My name is Joseph Morman. When I was 49 years old I was diagnosed with a nerve disease and spent the next two and a half years in a nursing facility. I began my self-advocacy journey in April of 2010 when I joined People First of Atlanta.
Thanks to mentoring by a staff member of the Georgia Advocacy Office, I joined People First of Atlanta. People First is an organization that advocates for the rights of people with all types of disabilities. When I joined People First, I told people that my life had been ruined because of my time in the nursing facility and my disability. People First and the people at the Georgia Advocacy Office provided a supportive environment that helped me to regain my confidence. Now I am very active in the community.
In July of 2011 I was elected to be Vice President of People First of Atlanta. As Vice President and Chair of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Committee I spearheaded discussions with the City of Atlanta about being compliant with the ADA and learned the necessity of teamwork in accomplishing a task. I hope to be President of People First of Atlanta one day.
In 2012 I was a phone bank captain for the Obama re-election team. In this position I became more aware of the strategies involved in a Presidential election. I also gained more confidence in persuading people on the phone to come out and vote for Obama, often having the most successful calls on his team. In 2012 I also testified at the House Appropriations Sub-Committee for Health. My testimony was about how, with the help of Money Follows the Person (MFP) and the Independent Care Program (ICWP), I was able to successfully transition from a nursing facility back into the community.
I am very content with my life now and would never allow myself to return to a nursing facility.
Some of my current goals are creating more accessibility with sidewalks and curb cuts in Atlanta and Decatur, increasing membership of People First of Atlanta, and supporting the Georgia Microboards Association. Achieving these goals will showcase my background and skills as a Harvard graduate, promote self-determination, and strengthen my community.