People First of Louisiana is part of a national coalition of organizations of people with disabilities. As a statewide organization they support people with disabilities to empower themselves to become effective decision makers, to gain independence, and to enjoy life as equal citizens of the United States of America. They also empower each other to actively participate in and contribute to their local communities. People First of Louisiana is a statewide board comprised entirely of, and led by, people with disabilities. It is a self advocacy group run by people with disabilities, for people with disabilities.
In 1997 The Louisiana Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities provided funding to promote self advocacy for people with disabilities. "People First" chapters, comprised only of people with disabilities, were started across Louisiana. In 2001, a group of self-advocate leaders came together to begin planning for the formation of a statewide organization.
The steering committee met for 10 months to develop a mission statement, plan elections, and plan the first Louisiana conference of People First. In 2004, the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council recognized the growing strength and value of People First of Louisiana and increased funding to compliment the funding from the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities.
Board members of People First of Louisiana are gaining recognition in their local communities and many with increasing frequency are asked to speak about the organization and the disability rights movement before civic groups, businesses, churches and other community agencies. To learn more, or to join a People First Chapter log on to www.peoplefirstla.org.