United, We Act
FL SAND is an independent 501(c)(3) organization formed to expand the self-advocacy movement in Florida. It works through the support of local grassroots efforts, legislative platforms, networking with local business and civic communities, raising awareness, and promoting inclusion for all. FL SAND provides a united voice on statewide issues and topics that are important to self-advocates and all persons with developmental disabilities throughout the state.
Nothing about us without us . . .
FL SAND History
Florida's first self-advocacy group formed in south Florida through the efforts of people with disabilities assisted by the Arc of Dade County. People First of Dade County formed officially in 1979, campaigning with the slogan, "We want to be treated like normal people, human beings. We do not want handouts. We want to live like everybody else."
People First of Dade County is still going strong, having expanded to three chapters in south Dade, north Dade, and Broward counties, operating today as People First of South Florida. People First of Dade County would become the first of the 15 grassroots self-advocacy groups that now comprise a statewide network known as Florida Self-Advocates Network'D (FL SAND).
FL SAND is governed by a board of directors and has been awarded grants from Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), a national self-advocacy organization, and Disability Rights Florida, a federally-mandated agency for the protection of the rights of Floridians with disabilities, to develop grassroots training and voter education.
FL SAND and its grassroots groups operate independently of provider organizations. Most groups have their own executive officers and an advisor. In addition to supporting legislative priorities and state projects advanced by their board, local groups work on advocacy projects in their communities.