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Archive for February, 2014

candles

 

 

This Saturday, March 1, is the 2014 Day of Mourning – a day when the disability community around the country will gather to mourn and cherish the memories of those we have lost to senselessness violence at the hands of those closest to us, to bring awareness to this ongoing tragedy, and to demand equal rights, protection and justice for all citizens.

 

In the past five years, over forty people with disabilities have been murdered by their parents. In the year since our last vigil, our community has lost at least ten more victims. In January of 2014 alone, two more disabled people were lost in murder-suicides at the hands of their parents: Damien Veraghen, age nine, and Vincent Phan, age twenty four.

 

These acts are horrific enough on their own. But they exist in the context of a larger pattern. A parent kills their disabled child. The media portrays these murders as justifiable and inevitable due to the “burden” of having a disabled person in the family. If the parent stands trial, they are given sympathy and  comparatively lighter sentences, if they are sentenced at all. The victims is disregarded, blamed for their own murder at the hands of the person they should have been able to trust the most, and ultimately forgotten. And then the cycle repeats.

 

For the last three years, ASAN, ADAPT, Not Dead Yet, the National Council on Independent Living, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, and other disability rights organizations have come together to mourn those losses, bring awareness to these tragedies, and demand justice and equal protection under the law for all people with disabilities. Tomorrow, we will come together again, and we ask you to join us.

 

Current vigil sites and contact information can be found on the ASAN website.

 

Sacramento, CA
Shyanna Mendes, asansacramento@gmail.com

 

San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Brent White, brent@alacosta-acat.com
Rob Gross, rgross@esoftltd.com

 

Fort Myers, FL
Suzanne Fast, sfeaal@yahoo.com

 

Atlanta, GA
R. Larkin Taylor-Parker, larkin92@comcast.net

 

Chicago, IL
Carrie Kaufman, CKaufman@accessliving.org

 

Boston, MA
Andrew De Carlo, ardecarlo@gmail.com

 

Baltimore, MD
Amanda Mills, muchbrighter2@gmail.com

 

Towson, MD
Rhonda Greenhaw, rjgwood@gmail.com

 

Houghton, MI
Caroline Maye, cnmaye@mtu.edu

 

Missoula, MT
Mike Beers, mbeers@summitilc.org

 

Robbinsville, NC
Carol Sutton, mountain_crafter@msn.com

 

Lincoln, NE
Sharon DaVanport, sdavanport@gmail.com

 

Woodbridge, NJ
Evelyn Delgado, joyzee_devil@yahoo.com

 

Reno, NV
Brianna Hammon, csdlibrary@gmail.com

 

New City, NY
Jason Ross, jason_s_ross@yahoo.com

 

New York City, NY
Cara Liebowitz, caraliebowitz@gmail.com

 

Rochester, NY
Diane Coleman, dcoleman@notdeadyet.org

 

Syracuse, NY
Alex Umstead, aumstead@syr.edu

 

Eugene, OR
Amber Perry, asperamber@gmail.com

 

Portland, OR
Theresa Soto, tisoto@gmail.com

 

Pittsburgh, PA
Lauren Stuparitz, lestuparitz@gmail.com

 

Seattle, WA
Matt Young, indigowombat@yahoo.com

 

Washington, DC
Melissa Mooney, mmooney6@masonlive.gmu.edu

 

Halifax, Nova Scotia 
Leah Andrews, landrews@nexicom.net

 

Virtual vigil, for those unable to attend a local vigil.



 

This Saturday, March 1, is the 2014 Day of Mourning – a day for disability communities, organizations, and support groups around the country will gather and cherish the memories of those who we have lost to senselessness violence at the hands of those closest to us and to continue to strive to seek justice for these crimes so as to prevent them from ever occurring again.

