Advocacy Network




The New York Statewide Systems Advocacy Network (SSAN) is a project that was originally prioritized in the New York Statewide Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) for 2002-2004. The SPIL plans are created every three years by the New York State Independent Living Council to enable the state to accomplish independent living objectives. Each SPIL plan is submitted to the federal Administration on Community Living (ACL) for approval.


The Statewide Systems Advocacy Network (SSAN) is made up of hundreds of individuals across New York State working together to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. The SSAN employs a variety of strategies and methods designed to achieve a barrier free, fully inclusive society for everyone, especially individuals with disabilities.

The SSAN consists of a group of volunteers who stand “at the ready” whenever their help is needed. Usually assistance is requested to support or oppose a piece of legislation or a local issue that will impact the lives of individuals with disabilities. When this happens, the network is asked to respond in one or more of a variety of ways such as:


  • Contact legislators by phone, fax and/or email
  • Write a letter to the editor in support of or opposition to a legislative issue
  • Provide oral and/or written testimony on a given topic
  • Participate in voter registration drives, voter pledge drives and/or get out the vote campaigns

Click Advocacy Alerts to receive weekly Action Alerts.
You can also follow our Action Alerts on Twitter.


About our Systems Advocate


Before joining RCAL, Alex worked as the co-founder of Abilities Connect, an accessibility consultancy. He has also worked for the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the National Council on Aging (NCOA), and the National Association of Law Students with Disabilities (NALSWD).

During his time at AAPD, Alex met with U.S. Senators and staff to advocate for the appointment of judges with disabilities to better represent the diversity of U.S. citizens. Alex is a volunteer tax preparer for the AARP Tax-Aide program, a peer mentor with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, and on committees for the Newburgh Illuminated Festival. He is a member of the Hudson Valley Chapter of the United Spinal Association, the National Federation of the Blind at Large Chapter, the National Eagle Scout Association, and the National Association of Attorneys with Disabilities.

For more information regarding the Advocacy Network, please contact Alex Thompson at 845-331-0541, x 37.

Read the article “From Injury to Employment” written by Keith Gurgui, former Systems Advocate.