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News & Topics in Our Community

Free Webinar: Registering to Vote and Accessibility Barriers

August 17, 2018

Join this collaborative webinar hosted by the DOnetwork and the REV UP Campaign to learn more about registering to vote and related accessibility barriers. The webinar will explore how to conduct accessibility voter registration drives, voter ID laws, and common accessibility barriers that people with disabilities may encounter during the registration process. Webinar presenters include the League of Women Voters, VoteRiders, and Disability Rights California.

The REV UP Campaign, launched by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) in 2016, is a nonpartisan initiative that coordinates with national, state, and local disability organizations to increase the political power of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues. The Campaign focuses on voter registration, education, access, and engagement. REV UP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power! Learn more at www.aapd.com/REVUP.

CLICK HERE to register in advance.

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Join the convo: DOnetwork Twitter Chat 8/15

August 8, 2018

Graphic with white background and text that reads DO Network Twitter Chat in partnership with the Disability Visibility Project® - California Disability Issues and Organizing Strategies, August 15, 2018, 3-4 pm Pacific, For more: https://disabilityorganizing.net/. Above is a blue bird icon for Twitter with a speech bubble with an icon of person in a wheelchair and an illustration of the bear on the California Flag with a speech bubble of a hashtag. Below is #DONetwork
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Reminder, the Disability Organizing (DO) Network and the Disability Visibility Project® are hosting a series of Twitter chats for Californians with disabilities about civic participation, community organizing, and disability rights.

Join us for our first Twitter chat about current disability issues on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, 3-4 pm Pacific.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE


  1. Follow @DOnetworkorg and @DisVisibility for the latest information about the chat.

  2. At the time of the chat, click on the 'Latest' tab for the hashtag #DOnetwork. This will show you the questions and everyone's responses in real time.
    OR
    Check @DisVisibility's account every 5-6 minutes for the next question.

  3. Be sure to respond to questions specifically. For example, if you're answering question 1 or Q1, respond with A1 before you include your text. (And please be sure to use #DOnetwork or we won't be able to track your response.)


MORE INFORMATION


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It's time for people with disabilities to get paid their fair share

August 2, 2018

BY NEIL ROMANO, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR —  07/31/18 04:31 PM EDT 46
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL


Since when is a little discrimination with some segregation OK under the law in America?

How do you feel about some of your fellow Americans making pennies on the dollar for their work? Does American-made using underpaid workers seem patriotic? Some of our citizens are making far less than a minimum wage and it’s perfectly legal in America today — until we say, “no more.”It happens more than most realize due to an archaic provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act called 14(c), which recently turned 80 years old. 

Since 1938, 14(c) permits employers to obtain a certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor and pay people with disabilities in their workforce less than the minimum wage. 

This continues for years, if not decades, and sometimes, in working conditions not subject to Occupational and Health Safety administration regulations — because they’re supposedly “training programs” and not actually jobs (though these employers often fulfill business contracts based on labor these Americans provide). Today approximately 164,000 Americans with disabilities receive sub-minimum wages.

During the almost two decades I have worked to see an end to 14(c), I’ve become increasingly convinced that we need to invest into people and not just sustain broken programs. I have visited many locations across America where 14(c) is utilized, and as a former assistant Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush, I got an even closer look at its effect on people's lives.

While we often talk about 14(c) by the number of years it has been in place, I tend to think of it in terms of the lives that have been wasted, potential that has been lost, and the hopes and dreams of individuals that were never realized — all because of low expectations of others.

Defenders of this provision argue that workers with disabilities are not as productive and need assistance learning job skills to become more competitive in a “normal” job down the road. But its operation is far less altruistic than it may sound.

Not only do egregious abuses occasionally come to light — such as people being paid in gift cards or food rather than money, but there are also more common outcomes that should churn every American’s stomach.

Truly, in a political environment with demand for results, it is amazing that such a program persists. Without aggressive lobbying, this program would be only a memory of ineffectiveness and failure to yield a return on investment.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services states, “Prevocational services should be designed to create a path to integrated community-based employment for which an individual is compensated at or above the minimum wage...”

Nonprofit service providers holding 14(c) certificates, receiving Medicaid funds for training people for work should never be more than a stepping stone to competitive integrated employment. Yet, in a 2001 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, only five percent of people ever left these supposed training grounds. That’s a 95-percent failure rate in mission!

What’s more, compared to alternative models with records of success, research shows 14(c) training placements yield higher costs over time per person and notably, lower wages; whereas individuals who utilized supported employment services as an alternative to 14(c) had lower costs over time per person and higher wages.