 

In the past five years, over forty people with disabilities have been murdered by their parents. In the year since our last vigil, our community has lost at least ten more victims. In January of 2014 alone, two more disabled people were lost in murder-suicides at the hands of their parents: Damien Veraghen, age nine, and Vincent Phan, age twenty four.

 

In a horrifying trend, parents and caregivers—those whom one should be able to trust most—are committing murder against disabled people in their care. In the media, these murders are being labeled justifiable due to the “burden” of the disabled person’s care. The murderers are then given sympathy, and the victims are unfairly disregarded.  The disabled community is coming together to mourn those losses and bring awareness to these tragedies. 

 

ASAN asks you to join us on March 1 in this year’s vigils to bring awareness to the ongoing tragedy, and to demand equal rights, protection and justice for all citizens.

 

Current vigil sites and contact information can be found on the ASAN website.

 

Sacramento, CA
Shyanna Mendes, asansacramento@gmail.com

 

San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Brent White, brent@alacosta-acat.com
Rob Gross, rgross@esoftltd.com

 

Fort Meyers, FL
Suzanne Fast, sfeaal@yahoo.com

 

Atlanta, GA
R. Larkin Taylor-Parker, larkin92@comcast.net

 

Chicago, IL
Carrie Kaufman, CKaufman@accessliving.org

 

Boston, MA
Andrew De Carlo, ardecarlo@gmail.com

 

Baltimore, MD
Amanda Mills, muchbrighter2@gmail.com

 

Towson, MD
Rhonda Greenhaw, rjgwood@gmail.com

 

Houghton, MI
Caroline Maye, cnmaye@mtu.edu

 

Missoula, MT
Mike Beers, mbeers@summitilc.org

 

Lincoln, NE
Sharon DaVanport, sdavanport@gmail.com

 

Woodbridge, NJ
Evelyn Delgado, joyzee_devil@yahoo.com

 

Reno, NV
Brianna Hammon, csdlibrary@gmail.com

 

New City, NY
Jason Ross, jason_s_ross@yahoo.com

 

New York City, NY
Cara Liebowitz, caraliebowitz@gmail.com

 

Rochester, NY
Diane Coleman, dcoleman@notdeadyet.org

 

Syracuse, NY
Alex Umstead, aumstead@syr.edu

 

Eugene, OR
Amber Perry, asperamber@gmail.com

 

Portland, OR
Theresa Soto, tisoto@gmail.com

 

Pittsburgh, PA
Lauren Stuparitz, lestuparitz@gmail.com

 

Seattle, WA
Matt Young, indigowombat@yahoo.com

 

Washington, DC
Melissa Mooney, mmooney6@masonlive.gmu.edu

 

Halifax, Nova Scotia 
Leah Andrews, landrews@nexicom.net

 

Virtual vigil, for those unable to attend a local vigil.



 

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is proud to have launched our new project, the Pacific Alliance on Disability Self-Advocacy (PADSA). The Pacific Alliance supports self advocacy groups in Oregon, Washington, California and Montana in increasing their ability to organize and advocate in their state and local communities.

 

As part of this project, PADSA is tasked with writing and publishing helpful, informative materials on disability self-advocacy. The group’s most recent work, titled Color Communication Badges, covers the beneficial use of color communication badges as an accommodation to support social interaction for people with a variety of disabilities and communication needs. Color communication badges were first developed by Autism Network International, and popularized by the Autistic community in Autistic spaces and conferences. To learn more, click here.

 

ASAN and PADSA are delighted to release this literature, as it will be beneficial and supportive to potential and established self-advocacy groups alike.



 

The deadline for ACI application submissions is quickly approaching! We are already receiving applications; get yours in today! The deadline for application submissions is February 22, 2014! 

 

ACI prepares Autistic students to create systems change on their college campuses. Participants acquire valuable skills in community organizing, policy formation, and grassroots & campus-based activism. ASAN covers lodging and travel expenses. Alumni receive support and technical assistance in implementing their advocacy goals following the training.

