Opportunity Zone Wins Arc of NJ’s Self-Advocacy Contest

Five people holding signs that say "Stand Up" and "Speak Up." Four are standing along a wall, in front of them a woman sits in a wheelchair.

In a video that was developed, written, and performed by Opportunity Zone day program participants, The Arc of Essex County won first place with its entry in The Arc of New Jersey’s Developmental Disability Awareness Month video contest.

Following the theme “Welcome to Self-Advocacy,” a group of six performers acted out two scenarios where they advocated for themselves. The first scene was a doctor’s office, where the doctor addressed the residential staff member instead of the patient herself. The second scene was at a restaurant, where the waitress asked the residential staff member what the individual wanted to eat instead of asking her directly. In both cases, the individual had to speak up for herself, and demanded to be heard. In the end, all of the participants stood together for the video’s conclusion, stating that self-advocacy means “standing up and speaking up” for yourself.

The video was shot at Studio Arc and can be viewed on The Arc of New Jersey’s Self-Advocacy Project social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and on The Arc of Essex County’s Vimeo page.

Votes for the video were tallied by the number of likes they collectively received, and as of the end of March, the Opportunity Zone video had collected a total of 105 likes to finish in first place. The group will receive a $50 gift card from The Arc of New Jersey as a prize for winning.

The Arc of Essex County congratulates the winners, as well as the participants from other Arc chapters throughout the state for their hard work, and continues to urge self-advocacy through “standing up and speaking up” for one’s self.