Those statistics don’t leave much room to argue the continuation of 14(c) based on results.

Letting this provision persist is a 100-percent failure rate of national policy, given our nation’s progress and goals for people with disabilities. We can no longer afford an economy that leaves an entire group of people unemployed or underutilized. And I would have to believe this broken program is abhorrent to this administration that is fighting to get Americans real work.

In 1938, there were no federally protected civil rights for people with disabilities, nor even a right to a public education. However, since that time, society and people with disabilities have come to expect far more out of their lives than past public policies allowed. And employment should be no exception.

The continuation of 14(c) says that people with disabilities are a black hole for society — that they’re not capable of doing much, that they don’t warrant investment, and that they aren’t going anywhere. A self-advocate with Down syndrome who has spoken poignantly against 14(c) said that the “sub-minimum” in “sub-minimum wages” communicates “subhuman” to people, and who wants to be thought of as subhuman?

Although I have little patience for well-paid lobbyists defending the continued practice of paying people with disabilities pennies an hour, I have great compassion for the families who have loved ones with disabilities affected by 14(c) and are scared at what changes may entail for them.

These families made choices I believe they sincerely thought were best at the time, and they should never be vilified. They should take heart seeing what is possible with a better policy. A small handful of states and a larger number of individual providers have begun making changes away from the 14(c) work model to alternative models with records of success.

Melwood, one of the largest employers of people with disabilities on the East Coast, used to be one of the many nonprofits using the 14(c) model. During a leadership change at Melwood in 2013, new President and CEO, Cari DeSantis, recognized the incompatibility of 14(c) with the organization’s vision of full inclusion of people with disabilities.

Following a three-year transition celebrated by its employees and their families, Melwood completely relinquished its 14(c) certificate in 2016, noting that the financial cost of discontinuing the discriminatory practice was not only manageable, but was also a prudent investment in its mission. Today, Melwood’s financial position is the strongest it has ever been and it is employing more people with disabilities than ever before.

Many of the fully-transitioned providers like Melwood — and families who have experienced the changes — are excited to help others do the same and have marveled at the blossoming of talent and effort of people with disabilities who are finally helped to explore their strengths and interests (rather than be relegated to piece work whether they like it or not) and transition to real jobs — just like the 14(c) program intended but has largely failed to deliver.

So long as it remains legal to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage, little pressure exists to invest in alternate models. If paying our fellow Americans with disabilities pennies an hour under the auspices of “training” (that seemingly never ends) continues, our federal policy message to them will remain that despite the passage of civil rights laws, despite the advancements in the education of people with disabilities, and despite our national march towards equality for all human beings, people with disabilities will never be viewed as inherently equal and deserving of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.   

It’s far past time to do better than that. It’s time to phase out 14(c) of the FLSA.

Neil Romano is the chairman of the National Council on Disability.TAGS DISABILITIES

 

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Happy 28th Birthday for the ADA!

July 31, 2018

"The promise of the ADA is that ALL people with disabilities will be fully equal, fully productive, fully prosperous and fully welcome participants in the mainstream." - Justin Dart JR, Father of the American with Disabilities Act

"We're going to develop leadership, that has a fundamental difference, and that is, it's inclusive. It believes in people, and in our strengths together. And we are going to change our society." - Ed Roberts, Father of the Independent Living Movement https://cfilc.org/donate/

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28th Anniversary of the ADA, Voter Registration

July 27, 2018

REV UP LOGO TEXT: Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power! MAKE THE DISABILITY VOTE COUNT



This week marks the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark disability rights legislation - signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990 - prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all places that are open to the general public.

The ADA came about due to the tireless advocacy of the disability community and our allies. The ADA changed America, but there is a lot of work left to be done. Do your part to protect the ADA and the health and liberty of all disabled Americans - educate yourself about the issues and exercise your civil right to vote on November 6!
 

Voter Registration in California
Your country needs your vote. Here's how to register in California.


California Voter Registration Eligibility


  • In order to be eligible to vote in the state of California, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States.

  • A California resident.

  • 18 years old or older on Election Day.

  • Not currently in prison or on parole for a felony conviction.

    • Some citizens serving certain legal sentences can vote, and those with felony convictions who've had their civil rights restored can vote (voting rights are automatically restored once parole is completed). Refer to the state's section on voting rights with criminal convictions for details specific to your situation.



  • Not found to be mentally incompetent by a court.