 

Download the flyer or watch this video of our 2013 alumni for more information! 

 

VIEW AND DOWNLOAD APPLICATION HERE

 

We especially encourage applications from members of traditionally underserved communities, including nonspeaking autistics, autistics with intellectual disabilities, and autistics of color.

 

To apply, please submit a completed application by February 22, 2014 to Natalia Rivera Morales at NRiveraMorales@autisticadvocacy.org with the subject line “2014 ACI Application.”

 

If you need assistance or accommodations at any stage, please contact Natalia Rivera Morales at NRiveraMorales@autisticadvocacy.org. 

 

ACI is made possible with the support of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation



 

Announcing the

 

Disability Rights Leadership Institute

on Bioethics

 

A groundbreaking event for disability rights advocates to advance the disability rights perspective on bioethics issues:

  •  
  • * Withholding Medical Treatment
  • * Assisted Suicide Laws
  • * Reproductive Technologies
  • * [and more]

 

… and developing our advocacy strategies on these issues

 

April 25 and 26, 2‌‌014

8‌‌:45 AM to 5‌‌:30 PM –

Participants are requested to stay

for the full two–day Institute

Crystal City Marriott, Arlington, VA

Across from Crystal City Metro

1‌‌999 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, VA 2‌‌2202.

(7‌‌03) 4‌‌13-5‌‌500

 

Space is limited! Please register ASAP. The Institute registration deadline is M‌‌arch 28. The deadline for hotel registration at the Crystal City Marriott is A‌‌pril 3.

 

Join us for this exciting and first–ever Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics (DRLIB), where disability rights advocates will gather for two focused days of learning, discussion, and honing our advocacy skills on the key bioethics issues facing the disability community in the United States (some speakers will provide an international perspective as well).

 

Speakers will include:

 

Liz Carr, Comedian, Actor in a BBC drama series, and NDY activist from the United Kingdom

Diane Coleman, President, Not Dead Yet (NDY)

Marcy Darnovsky, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Genetics and Society (CGS)

Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick, Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Europe (EPC Europe)

Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)

Ari Ne’eman, President and co–founder, Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)

 

Costs:

 

Registration for the Institute itself: $175, which will help cover a number of meals (see below) as well as other DRLIB expenses including meeting space, speaker costs, and disability accommodations. Participants must pay their own travel & lodging costs. Participants must pay for dinners on both days, and S‌‌aturday’s lunch. The Institute will cover 2 continental breakfasts, 4 breaks, and F‌‌riday’s lunch.

 

Other Participant responsibilities:

 

Participants will receive written materials in advance and be expected to read them before the Institute.

 

All participants will be expected to avoid wearing perfume, cologne, or other fragrances, and to use unscented personal care products in order to promote a fragrance-free environment.

 

 

How to register for the DRLIB:

 

First, register on-line for the Institute itself.

 

Note: This event is intended for disability rights activists and people who identify with the disability rights movement. We want to get a sense of who the participants are, so please help us out when you register, by responding to a question about your background or history in disability issues and/or organizations. You will see this question on the on-line registration form. Thank you!

 

Second, if you need a hotel room at the Crystal City Marriott, you must book your own hotel reservation. The hotel deadline is April 3. Call (703) 413-5500 and mention our group name, the Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics. Hotel room rate is $139 per night plus tax.

 

Accessibility and accommodation needs:

 

The hotel is wheelchair–accessible and is across from an accessible Metro stop. For accommodation needs other than hotel rooms: when you register, there will be an opportunity to specify your disability accommodation needs. Contact Tim Fuchs (see contact information below). NOTE: The DRLIB registration deadline of Friday, March 28 is also the deadline for requesting accessibility accommodations.

 

Participants are advised to use Reagan National Airport if possible—it has an accessible Metro stop, and is closer to the Institute site than the two other airports in the Washington DC area, Dulles and Baltimore. For accessible taxis from National Airport: Call Red Top Cab of Arlington, in advance, at 703-522-3333.

