Important Announcement from American Council of the Blind Policy Advocate Eric Bridges
From: Eric Bridges
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2014 10:50 AM
Subject:Discussion of Disability Rights to be Part of Civil Rights Summit at LBJ Library
Last week the disability community was dismayed to learn that a summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act would not include us. The letter below was crafted to communicate our deep concerns with the LBJ Library that issues pertaining to disability would not
be discussed. Here it is.
April 4, 2014
Director of LBJ Presidential Library
Dear Mr. Updegrove:
The National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA) is a national cross-disability coalition that represents the authentic voice of people with disabilities. NDLA is led by 14 national organizations run by people with disabilities with identifiable grassroots constituencies around thecountry.
In 2015, NDLA, as well as disability organizations and people with disabilities around the country will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA is considered the key civil rights legislation that protects and empowers 52 million people with disabilities living in the United States. Yet, unlike the other groups, people with disabilities have been excluded from meaningful participation in the LBJ Civil Rights Summit, which celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Though the disability community has landmark civil rights protections, people with disabilities still face unnecessary segregation in institutions, discrimination in housing at a rate higher than any other minority group, exclusion from transportation initiatives, and legalized subminimum wage earnings. On a day-to-day basis individuals with disabilities and disability organizations fight against these injustices through public awareness, advocacy, direct action, legislation, and litigation.
In many ways, the disability experience reflects the experience of other marginalized groups (people of color, women, immigrants, the LGBTQ Community) that have won civil rights protections but continue to fight today for the enforcement and implementation of those rights.
When asked by the media about this omission, you wrote, "There is little lingering legislative debate about ADA-it is unquestionably the law of the land. The Summit is tackling the issues that are directly relevant to the bills signed by LBJ or that are still open civil rights issues legislatively."
Your comment fails to recognize ADA litigation across the United States aimed toward enforcing the Olmstead Supreme Court Decision which ruled that the unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities is a form of discrimination. The comment fails to recognize efforts in New York City to make all taxis accessible so that New Yorkers with disabilities will have transportation options equal to taxi users without disabilities. The comment fails to recognize legislative efforts to
eliminate Section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which legalizes subminimum wage for people with disabilities. Perhaps most damaging, the comment delegates the disability community to outsider status. The community is no stranger to outsider status, but it is deplorable to be positioned there by members of the civil rights community.
As with the other civil and human rights included in the LBJ Summit, the disability rights movement was motivated by movement that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We have a saying, "Nothing About Us Without Us." With this in mind, we implore the Summit to include disability rights advocates as speakers at the Civil Rights Summit.
The National Disability Leadership Alliance
The National Disability Leadership Alliance: NDLA is a coalition led by 14 national organizations run by people with disabilities with identifiable grassroots constituencies around the country. The steering committee of NDLA includes ADAPT, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the American Council of the Blind, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the Hearing Loss Association of America, Little People of America, the National Association of the Deaf, the National Coalition of Mental Health Consumer Survivor Organizations, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Federation of the Blind, Not Dead Yet, Self Advocates Becoming Empowered, and the United Spinal Association.
After the letter was sent Mr. Updegrove communicated with NDLA that he was receiving pressure from other minority groups that weren't going to be included. After much hand-ringing, I am pleased to report that Lex Frieden, who played an integral role in the development, passage and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, (ADA) has been invited and accepted to speak on a panel discussion on social justice at 2:05pm central, Thursday April 10th immediately following the keynote speech by President Barack Obama. Lex will join former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin; humanitarian Maria Shriver; athlete and philanthropist David Robinson; and businessman Steve Stoute on the panel. Lex will talk about the linkage of the ADA with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, why disability rights are civil rights and how the discrimination faced by people with disabilities is similar to that faced by people of color, women and LGBT individuals.
Lex will emphasize how important community integration is to the over 50 million people with disabilities living in the US today. Under immense national pressure from disability rights advocates to include disability rights as part of the Civil Rights Summit celebrating the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Mark Updegrove, Director of the LBJ Library and main organizer of the Summit personally reached out to Lex Frieden and invited him to participate on the social justice panel as a civil and disability rights activist.
This panel like the rest of the Summit will be live streamed. Stay tuned for information on how to watch it live.
With the price of a standard Braille printer costing two thousand dollars we can understand the excitement of a young person's invention, BRAIGO...a Lego-made Braille printer. This $350 Lego plotter was modified to a Braille printer by a 7th grade Californian while using hisÂ Lego Mindstorms EV-3 kit ($349) plus an add-on from Home Depot ($5).
Shubham Banerjee, the young inventor, has released his invention as an open-source project so others can contribute to it. How exciting considering the fact modern assistive technology is expensive; cost to manufacture Braille embossers is high and there are small production volumes. Allowing engineers and others to build upon his ideas is wonderful.
So many people in developing countries do not have affordable printing methods for their sight-impaired users. Maybe the future holds an affordable option with this initial Braigo project growing
to a usable solution/piece of equipment in the future. Instead of holes in the paper with 10-15 seconds per letter, the new work will resemble dots similar to Braille printing, and ultimately an entire page of text scanned and converted to a Braille-type page.
