Nebraska Advocacy Services (NAS) announced on Thursday it has changed its name to Disability Rights Nebraska.
"Our Board gave serious consideration to the name change. For over 30 years we have developed our reputation as a strong advocate working alongside people who have disabilities. But we determined that a name change was needed for clarity and to make ourselves more accessible to the general public." Tim Shaw, NAS chief executive officer.
In Nebraska, there are more than 250,000 men, women and children who have one or more disabilities.
Last year the disability rights advocacy organization responded to more than 1300 requests for assistance and provided direct legal assistance to 577 individuals. More than 2600 individuals or their families received education or training about their rights, enabling them to be more effective self-advocates.
"Despite our work protecting the rights of people with disabilities since 1978 there has always been confusion in the eyes of the public about what we do. Were we a state agency? What did we advocate for? Is this the right place to call for help?" said Shaw.
"The new name, 'Disability Rights Nebraska', is a clear statement about our focus - disability rights. Hopefully, the first impression is that we are not a state agency and if you have a question or concern about disability rights, we are the people to come to," said Shaw.
The organization also has a new logo designed by Lonnie Walker of Primographics in Prospect, KY. Walker said, "The logo design focuses on legal documents and information. It is symbolic of stacked papers contained within a circle. The circle represents a magnifying glass, microscope, or visual focus on legal rights in Nebraska."
The non-profit agency has offices in Lincoln and Scottsbluff. It serves individuals and families statewide and is governed by a twelve member Board of Directors.
Disability Rights Nebraska is embarking on the first year of a new five year strategic plan. The focus of the plan is on protecting human and legal rights; building stronger communities; and, working with people to achieve the goal of full participation in decisions and policies affecting their lives.
The plan continues the legal advocacy, public policy work, and community building efforts of the disability rights organization.
"We may have a new name but our commitment and vision remains the same. Disability Rights Nebraska envisions a future where all people are valued in their community, have control over their own lives, and the necessary resources to live a life of quality," said Shaw.