Personal Story

Feature Issue on Self-Advocacy for People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities

What Self-Advocacy Means to Me


Heidi Myhre is a veteran Disability Rights Activist and Self-Advocate who lives in West St. Paul, Dakota County, Minnesota. She may be reached at

Illustration of Heidi Myhre, self-advocate, wearing a baseball-style cap with advocacy pins, glasses, and a red shirt.

In the 1990s, I made business cards with this saying: Self-Advocate: One who stands up for themselves to get what they need. One who supports others in something. I told people, “We are all born to be self-advocates and advocates for others. It is for a lifetime and it never goes away.” It has been a lifetime for me, and I do have a voice and want to make changes in the world, with others. I was at a rally in February (2020) and was asked to lead the advocates from the state transportation building to the inside of the Minnesota State Capitol with a police escort. We were carrying some advocacy signs. At one point we stopped and I looked back. I saw the past and the future with young and older advocates and thought about how far we have come. It brought me all kinds of feelings. Then the COVID-19 sickness spread around the world, and made us look at our lives all over again and see the things we still need to work on. We can still talk and protest and have our voices heard.