Register to Vote in California
If you're looking to register to vote in California, and you meet the requirements mentioned above, you'll need to complete a voter application and submit it either online or by mail. You can also register to vote when visiting a Department of Motor Vehicles office to obtain a California driver's license or register your vehicle.
The deadline to register is by 11:59:59 p.m. on the 15th day before the Election Day in question: October 22, 2018 for the November 6, 2018 election. If you fail to meet that deadline, your information will still be processed, but you'll need to wait to vote in the next upcoming election.

Online Registration
If you would like to register online, you can submit an application by using the California Online Voter Registration website.
You'll be asked to answer a series of questions and enter your personal information, including:

  • Your CA driver's license or ID number.

  • Your Social Security number.

  • Your birth date.


The system will check with the California DMV to ensure that your signature is on file. If it is, it will be added to your registration and you may submit it at the end of the process.
If your signature is NOT on file, your information will be sent to your local county elections board. Print the information you filled out online, sign the application, and mail it to the address specified on the form. An official will contact you once they've received all of your information.

Just Moved?
Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.

Register by Mail
If you prefer to register to vote by mail, you can:

You can also pick up a voter registration application at post offices, public libraries, and other government offices.
When you complete your application, mail it to the address provided on the application. You will need to provide your California driver's license or identification card number or the last 4 digits of your social security number. If you do not have any of these numbers leave the field blank and the election officials will assign you a voter identification number.

Voter Registration Name or Address Change
The address on your voter registration record should be your current place of residence. If you have temporarily moved, you can continue to use your permanent address for the purposes of voting.
If you've permanently changed your address, or you've legally changed your name, you'll need to re-register to vote. Simply follow one of the methods described above in Register to Vote in California.

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Twitter Chats on Disability Issues for 2018 Election

July 23, 2018


(SACRAMENTO, CALIF.) – In partnership with the Disability Visibility Project®, the Disability Organizing (DO) Network will be organizing and hosting a series of Twitter chats to discuss Californians with disabilities, civic participation, community organizing, and disability rights.

WHAT        #DONetwork Twitter Chats

WHO          Disability advocates (individual activists, elected officials, disability-related service organizations and businesses), allies, and general public

WHEN       The series of 3 discussions will be:


  • California Disability Issues and Organizing Strategies
    Wednesday, August 15, 2018
    3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. PST


 


  • Gubernatorial Forum on Long-Term Services & Supports in California
    Thursday, September 13, 2018
    3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. PST 


 


  • Voting Rights and Accessibility
    Thursday, November 1, 2018 
    3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. PST 


WHERE     On Twitter using the hashtag #DONetwork: https://twitter.com/ (Follow @DisVisibility for updates)

MORE INFO:     Please visit: https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/2018/07/09/8-1-do-network-twitter-chat-california-disability-issues-and-organizing-strategies/

# # #


About CFILC’s Disability Organizing (DO) Network
The Disability Organizing (DO) Network is a program of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), and functions as a statewide disability advocacy network of 28 Independent Living Centers and the communities that the CFILC serves. CFILC is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that increases access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities by building the capacity of Independent Living Centers throughout California.  To learn more, please visit: https://disabilityorganizing.net/ and follow DONetwork on Twitter: @DOnetworkorg

The Disability Visibility Project® is a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to creating, sharing, and amplifying disability media and culture founded by Alice Wong. Check out the Disability Visibility podcast for episodes about disability issues and culture: https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/podcast-2/
For more: https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/

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Take the DOnetwork's 2018 Community Engagement Survey

July 5, 2018

The DOnetwork (Disability Organizing Network) is committed to organizing for accessible communities throughout California. As community organizers we rely on input from our members to inform the direction of the DOnetwork's advocacy, training and in person event opportunities. Surveys help us get better at serving the disabilities community and make us better partners with our allies. Each year we survey the network's members and it's that time of year again!

Please take a few minutes to take this survey and let us know about your organizing priorities.

Onward!

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Take Action for MFP on the Olmstead Anniversary!

June 19, 2018

National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) logoThis Thursday, June 22, 2018, is the 19th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision cementing the ADA’s integration mandate. To commemorate the day, NCIL is joining other national disability organizations in hosting a National Call-In Day for the EMPOWER Care Act (S. 2227 and H.R. 5306). 
Since Money Follows the Person (MFP) began in 2005, over 75,000 disabled people have been liberated from institutions, and CILs have played a critical role in that. But MFP expired on September 30, 2016, and states are starting to scale back and end their programs. In fact, last year was the first time the number of people transitioned into the community declined. We need your advocacy to get the House and Senate to pass the EMPOWER Care Act to re-authorize and fund MFP!  

