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Disability Rights

A Cruel Attack On The Disabled

You might have missed it amid the impeachment coverage, but the Trump administration has recently rolled out plans for draconian cuts to everything from Medicaid to school lunches. Latest on the chopping block? Social Security disability payments. Cuts to the social safety net are often justified for budgetary reasons, but I find that hard to swallow while Amazon is still paying $0 in federal taxes. If the budget is the problem, then the wealthiest corporations should pay their taxes. If the administration won’t see to that, then it’s not about the budget at all — it’s about cruelty. If anything, disability programs aren’t generous enough. I’ve lived my entire adult life with a disability.

On International Day Of Persons With Disabilities, Disabled Activists, Allies Demand Elevators, Not More Subway Cops

The United Nations established the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3, 1992, in a victory for the worldwide struggle of people with disabilities. IDPD has been celebrated around the planet to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disabilities. For the fifth consecutive year, People’s Power Assemblies/NYC marked the IDPD with a Dec. 3 protest inside of Macy’s, which linked struggles for accessibility and against police repression in New York’s mass transit system.

How PG&E’s Power Shutoffs Sparked An East Bay Disability Rights Campaign

Stacey Milbern didn't lose power during the recent blackouts, but if she had, things could have gotten dicey fast. Milbern, whose East Oakland apartment was just outside PG&E's public safety power shutoff zone, has muscular dystrophy and uses a ventilator to breathe. For her and other members of the disability community — many of whom depend on electrical devices like ventilators, CPAP machines and wheelchairs — losing power signifies much more than just an inconvenience: It can be life-threatening.

80 Arrested In Nation’s Capital At Disability Rights Protest

Dozens of disability rights activists — including some in wheelchairs — were arrested near Capitol Hill while pressing for more access to community-based services. U.S. Capitol Police arrested 80 people who were demonstrating Monday morning outside the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The protesters were with the disability rights group ADAPT. They were seeking a meeting with Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to ask that he support adequate funding for Medicaid...

Does “Special Ed” Serve Students? Disability Activists Say No.

As a child born with cerebral palsy in the 1950s, Gail Cartenuto-Cohn had one option when she was old enough to go to school: enroll in an isolated public program specifically for kids with disabilities. There was no interaction with nondisabled kids, and there were just three classrooms: one for kindergarten through second grade, another for grades three through five, and a third for sixth through eighth. Occupational therapy, as well as physical therapy and speech therapy, were provided on-site, and although Cartenuto-Cohn describes the education she received as better than adequate, when it was time for her to enroll in high school, she says she was clueless about what to expect.

Disabled Prisoners Decry Unfair Treatment

It started, as prisoner complaints so often do, with a gripe about not being able to visit the law library. In 2015, a prisoner at Wende Correctional Facility in upstate New York contacted attorneys at Disability Rights New York, an Albany-based nonprofit, to complain that he couldn’t get access to the law library to craft an appeal in his case. The law library at the maximum-security facility in Erie County wasn’t closed nor did it lack books; he simply wasn’t allowed in because he uses a wheelchair for mobility. Like the roughly 350 other disabled and ailing prisoners housed in the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision special medical units, prison officials wouldn’t let him visit the law library...

ADAPT Holds Annual Fun Run For Disability Rights And Independent Living

Washington, DC–Disability rights organization ADAPT held its 13th annual Fun Run in Spirit of Justice Park near the U.S. Capitol on Mother’s Day. Several hundred people took part in the event, which kicked off its Week of Action in Washington. Nearly $3,000 was raised to support ADAPT programs. Fun Run participants, who had solicited sponsors, walked or rolled laps around the paved border of the park. On the way to the starting point for the run, they formed a long procession of wheelchairs from Federal Plaza along Congressional office buildings. “Our homes, not nursing homes!” they chanted, and “Down with nursing homes, up with attendant care!” as they made their way to the park. ADAPT is making the case that allowing the disabled in their homes and communities makes more sense than placing them in nursing homes.

ADAPT Occupies Space To Protest FDA Commissioner

Disability rights activists have for the last two weeks made a tiny, nondescript park at 24th and I Street NW into a temporary base of operations. “ADAPT Freedom Park,” as they’ve christened it, is nothing but a triangular sliver of grass bordered by tulip bulbs. Blankets, sleeping bags and inflated mattresses sprawl on the grass, and aluminum containers full of black beans, barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes and veggie casserole are neatly stacked on two park benches. Cookies, doughnuts, coffee and snacks pile up around them. Banners, painted in black block letters, are what declare the park under occupation and the building across the street under siege. “Stop the Torture!” they say. “Director of FDA: Release the Regulations.” The activists, from various chapter of the disability rights advocacy group ADAPT, have traveled from around the country to be here.