What does the future hold? Support education forÂ all people. One never knows where the next idea will come? One never knows where the next solution to any universal concern will be created!
Will we someday see his invention in Tibet at Kiki's Kids? That would be helpful since Braille books cost so much money to purchase! Want to help, check out the "About the Author" page so you can do so.
tibet2014 | April 7, 2014 at 4:04 am | Tags:
#blind, Braigo, #Braille, Kiki's Kids, printers | Categories: BRAIGO Braille
printer, Education, Global Roots, Kiki's Kids | URL: http://wp.me/p4szQq-1j
Justice Department Reaches Landmark Settlement Agreement with Rhode Island Ensuring Employment and Integrated Day Services for People with Disabilities
The Justice Department announced today that it has entered into the nation’s first statewide settlement agreement vindicating the civil rights of individuals with disabilities who are unnecessarily segregated in sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs. The agreement with the State of Rhode Island will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for approximately 3,250 Rhode Islanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This first-of-its-kind statewide agreement addresses the rights of people with disabilities to receive state-funded employment and daytime services in integrated settings, such as supported employment and integrated day services, rather than in segregated sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs with only other people with disabilities. The agreement also provides relief to transition-age youth at risk of segregation in facility-based programs.
Under the agreement, transition-age youth will have access to a wide array of transition, vocational rehabilitation, and supported employment services intended to lead to integrated employment outcomes after they leave secondary school. The parties have jointly filed the settlement in federal district court and have requested that it be entered as a court-enforceable Consent Decree.
For more general information about the Justice Department’s ADA Olmstead enforcement efforts, visit the Civil Rights Division’s Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone website.
To find out more about the ADA, visit Division’s ADA.gov website or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).
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RantWoman received the item below this rant in her inbox this morning. The MoveOn petition refers to discussion of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray summarily doing away with something called the Director's rule. The Director's rule is set by the Seattle Department of Transportation and has to do with "things that go in the public right of way" such as telecomm cabinets.
The short version of RantWoman's view: Mayor Murry should not just try to impose his view with his fiat pen, but the problem does need expedited legislative action to involve stakeholders and make this option for improved broadband to neighborhoods more consistent and efficient throughout the city. This also involves some recommendations about technology choices that the public needs opportunity to opine about as part of its participation in decisionmaking.
The way the current rule works, it can be very difficult for telecomm providers to get agreement because "everyone" within a certain radius has to agree, even far distant absenteed landlords. RantWoman is not up on precise details, but some reforms of this process might be handled legislatively to involve more stakeholders rather than just the mayor's fiat pen.
Also connected with the rule are requirements about making sure, when work involving a certain number of cubic yards of dirt is done that sidewalk, curb cuts, other pedestrian elements are brought up to current ADA pedestrian walkability standards as part of the work. In some cases this can add substantially to the cost of installing telecomm cabinets. RantWoman is ALWAYS interested in improved sidewalks and enhanced walkability! RantWoman does understand a concern about who pays for these upgrades when everyone in a neighborhood benefits. RantWoman off the top of her head has no opinion about what legislation should say about how to address that concern.
So as far as the petition, RantWoman wants to weigh in FOR something and this petition is too imprecise about what it is FOR.
But no, RantWoman does not want just to give telecomm providers carte blanche....
So MoveON, GIVE RANTWOMAN some options, and Mayor Murray, promote a process that includes stakeholders!
Dear MoveOn member,
A MoveOn member named Matt Gurney recently created a petition on our public petition website entitled "Seattle Homeowners should get a say in C-link lawn monoliths"--and we'd like to know what you think of it.
The petition is addressed to Ed Murray, Mayor, and reads:
Mayor Murray is proposing to dismiss a rule giving homeowners the right to decline Century Link placing a refrigerator sized utility box on the planting strip in front of their home.
The current rule encourages phone companies to put their cabinets on private property or underground. It also involves property owners in the decision, which takes time.
But it protects residents from having to face a big ugly box that may diminish their property value and attract graffiti.
Tell Mayor Murray that we want to retain our ability to work with Century Link to site the boxes and not have them forced on us.
Sign Matt's petition.
Here's what Matt wrote about it:
After reviewing the available information, I want to make sure that the citizens of Seattle get to have a say in how new technology is brought to their neighborhood/street and it's not left up to the convenience of the provider (in this case Century Link).
Can you click to let us know what you think?
I want to sign this petition.
I don't think MoveOn should support this petition.
We'll decide whether to send this petition out to additional MoveOn members in your area based on your feedback.
In case you haven't heard about it, MoveOn's petition site allows anyone to start an online petition and share it with friends and neighbors to build support for their cause.
Thanks for all you do.
--Milan, Rosy, Manny, Bobby, and the rest of the team
Interests: Digital Inclusion, Languages and language access, walkability, accessibility, disaster preparedness.
When in doubt, laugh about something!
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