Take Action! 
Congress must save and fund MFP, and they need to hear from us! Please urge your Senators and Representative to continue the Money Follows the Person program by co-sponsoring the EMPOWER Care Act! 


  • Participate in Thursday’s National Call-In Day! Call your Senators and Representative and urge them to co-sponsor the EMPOWER Care Act! All members of Congress can be reached by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). Find more information, including talking points, at the Facebook event. RSVP and share widely

  • Use Social Media! Post on Facebook and Tweet at your members of Congress. Find your Members’ Twitter handles and other contact information on Contacting Congress. Make sure to use the hashtag #FundMFP in your posts. You can find more information, including sample Tweets, at the Facebook event. For more tips, please visit: https://medicaid.publicrep.org/events/social-media-day-for-community-living/

  • Email your members of Congress! Customize a message to your Members of Congress online.

  • Continue sharing your stories with NCIL! See our previous alert for more details about the stories we’re looking for. Our original deadline passed, but we’re still looking for your stories about the importance of community living!


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Take the DOnetwork's CA Primary Election Accessibility Survey

June 5, 2018

Did you vote in the June 5, 2018 California Primary Election?  We would like to hear from you about the accessibility of your voting experience. Please take a few minutes to take this survey. We will use this important information to advocate for better election accessibility for voters with disabilities across California. Thank you!
 
 

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Free Webinar Training: Advocating for Increased Accessibility with Additional HAVA Funds

June 5, 2018

PRESENTERS: U.S. Election Assistance Commission, National Disability Rights Network, American Association of People with Disabilities and REV UP

DESCRIPTION OF TRAINING/EVENT:
This REV UP Campaign webinar will explain the recently released Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funding meant to help states to improve their election security and election accessibility. Mark Abbott from the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) will explain the funds available, how they can be used, and how states can apply for it. Michelle Bishop from the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) will discuss how to advocate to state election officials to consider election accessibility as part of the plan to increase election security. Participants will have multiple opportunities to ask questions. We encourage all people who care about election accessibility, from individual advocates to organizational staff, to attend. Click on this link to register:  https://disabilityorganizing.net/training-events/ 

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ADA Study Seeking Research Participants Who Have Lived in Nursing Homes

May 16, 2018

The Pacific ADA Center is conducting a study with people with disabilities to identify and address participation disparities among people with disabilities. 

Currently, we are collaborating with other Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Centers across the nation to learn about participation disparities experienced by people with disabilities who moved out of nursing homes.
 
We are looking for 50 people with disabilities to help us with the study.  Participants will be asked to be part of one 90-minute interview to talk about their experience with living in the community after transitioning out of institutions.

Please help us by posting or distributing the attached flyer.  This flyer can be used on listserves, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), or any other venues that are appropriate.  Thank you for your assistance with this important study.

Download the Recruitment Flyer

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APRIL: Trafficking of Persons With Disabilities Fact Sheet (2017)

April 24, 2018

Summer 2017 Version
 
TRAFFICKING OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
(For Disability Advocates and Investigators)
Human trafficking is an egregious violation of the inherent rights and dignity of a person, and individuals with certain disabilities may be more susceptible to exploitation by traffickers. Forced labor and sex trafficking are horrific forms of abuse of a person with or without a disability. Both are crimes under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA). Pub. L. 106-386. Disability rights advocates and investigators need to play a vital role to identify and prevent trafficking of persons with disabilities as the scope of the problem has become more apparent.

Labor Trafficking and Disability
Labor trafficking is criminally defined under the TVPA as knowingly providing or obtaining labor or services from another person through force, restraint, serious harm, abuse of the legal process, threats, or by a scheme or plan to cause a person to believe that serious harm or physical restraint will occur if they do not provide the labor. 18 U.S.C. § 1589(a). The threat or harm can be either directed against the person forced to work or against another person. Those who knowingly benefit from labor trafficking are also subject to criminal prosecution. 18 U.S.C. § 1589(b).

One of the first human trafficking cases in the United States involved 55 Mexican nationals who were deaf. The traffickers physically abused and forced the victims to beg and sell trinkets on the New York City subway. Trafficking of persons with disabilities can include work in sectors not usually associated with trafficking. For example, in the case of Henry’s Turkey Service dozens of men with intellectual disabilities were transported to Iowa in the 1970s and ‘80s to eviscerate turkeys. The men were paid $60 a month and lived in a dilapidated bunk house until 2009. Though no criminal charges were brought under the TVPA, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission obtained significant civil damages for these men.

