let's spread our support across the Twitter-verse! Most congress members are now on Twitter and actively monitor feedback sent their way. Plus, by including the hashtag #CogswellMacyAct, you and all the other Cogswell-Macy Act supporters can track the "Twitter storm" of support!

  1. Visit https://twitter.com/cspan/lists/members-of-congress/members to search for your congressional Twitter handles.
  2. From your Twitter account (mobile or web), send a tweet beginning with the Twitter handle (remember to include the "@" sign before the Twitter handle) and including the URL www.afb.org/CogswellMacyAct and the hashtag #CogswellMacyAct
  3. From Twitter, search/follow #CogswellMacyAct to see who else is tweeting their support
  4. Retweet!

Sample Tweets (Feel Free to Write Your Own!)

Insert the Twitter handle for your own Representative and the abbreviation for your own state in place of the example provided here:

(State) #blind & #lowvision students want @MyCongressman to sponsor #CogswellMacyAct. All students deserve truly appropriate education! afb.org/CogswellMacyAct

350K students have hearing impairments, 100K have vision loss, but current law protects <1/3 of those populations. #CogswellMacyAct @MyCongressman

Get creative! Tweet photos of yourself with a sign supporting the Cogswell-Macy Act!

Rebecca and Mark holding a sign that reads: Happy Birthday, Helen! We support the #MacyAct!

3. Spread the Word on Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube

Post your support on Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+ with a link to www.afb.org/CogswellMacyAct. You can now use the hashtag #CogswellMacyAct on Facebook as well as Twitter to post about the Cogswell-Macy Act and track friends' Cogswell-Macy Act posts.

Please feel free to include one of the following photos with your post:

Helen Keller sitting on a stone wall with a braille book on her lap while Anne Sullivan Macy leans against the wall, 1904. Overlaid text on the photograph reads: Anne Sullivan Macy was Helen Keller's teacher and champion. Let's make sure that every child with vision or hearing loss has a champion in her corner. Support the Cogswell-Macy Act. Visit afb.org/CogswellMacyAct to learn more.


a teacher holds a musical triangle in front of a young, visually impaired boy, showing him how to play it. The text below reads: Let's make sure that all children with visual impairments have a champion in their corner. Support the Cogswell-Macy Act. Visit afb.org/CogswellMacyAct to learn more.

Cogswell-Macy Act on Facebook

Also like or follow www.facebook.com/cogswellmacyact for more posts to share about the Cogswell-Macy Act.

Make a video!

Making a video of Cogswell-Macy Act supporters helps draw attention to the act and provides an exciting way of conveying your message. See this short video created at the Illinois AER conference on youtube.com.

Transcript

We are Illinois AER, and we support the Cogswell-Macy Act!


Illinois AER Hosts Call-In Table

At the Illinois AER conference, several members set up a table exhibit to promote Cogswell-Macy Act advocacy!

Two members of 

the Illinois AER standing side by side behind 

a table

4. Show Your Organization's Support for the Cogswell-Macy Act

Set Up Your Own Call-In Day Activities!

What ideas do you have to promote the Cogswell-Macy Act? Send, Tweet, and share photos if you host an information table or engage students, families, and parents in exciting ways.

Resources for Hosting a Call-In Table or Event:

If you are hosting a table, we can offer you some resources to get started. Feel free to be creative and attract attention in your own unique way.

You could print out a map of your congressional districts to help people find out who to call. Through nationalmap.gov, the US Geological Survey offers state maps of congressional districts.

Provide the Cogswell-Macy Act talking points to familiarize callers with the Act. The talking points are available for the House and the Senate, in English and Spanish.

You could also display a slide show presentation that highlights the bill and why it is important. Click here for an example of a powerpoint that you could use. An accessible text of the powerpoint is also available here.

Create pins, buttons, or stickers that show off your organization's support for the Cogswell-Macy Act. An example sticker might display your organization's logo and say, "I support the Cogswell-Macy Act."


5. Share Your Own Cogswell-Macy Act Advocacy Activities!

What ideas to you have to promote the Cogswell-Macy Act? Send/tweet/share photos if you host an information table or engage students, families, and parents in exciting ways.

Another resource to explore is the www.cogswellmacyact.org website, an external site set up to share the perspectives of many organizations supporting and advocating for the bill.

Thank You for Your Support!

Thank you in advance for your support! In making these important calls and tweets and sharing the Cogswell-Macy Act with your friends and colleagues, you are joining families, professionals, and consumers from all across America who are as concerned as you are about the readiness of kids with vision loss for college and career.

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