874k Coalition Rally
February 29th, the 874K Coalition held its
annual rally at the Kentucky State Capitol.
The event brought advocates for people with
disabilities together to have their voices
heard by their state legislators.
People with disabilities are the country's
largest minority group, constituting more
than 20% of the American population.
In Kentucky, the rate is even higher:
23.7% of all residents in the Commonwealth
over the age of five have a disability.
Before gathering in the Rotunda for the
rally, consumers from Mercer County’s Anne
Nooe House and Clark County’s Pioneer House
met with legislators to share ideas and
concerns regarding funding for behavioral
health services and support. Representative
Kim King was so impressed with the group
from Mercer TRP that she mentioned them in a
radio interview she gave the next morning
and has even requested to visit the program
after the legislative session wraps up.
Other consumers from the Bluegrass Region
had the opportunity to share their ideas
with several Cabinet officials and
legislators who dropped by the 874K
hospitality room to welcome participants.
In the Rotunda, over 250 staff and
consumers from Bluegrass joined with other
advocates from across the state to share the
message to our legislators that “We count!
We vote! We matter!” Dr. Sheila
Schuster, Executive Director of the Kentucky
Mental Health Coalition and one of the
primary organizers of the rally, opened the
event with a positive message from Governor
Steve Beshear’s office – he has proposed
sparing community mental health services
from budget cuts and expanding other
services, including adding substance abuse
treatment through Medicaid.
legislators also addressed the crowd and
encouraged all to continue to make our
opinions and voices heard by sharing
concerns with our respective Senators and
Representatives. One of the program’s
featured speakers was Ms. Deborah Stidham, a
consumer from the Beacon House TRP in
Cynthiana. Ms. Stidham made an
outstanding presentation and we are so very
proud of the job she did!