Sex Trafficking and Disability
Under the TVPA, the crime of sex trafficking involves the use of force, threats, coercion or fraud to cause a person to engage in commercial sex. If the victim is under 18, there is no need to show the use of force, threats, coercion or fraud to convict. The TVPA prohibits recruiting, enticing, transporting, advertising, patronizing, soliciting or similar activities. Those who benefit from such acts are also guilty of sex trafficking. 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a).

A number of sex trafficking cases involve individuals with cognitive or mental health disabilities. In recent years human trafficking convictions have occurred in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia for the horrific sexual abuse of victims with disabilities. In a case in Missouri, a trafficker forced a woman with a mental health disability to engage in commercial sex to pay off a drug debt. In some cases, non-commercial sexual servitude can be prosecuted as labor trafficking or involuntary servitude. For example, Disability Rights Kansas discovered that residents with mental health disabilities at an unlicensed group home were forced to perform sexual acts and unpaid farm and house work. A jury convicted the professional couple operating the house for forced labor trafficking.

Signs and Action
Any vulnerable person is at risk of being trafficked, but individuals with intellectual, cognitive, emotional and mental health disabilities may be targeted because of additional vulnerabilities. Traffickers may seek out persons with disabilities in order to control their public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. A trafficker may lurk outside of a group home or facility providing services to persons with disabilities, suspecting residents may attempt to leave. Law enforcement may be reluctant to believe individuals with certain disabilities and less likely to investigate or prosecute an allegation. Persons with limited communication abilities may be unable to report being victimized.

Advocates and investigators should be aware of the risk that an individual may be trafficked. For those affiliated with entities such as a Protection and Advocacy organization, adult or child protective services, state survey agencies, or similar entities, paying attention to warning signs of trafficking is an important step to identify victims or prevent trafficking in the first instance.

During investigations and monitoring of a facility, advocates and investigators should look for potential trafficking or risk of trafficking. This can include evidence of control above what is typical for a facility or group home, poor physical health, malnutrition, evidence of work inside or outside of a facility without proper records, or anxious or depressed behavior not consistent with the disability. Poor procedures, which fail to protect residents from potential perpetrators, such as preventing easy exits from a facility, should be identified and corrected. While many of these problems exist in facilities for persons with disabilities regardless of trafficking risks, these are still potential signs for which a more probing assessment may be appropriate. As with any investigation or monitoring of alleged abuse, use trauma effective skills to prevent further harm to a potential victim with a disability.

While the TVPA requires that courts order criminal restitution be paid to trafficked victims, 18 U.S.C. § 1593, disability rights attorneys can also file for civil damages as another means to assist trafficking victims with disabilities. 18 U.S.C. § 1595.

Resources and Enforcement
National Human Trafficking Hotline, 1-888-373-7888, or text HELP or INFO to 233733 (“BeFree”)
U.S. Department of Justice, Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and Office for Victims of Crime
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Security Blue Campaign
National Working Group on Human Trafficking and Disability (website pending)

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Tony Coelho in The Hill: I helped pass disabilities reform - I know the cost if it's gutted

February 14, 2018

BY FORMER REP. TONY COELHO (D-CALIF.), OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 02/14/18 06:30 AM EST 28
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL

The experience of having a disability profoundly shapes one’s life. It affects how one lives, where one learns, if one works, what our personal relationships are like, and how we interact with our community. This is not just because of the disability, but also because of the responses from people around us  — their attitudes, their interactions and their inclusion — or exclusion — of us.

My epilepsy (defined as chronic seizures), which I’ve had since I was a teenager, has been a defining characteristic of my life. It influenced my decision to focus my career while in Congress and afterwards on improving the lives of people living with disabilities. I was a lead sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it was introduced in the House of Representatives in 1988, and I am proud to see that the ADA continues to open doors and change lives. The ADA has become a worldwide model for codifying equal opportunity, equal access, full inclusion, and maximum independence for people with disabilities.Now, that legacy is under attack. Last year, the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives voted to advance HR 620, disingenuously named the “ADA Education and Reform Act.” This legislation would undermine the ADA and so much of the progress we have made, decreasing access for people with disabilities by removing the substantive requirements businesses and services have to meet — no longer guaranteeing access, but instead mandating a business only make “substantial progress” towards access.   