Disability Rights Activists Occupy Park Near FDA Chairman’s Home, Demand End To Electric Shock ‘Torture’

Washington, DC — A group of disability rights activists from around the country are urging the FDA to release new regulations that will permanently end Graduated Electronic Decelerator (GED) at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts, an education facility which specializes in habilitation of severely impaired persons. The activists have begun an indefinite occupation of a small park near FDA chairman Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s home, claiming he is delaying the release of regulations that would end the JRC practice of using GED shock therapy to discipline residents. About fifty people from the disability rights group ADAPTstarted the park’s occupation, which is being live-streamed across the Internet to thousands. They say they will not end their protest until the regulations ending GED are signed and enacted by Dr. Gottlieb.

Disability Activists Crash Congress To Stop Bill Undermining Their Civil Rights

Anita Cameron remembers the Capitol Crawl like it was yesterday. It was the spring of 1990, and Congress was dragging its feet toward a vote on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark piece of legislation protecting the civil rights of people with disabilities. To call attention to the bill and the accessibility challenges that people with disabilities face on a daily basis, Cameron and dozens of other activists left their wheelchairs and walkers at the steps of the Capitol building and crawled their way to the top before filling the rotunda with their chanting voices. Cameron and more than 100 others were arrested that day. The protest had an impact: President George H. W. Bush signed the ADA into law a few months later. However, the ADA has not been a magic bullet and is now under threat.

ADAPT Condemns The Passing Of HR 620 Bill In The House

Today, 59 million Americans with disabilities witnessed the U.S House of Representatives torpedo their civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. HR620 was passed, and civil rights of disabled and older Americans went down in defeat. Over 27 years after passage of the world’s first comprehensive civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability the business-backed House of “the people” chose “profits over people.” The House decided that the burden of getting justice for discrimination against people with disabilities lies with the victim. Where is the justice in that? Even though more than 500 disability organizations sent letters to Congress opposing the bill, the Representatives who voted for the bill decided that the people with disabilities are second class citizens whose rights do not matter.

Trump Administration Rescinds Special Ed Guidance

By Michelle Diament for Disability Scoop - The Education Department said Friday that it has rescinded 72 guidance documents — 63 from the Office of Special Education Programs and nine from the Rehabilitation Services Administration — some of which have been on record for decades. The move comes as the agency works to follow through on an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in February requiring the federal government to “to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens.” Over the summer, the Education Department sought public comment on “regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement or modification.” Now, officials with the agency’s Office of Special Education Programs said they are working in phases to comply with the order. “The first phase involved reviewing guidance that OSERS has published on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab. Act), as amended,” said Kimberly M. Richey, acting assistant secretary of special education and rehabilitative services, in a statement announcing the decision to withdraw numerous guidance documents. “Initially, we evaluated the guidance to determine those that were outdated, unnecessary or ineffective.” Guidance documents flagged by the review touch on special education funding, least restrictive environment, private placements, employment and more. Some were issued as recently as 2014 while others have been around since the 1980s.

Secretary Tom Price Protested At His Home

By ADAPT. Over 200 activists from the disability rights group ADAPT are gathered at the Health and Human Services’ Secretary Tom Price’s Home. The activists are calling on Mr. Price to ensure the integration and equality of disabled Americans. ADAPT protest outside of HHS Secty Tom Price's home September 27, 2017 ADAPT protest outside of HHS Secty Tom Price's home September 27, 2017 We attempted to present our demands yesterday at the Health and Human Services headquarters, but were instead met with undersecretary John A. Bardis, who was less then helpful, given that he didn’t seem to fully understand the issues we are dealing with, including block granting Medicaid. “People with disabilities at the Judge Rottenberg Center are undergoing torture that we wouldn’t inflict on animals. People are being incarcerated in institutional settings with less due process than we provide people who are accused of crimes. When funding is available people may be forced into institutional settings by a lack of attendant care, caused in part by low wages.” said Bruce Darling, ADAPT organizer.

Disability Rights Activists’ Week Of Nonviolent Protest

ADAPT activists from across the nation gathered in Washington, DC and began our week of non violent, civil disobedience. We demanded President Obama act NOW to support the Community Integration Act. We were 150 strong and 53 ADAPT warriors were arrested. Justin Dart used to call us all patriots. For me, it is like coming home to be back on the line with my ADAPT sisters and brothers. A new disability kept me home for a couple years. That and the fact that I’ve reached wise crone age sent me down memory lane today. It was great interviewing old timers and youth about what the Community Integration Act means to them. Elaine Kolb is a wheelchair riding cultural worker and artist who joined the disability rights movement way earlier than half the ADAPTERS were born.
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