 

Questions?

 

Contact Tim Fuchs:

 

E-mail: tim@ncil.org

Voice (202) 207-0334

Toll-free (877) 525-3400

TTY (202) 207-0340

 

Visit the DRLIB website at www.dredf.org/drlib

 

The Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics is sponsored by:

National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA)

Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC)

Not Dead Yet (NDY)
National Council on Independent Living



 

Hi folks,

 

Two weeks ago, they said it couldn’t be done. They said including disabled workers now being paid less than minimum wage in the executive order President Obama had just announced guaranteeing a $10.10/hour minimum wage for federal contract workers was just not possible.

 

Today, I’m standing in the White House watching President Obama put his signature to an executive order that includes disabled workers. I’m watching the President and other leading figures in the administration speak with passion and commitment about economic opportunity for all Americans, including people with disabilities. And I know exactly who we have to thank for this wonderful moment: you.

 

Without your advocacy, your emails and donations and volunteering, none of this could have happened. If not for the hundreds of people who emailed and called the White House and Department of Labor in the last week, we wouldn’t be here. This is one of our biggest steps forward in the fight against subminimum wage and the sheltered workshop industry in years. We took on their lobbyists and won an unqualified victory. You mattered today, and for the sake of the thousands of disabled workers who stand to benefit, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

Now it’s time to thank President Obama and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez for hearing our voices on this issue, and to ask them to stand with us in the fight to come to repeal Section 14(c), an outdated relic from the 1930s that allows disabled workers to be paid pennies an hour, for all Americans, not just those employed by government service and concession contractors. Will you join us in lending your name to this effort?

 

Sign our petition to thank President Obama and Secretary Perez for including disabled workers, and ask them to work with us to convince Congress to end subminimum wage for all workers with disabilities. Let our community’s gratitude and resolve be heard. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your advocacy. And, as always, Nothing About Us, Without Us.

 

Regards, 

 

Ari Ne’eman

President

Autistic Self Advocacy Network



Alone

 

Thousands of children with autism are being illegally excluded from school, a new report claims.

 

Research by Ambitious About Autism, which campaigns on behalf of autistic children and young people, found that four in 10 autistic children have been subject to informal – and therefore illegal – exclusions.

 

This ranges from parents being repeatedly asked to collect their children early, to being asked not to bring their children into school at all.

 

Youngsters have also been asked to stay at home, miss school trips and even attend lessons part-time.

 

The report said that as around 70,785 children have the condition, this could mean as many as 28,000 illegal exclusions.

 

“Ultimately what we are saying is a very large population of children being left out and left behind,” said Jolanta Lasota, chief executive of the charity.

 

With one in 100 children in the UK affected by autism, the charity said the implications of its findings – based on a sample study of 500 families, 1,000 school staff and 92 local authorities – were far-reaching.

 

“[These exclusions] cost children’s families because their families need to stay at home to support them,” Ms Lasota said.

 

“And it costs society – we know that autism costs £27bn to society, and that’s due to wasted opportunities in education and support to young people with autism.”

 

Ravi, aged seven, loves reading, writing, numbers, puzzles and shapes.

 

His mother Kasthuri, a software engineer, has high hopes for his future, and is confident that he can do well academically and go onto do a job that he enjoys when he is older.

 

However, Ravi, who is autistic, is currently in a school for severely disabled children.

 

Many of his classmates are non-verbal, and have such serious learning disabilities that their learning is focused on play and sensory stimulation.

 

“My son’s strengths are in academics,” said Kashturi. “The moment [he] goes to a special needs learning disabled school, yes there is a curriculum for him, but the focus is not completely academics, its more independence and life skills.”

 

Ravi is one of thousands of children which the charity believes are being illegally excluded from schools which are unable to adequately support their special needs.