HR 620 prevents people with disabilities from seeking immediate legal recourse to protect their rights. Instead, the bill would require people with disabilities to go through a bureaucratic process to inform businesses exactly what portion of the ADA has been violated and what changes need to be made to meet its obligations. It then requires people with disabilities to wait up to 6 months or more before they could go to court to protect their rights.

This law would mean people with disabilities have to become legal experts just to participate in society, and it removes any incentive for businesses to proactively comply with the ADA. This is not how civil rights laws are supposed to work.

This is not an abstract or anachronistic problem. We’ve made meaningful progress towards accessibility in this country; technological innovations, curbs cuts, accessible government buildings and websites, as well as services allowing people with disabilities to live in their communities rather than be institutionalized.

But still, people with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty, to not own their homes, and to be unemployed than any other group of Americans. In my home state of California:

A woman who uses a wheelchair had to leave a wedding party in Sacramento because the restrooms in the refurbished mansion rented out for private events had doors so narrow that she could not enter.
A small café on the Sonoma County coast has a small steep ramp. A young man and his mother, a wheelchair user in Sonoma County, have been prevented from eating at a café when the owner let the ramp leading to the only accessible seating become overgrown with plants. The woman has written two letters asking the business to fix the problem and informing it about the tax credit available for small businesses of up to $5,000 per year. She has never received a response.
A restaurant in Sebastopol has only tall tables with high chairs, impossible to access by most people who use wheelchairs and people of short stature.

These are just a few examples of the injustices and insults people with disabilities experience every day across the country. So why are members of Congress pushing a bill to weaken the rights of people with disabilities? Why are they destroying the intent and spirit of the ADA?

Proponents of HR 620 insist that businesses need more time. They assert that businesses need to be protected from unscrupulous lawsuits. Yet the ADA has been the law of the land for almost 30 years. During that time, the federal government has conducted thousands of trainings for businesses and established ADA technical assistance centers that serve every state, free to any business owner. Businesses receive tax credits and tax deductions to reduce costs for access features.

We can address the problem of unscrupulous lawyers without taking away the rights of millions of Americans. I have been a strong supporter of the business community, and believe businesses can play a role in creating a better community for us all. I also believe it is good business to provide access to people with disabilities. Sixty million Americans with disabilities are a customer base that businesses cannot afford to ignore.

The irony here is that there are real problems with ADA compliance and enforcement that we can — and should — be working to fix. Almost 30 years after its passage, despite millions of government dollars spent on educating and supporting business owners, too many stores and public businesses are still inaccessible. The same companies who are so concerned about the cost of making their businesses accessible are, by ignoring their customers with disabilities, also missing the real opportunity to increase their bottom lines by providing services for more people.

People with disabilities deserve better. Nearly three decades after passage of the ADA, we should be encouraging businesses to open their doors, not slam them in the face of paying customers.

Instead of bringing this bill to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote, I urge Speaker Ryan to shelve HR 620, and focus instead on improving access for all Americans and full integration of people with disabilities into their communities. This bill is bad for America, bad for business, and bad for the consuming public.

Tony Coelho is a former U.S. representative from California’s Central Valley and one of the authors of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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DOnetwork Election 2018 Event Submission Form

February 8, 2018

In 2018 the DOnetwork is committed to making sure that every voter with a disability and our allied voters cast an informed ballot. That is why we are investing in promoting non-partisan voter education, candidate and initiative events all over Caliofrnia.

Do you know about any Election 2018 events like voter education, candidate forums or voter accessibility events?  Or are you or your organization hosting a forum, candidate night or partner for a community voting event? Please let us know about them by filling out this form.  We want to make sure these events are on our calendar and DOnetwork members or Independent Living Center organizers are aware of these events and take part in an active election season!

And please share this form with your friends, we want to know about all types of events for voters to learn more. CLICK HERE to fill out the form.

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​Take the DOnetwork Media Experience Survey

February 7, 2018

Are you a person with disabilities who watches the news or television? Do you read the paper or listen to the radio? Do you get your information from social media or online outlets?
 
If you answered yes to any of these questions, we want to hear from you…please take our survey!
 
DOnetwork members are working on a community-driven project to develop a guide for journalists and media personalities on how to cover disability issues. But before we get started, we want to hear your thoughts on how the press and media outlets reports on us and our issues. The information gathered in this survey will help shape and form the information we include in the media guide.
 
CLICK HERE to take the survey.
 
 

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New York Times: Uber Me to My Airbnb? For Wheelchair Users, Not So Fast

November 26, 2017

Whenever I hear someone mention Airbnb, I cringe — on the inside, at least. Not because there’s anything inherently wrong with Airbnb, the home-sharing business that has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years and has opened up affordable accommodations to millions of people around the world. The problem is, it hasn’t done so for people like me.

