It is difficult to advocate for yourself when the people you are speaking to have a hard time understanding what you are saying. However, that has never deterred Adonis Reddick from patiently educating others about the messages of equality. Adonis is the epitome of a self-advocate. He founded his own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Association of Spanish Lake Advocates), partners with agencies around St. Louis to change unjust laws, sits on various committees within the St. Louis Arc, and speaks to volunteer groups—even inviting them into his home.
Adonis became a partner of the St. Louis Arc in 2012 when the agency began its accreditation process with The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL). He worked with St. Louis Arc staff through a three day accreditation process. This included lengthy planning sessions, which prompted his commitment to detailing a plan to increase peer supports. After the accreditation process, Adonis joined the St. Louis Arc’s Social Justice Committee and more recently the Human Rights Committee. This group meets monthly to review restrictions that have been imposed on people with I/DD due to health or safety concerns. As a member of this committee, Adonis has challenged the committee to minimize the restrictions in place and offers creative solutions as alternatives. In addition to his committee work, Adonis has addressed over 50 corporate volunteers this past year on behalf of St. Louis Arc, sharing his story and advocating for people of all abilities.
Outside of the St. Louis Arc, Adonis is leading the charge in his community to make real change. He has become a consultant for Writing for the Soul Workshop, a program that aims to eliminate illiteracy among youth and promote self-reliance. In this role Adonis encourages young people to use writing as an outlet to share their stories. He leads by example and writes what life was like for him growing up with a disability.