 

The government says that it has committed to improving resources for autistic children, and that schools are not allowed to use informal exclusions as a means to avoiding providing them with the support they need.

 

“We are spending over £3.5 million on Special Educational Needs (SEN) Co-ordinators in schools to provide targeted support to children with SEN, and have given the National Autistic Society £440,000 to provide advice to parents and teachers about how to support autistic children at school,” said the Department for Education (DfE). 

 

“We are also tackling the causes of exclusion by improving the quality of teaching, overhauling the SEN system, raising standards in literacy and numeracy, tackling disadvantage through the Pupil Premium, and significantly reforming alternative provision.”

 

The DfE also said that according to its figures, only 68 pupils with autistic spectrum disorder were permanently excluded from school, or 0.1%.

 

But parents and autism campaigners say that by informally excluding children, schools are using more subtle means to keep autistic children at home, to devastating effect on the children and their families.

 

“When the right support for Ravi is not there, I can’t even think of work,” said Kasthuri. “He is supposed to be at school full-time but I can be called at any time to pick him up.”

 

“Because [Ravi’s mainstream school] did not have the right support, he has been pushed to an environment that is not right for him.

 

“The blame is on the child, that the child is not coping, which is not right. With the right support, he is able to cope.”

 

The report was published as part of Ambitious about Autism’s Ruled Out campaign, which is calling for every school to have access to a specialist autism teacher and to ensure that families with children that have the condition know their rights.

 

Source:

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/autism-four-10-children-39-illegally-excluded-39-041430259.html#kAxhWEl



 

ASAN is continuing our joint newsletter with the LEAD center about employment, health care, and disability policy. This monthly feature is intended to provide people with disabilities, policymakers, and health care professionals with information about policy developments regarding ways in which health care programs, including Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and related topics, can help improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

 

The January 2014 update features stories on new federal regulations governing home and community-based services, states’ plans to provide community-based services through managed care frameworks, and the expansion of Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

 

To read our policy update for January 2014, click here! Last month’s newsletter is available at this link.



 

Our letter urging President Obama and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to include federal contractors with disabilities who make less than minimum wage in the President’s forthcoming $10.10/hour minimum wage executive order has gained momentum. We’ve been joined by labor groups, like AFL-CIO, SEIU and Change to Win, as well as a broad array of disability and civil rights organizations, such as the ACLU, the Collaboration for the Promotion of Self-Determination, the National Down Syndrome Congress, and many others representing people with disabilities, our families, and the providers that serve us. Unfortunately, lobbyists for the sheltered workshop industry are now mobilizing to try and exclude people with disabilities from President Obama’s forthcoming executive order and the $10.10/hour minimum wage protections it will bring employees of government contractors.

 

As the sheltered workshop lobby begins to push back against the turning tide, we must make sure that our voices are louder. Now, more than ever, it is important for self-advocates, our families, and providers who want to see disabled people have equality of opportunity write emails to the White House and the Secretary of Labor. 

 

THIS MUST BE DONE BY MONDAY OF NEXT WEEK.

 

Please feel free to use language from the joint letter and to TELL YOUR OWN PERSONAL STORY. Fear is a powerful factor for many sheltered workshop proponents, but the vision of a better economic future and a life of one’s own for those with disabilities is stronger.

 

Sample talking points:

  •  
  • * We urge you to include workers with disabilities, including those now making less than minimum wage under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, in the President’s forthcoming executive order on a $10.10/hour minimum wage for government contractors.
  •  
  • * We are seeing tremendous progress in moving people out of sheltered workshops and into integrated employment. In the last few years, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have committed to phasing out sheltered work. Vermont ended sheltered workshops and subminimum wage in 2003 and today enjoys twice the national average of integrated employment for people with disabilities.
  •  
  • * “All government contractors” should mean all government contractors, including those with disabilities.
  •  
  • * We thank the President and Secretary Perez for working to increase economic opportunity for all Americans, and we urge them to make certain that people with disabilities are not excluded from those efforts.