Airbnb is part of something called the sharing economy, an evolving system in which people who own certain things, like homes or cars, rent them out to others when they are not using them. In many cases, travelers can save a significant amount of money by staying at an Airbnb host’s property rather than at a hotel. Uber is another company that is part of the sharing economy. Drivers use their own vehicles to drive people around town. Despite Uber’s sometimes lax regulations and harassment and discrimination scandals, people still love using it and other services like it because of their lower prices and the ease of summoning a vehicle.

There are many companies that are part of this new economy, but for the purposes of accessible travel, Airbnb and Uber are the most relevant. And sadly, wheelchair users are largely being left out of it.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE

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Take the Ride Share Survey

November 26, 2017

The Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco is collecting information about the experiences of people with disabilities using Uber and other ride share services. The purpose of this data collection is to make Uber and other ride share services more accessible for all. Thus, we are looking for both your positive and negative experiences to better inform our next steps with this project. CLICK HERE to take the survey.

The survey should take about 5 minutes to complete. If you have any questions about this survey or the project, please feel free to contact Fiona Hinze at fiona@ilrcsf.org . Thank you for your participation!

Training: Integrating Access & Functional Needs into Emergency Planning

August 28, 2017

Sacramento Joint Field Office - California Incident Complex
 
L0197: Integrating Access & Functional Needs into Emergency Planning
 
Oroville: September 7-8, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Each Day
Location:
2279 Del Oro Avenue
Oroville, CA 95965
Accommodation request on application by September 1, 2017
CLICK HERE to register 
 
Santa Barbara: September 11-12, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM-5:00 PM Each Day
Location:
Santa Barbara County EOC
4408 Cathedral Oaks Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93110
Accommodation request on application by September 1, 2017
CLICK HERE to register 
 
Walnut: September 25-26, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM-5:00 PM Each Day
Location: Mount San Antonio College
100 N. Grand Ave
Walnut, CA 91789
Accommodation request on application by September 1, 2017
CLICK HERE to register
 
San Diego: October 10-11, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Each Day
Location:
San Diego Environmental Services BLDG
9601 Ridgehaven Court
San Diego, CA 92123
For reasonable accommodation requests contact: afranklin@sduasi.org.
CLICK HERE to register
 
Course Description:
To provide participants with the information necessary to utilize disability and access and functional needs-inclusive practices, and the additional updated skills and knowledge they will need to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies.
 
Course Goal:
To familiarize participants with the responsibilities of Integrating Access & Functional Needs.
 
Target Audience:
State, local, tribal and territorial emergency planning personnel, such as Emergency Managers, Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services, Law Enforcement, Resource agencies including Transportation, Communications, Public Works, and Public Health; Non- Governmental Organization (NGO) and Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), Disability groups/ organizations.
 
Reasonable Accommodation Requests (Request for Auxiliary Aid or Service):
If you need an auxiliary aid or service [i.e., American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, computer assisted note taker, real-time transcription, or alternate formats for print materials] due to a disability, please remember to include that information on the application form. Please submit your request no later than September 1, 2017 so arrangements can be made.
 
Prerequisites:
Participants must have completed prior to class start: IS 0230.d Fundamentals of Emergency Management. Please bring a copy of your certificate or proof of attendance with you to class.
 
Course Materials:
The course student materials will be delivered electronically (paperless), please bring a laptop. You may also download and print out the student manual in advanced of the class by clicking on the link on each event’s registration page.
 
Course Contact For More Information: Brenda.Pachot@fema.dhs.gov
 

Community Organizing Training: Working with Senior Populations

August 22, 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time
 
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
 
The Disability Organizing Network (DOnetwork) is continuing our community organizing webinar training series by hosting the Alliance for Retired Americans to explore strategies for working with senior populations.  Aging adults and people with disabilities often share similar goals for increasing their accessibility and independence for community living. Together we can double our capacity for advocacy and developing campaigns for success. Webinar participants will interact with ARA staff to learn about their programming and priority issues, then receive training about the grassroots strategies for organizing with seniors and aging adults.
 
A confirmation email with webinar link or call in number and access code will be sent 24-hours in advance to those who register on line.
 

