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Invitation & Overview


AUCD Conference 2018 We All Belong Here! Achieving Inclusive Communities November 11-14 Washington DC. Sillhouettes of people of diffrent ages, shapes, and abilities in a gradient of colors. Dear Colleagues,


I am excited to invite you to join me in Washington, DC, on November 11-14 for the 2018 AUCD Conference - We ALL Belong Here! Achieving Inclusive Communities. This year's theme has a strong message of belonging and inclusion. I cannot think of a time in my life when it was more important to remember, celebrate, and remind others that all human beings have value, and a right to be included in their communities. This means opportunity, access, and equity in education, housing, employment, healthcare, faith communities, transportation, activities, and all aspects of community living. I am very much looking forward to bringing people together to share and learn from one another about what they are doing in their communities to embrace belonging and achieve inclusion!


Over this past year, on multiple occasions, it has been necessary to aggressively advocate to preserve services, supports, and access for people with disabilities to be included in their communities. We see news reports, we read policy proposals, we study budgets, and we witness actions that remind us that there are people who do not embrace differences and welcome ALL people into their communities. Even the most foundational civil rights legislation for people with disabilities (the Americans with Disabilities Act) and the fundamental source of funding for long term services and supports (Medicaid) have been threatened. We've used our AUCD network and partnerships to preserve and protect these most fundamental rights and programs. The AUCD conference is an opportunity to come together, celebrate our achievements, and to recharge our commitment to achieving inclusive communities!


We have an exciting program planned for the conference. "Driving Change" sessions will give attendees an opportunity to work together to evolve strategies that will promote people with disabilities belonging in every aspect of their communities. Plenary sessions will share personal experiences and provide strong motivational messages that will call us to action in our own local communities, review the current federal policy context, and engage participants in educating Congress. Concurrent sessions and poster symposia will provide an opportunity to interact with presenters about promising practices in research, practices, and advocacy opportunities that promote inclusive communities. Join us at the AUCD Honors Celebration to recognize the accomplishments of network colleagues and partners and don't miss the post-awards party!


I sincerely thank the AUCD staff, Board of Directors, and network members who are involved in the planning and review of conference materials this year. Their dedication of time and expertise is much appreciated. I look forward to seeing you at the 2018 AUCD Conference as we collectively work to ensure that everyone belongs here!


Warm Regards,

Amy Hewitt
AUCD Board President-Elect and 2018 AUCD Conference Chair
Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota
And the AUCD Conference Planning Team