People First of California Philosophy

People with developmental disabilities are the only people to empower other people with developmental disabilities.

Only the people, who are part of a certain culture, can "empower" people of that culture; to become strong, they have to make the decisions and do the work of their movement, themselves.

It is the same way for the Self-Advocacy movement. Professionals and people without developmental disabilities can not control the People First movement.

This is what self-advocacy is about, people helping their peers to learn to speak up for themselves, learn about their rights and responsibilities, learn how to make decisions and solve problems, and be contributing members of their community. People need heroes who have "walked in their shoes." We know that there are people with developmental disabilities in every town, who have taken those first steps, who can be heroes and leaders for their peers.

If people with developmental disabilities stand together in unity, speak with one voice and push forward, our vision for the future will be—our own!

Professionals or people without developmental disabilities cannot do it for us. Only people with developmental disabilities can truly know what is most important for other self advocates.