 

In your emails to the White House, please contact:

 

Claudia Gordon (Claudia_L_Gordon@who.eop.gov) and  “cc”:

Valerie Jarrett (vjarrett@who.eop.gov)

Portia Wu (portia.y.wu@who.eop.gov)

 

In your emails to the Department of Labor, please contact:

 

Matthew Colangelo (Colangelo.Matthew@dol.gov)   and “cc”

ODEP Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez (martinez.kathy@dol.gov).



 

Saturday, March 1st, the disability community will gather across the nation to remember disabled victims of filicide–disabled people murdered by their family members or caregivers.

 

In the past five years, over forty people with disabilities have been murdered by their parents.

 

In the year since our last vigil, our community has lost at least ten more victims.

 

In January of 2014, two more disabled people were lost in murder-suicides at the hands of their parents: Damien Veraghen, age nine, and Vincent Phan, age twenty four.

 

These acts are horrific enough on their own. But they exist in the context of a larger pattern. A parent kills their disabled child. The media portrays these murders as justifiable and inevitable due to the “burden” of having a disabled person in the family. If the parent stands trial, they are given sympathy and  comparatively lighter sentences, if they are sentenced at all. The victims is disregarded, blamed for their own murder at the hands of the person they should have been able to trust the most, and ultimately forgotten. And then the cycle repeats.

 

For the last three years, ASAN, ADAPT, Not Dead Yet, the National Council on Independent Living, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, and other disability rights organizations have come together to mourn those losses, bring awareness to these tragedies, and demand justice and equal protection under the law for all people with disabilities. On March 1st, we will come together again, and we ask you to join us. So far, twenty three volunteers have signed up to serve as site coordinators for vigils across the country. 

 

Current vigil sites:

 

Chico, CA
Theresa Beale, theresabbeale1117@yahoo.com

 

San Diego, CA
Andrew Raymond, bolthead@ix.netcom.com

 

San Francisco, CA
Rob Gross, rgross@esoftltd.com

 

Irvine, CA
Yvette Whitmer, yvettewhitmer@gmail.com 

 

Whittier, CA
Vicky Mesa, vickymouse22@hotmail.com

 

Chicago, IL
Carrie Kaufman, CKaufman@accessliving.org

 

Medford, MA
Rachel Silverman, gingi@pobox.com

 

Baltimore, MD
Amanda Mills, muchbrighter2@gmail.com

 

Towson, MD
Rhonda Greenhaw, rgreenhaw@towson.edu

 

Battle Creek, MI
Lewis Harrison, harrison.lewis@rocketmail.com

 

Houghton, MI
Caroline Maye, cnmaye@mtu.edu

 

Lansing, MI
Nathan Brown, victorianoddities@yahoo.com

 

Minneapolis, MN
Claire Sisson, petkeeper1978@msn.com

 

Kansas City, MO
Teigan Hockman, asan.kansascity@gmail.com

 

St. Peters, MO
Emily Malabey, emilyjmalabey@gmail.com

 

Lincoln, NE 
Sharon DaVanport, sdavanport@gmail.com

 

Lindenwold, NJ
Destinee Coleman, your.devine.destinee@gmail.com 

 

Woodbridge, NJ
Evelyn Delgado, joyzee_devil@yahoo.com

 

Phelps, NY
Colleen Peno, checkersmydog@yahoo.com

 

Poughkipsee, NY
Cara Liebowitz, caraliebowitz@gmail.com

 

Rochester, NY
Diane Coleman, dcoleman@notdeadyet.org

 

Seattle, WA
Matt Young, indigowombat@yahoo.com

 

Peterborough, Ontario 
Leah Andrews, landrews@nexicom.net

 

Sign up here to hold a vigil in your local community. ASAN will provide a toolkit and information on how to organize a vigil in your local community to all volunteers.