David Pinno – a self-advocate from New London – was recently appointed to BPDD. David is a graduate of BPDD’s Partners in Policymaking program and a member of NAMI Fox Valley.
Why were you interested in becoming a member of BPDD?
It is a great opportunity for me to expand my network and gain awareness of what’s going on at the state level regarding programs that affect me. I want to make sure programs I’m on don’t get cut.
I also stand up for what I believe in. I am always doing something to help others and I feel like I am a good advocate for people with disabilities. I’ve met with my legislators and they agree that I’m a good advocate.
It should be an interesting four years – I hope to learn a lot from it.
What in BPDD’s current State Plan are you most excited to work on?
I’m very passionate about integrated employment. Integrated employment means a job out in the community, making a wage, and still retaining benefits if you need them. People with disabilities can handle regular jobs, they just might need some supports to do so.
Self-determination is also very important to me. I proved to legislators that people with disabilities can own a house, pay their fair share of bills, and work. Self-determination lead to me getting my own house.
What did you take away from your Partners in Policymaking experience?
I learned that everybody has a voice and that I’m not alone. Some people can advocate for themselves, some people need help.
We also learned about the history of the disability movement. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go – the system isn’t perfect and it won’t change overnight.
In February, you testified about lifting the caps at the Capitol. What was that like?
It was a different experience for me. It was awkward because it was the first time I had testified. But now that I experienced it, I’m not afraid to do it anymore. I am more confident about testifying.
(Pictured: Joshua Ryf, BPDD Communications Director, and David Pinno at the BPDD office after David testified at the Captiol in February 2012.)