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​Community Organizing: Voter Accessibility and the Voter's Choice Act

August 22, 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time
 
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
 
The Disability Organizing Network (DOnetwork) continues our commitment to strategizing for accessible elections and lifting up the collective voice of voters with disabilities. We will host this one-hour teleconference to explore opportunities for disabilities advocates to become part of the movement to increase election access and fight against voter suppression. This teleconference will begin by exploring how disabled activists can become part of their county Voter Accessibility Advisory Committee or help their county organize a one if it doesn’t already exist. Then we will learn about the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA), a new law in California that will implement vote centers, and how the disability community can give input for their county’s VCA election accessibility plan. Finally, participants will have the opportunity to sign up for regular DOnetwork teleconferences for VCA implementation information sharing and resources.
 
A confirmation email with call in number and access code will be sent 24-hours in advance to those who register on line.
 

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Conversations in Civic Courage: The Resistance

August 22, 2017

Conversations in Civic Courage: The Resistance
 
Thursday, August 24, 2017
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time
 
CLICK HERE to register
 
The Disability Organizing Network (DOnetwork) presents the next installment in our series Conversations in Civic Courage, which provides opportunities for disability community organizers to learn from the promising practices of activists in other successful social justice movements. This one-hour teleconference will feature leaders from the Resistance Movement sweeping across the nation and energizing communities seeking to create change. Participants will have the opportunities to hear about our speakers’ promising practices, lessons learned and ask questions about the tactics and strategies they use for creating successful actions.
 
Speakers include:


  • Carmen Perez has dedicated her life to advocating for many important civil rights issues such as mass incarceration, gender equity, violence prevention, community policing and racial healing.  She is the founder and Executive Director of the Gathering for Justice and serves as a Co-Chair of the Women’s March.

  • Mrinalini Chakraborty is a doctoral student of Anthropology at the University of Illinois and an immigrant from India who refuses to be a bystander as the rights and safety of people in marginalized communities are threatened.  She currently serves as the Head of Field Operations and Strategy at the Women’s March.

  • Melissa Byrne is an activist, organizer and leader who has been running campaigns since she was a college student.  In 2016, she served as a Digital Mobilizer on Bernie’s Sanders presidential campaign and since has been at the forefront of many resistance actions and marches. 


A confirmation email with call in number and access code will be sent 24-hours in advance to those who register on line.

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DOnetwork Community Organizing Needs Assessment Survey

July 29, 2017

Thank you for your continued advocacy and partnership in the DOnetwork!  We are getting ready for a summer push to engage our members for community organizing training webinars and connecting through advocacy teleconferences and an Access Now organizing Summit in Southern California during September. 

We have developed a survey to get a better understanding of the training, organizing and connectivity needs for our members. We have extended the deadline to complete the survey to Thursday August 3, 2017. CLICK HERE to take the survey.  

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Banking & Financial Stability for People with Disabilities

June 22, 2017


Please join the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, World Institute on Disability, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco for a Forum on Banking & Financial Stability for People with Disabilities on June 27, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon, at the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 1155 Market Street, 10th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103.

Participants will hear about California's soon to be launched CalABLE Program - being implemented by the California State Treasurer’s Office - that enables people with disabilities to save and build assets, even while receiving benefits, via new ABLE accounts, highlight local asset building and financial education strategies and resources, and discuss how local partners can support financial stability among people with disabilities. 

Invitees in the Bay Area include individuals and groups serving people with disabilities, community groups, financial institutions and government agencies.

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Statewide Community Organizer Job Opening: Sacramento

May 31, 2017

California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) is seeking an experienced Statewide Community Organizer. This position is under the supervision of the Deputy Director. The Statewide Community Organizer trains and supports local organizers in the Disability Organizing Network, DONetwork. This is a key statewide position in the CFILC Systems Change grant. The Statewide Community Organizer provides leadership in organizing strategic, tactical and agreed upon methods of organizing on national, state, regional and local issues to create systemic change. The Statewide Community Organizer works with the Systems Change/Community Organizing Staff located at each of the 28 ILCs as well as disability community volunteers, coalitions, allies and disability organizational partners. This position requires extensive travel throughout California and occasionally out of state. This position is responsible to prepare program reports for funders and external communications using a variety of methods.

Please visit http://www.cfilc.org/jobs/job-details.php?id=218 for further details and how to apply.

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Threats to the ADA (H.R. 620)

May 12, 2017


Organizer’s Forum: Threats to the ADA (H.R. 620)

 
Tuesday, May 16, 2017; 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern
Call-in: 1-515-739-1285
Passcode: 521847#
RSVP online 

Learn about federal legislation that threatens the civil rights of people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and find out what you can do about it. The so-called ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) would make it difficult for people with disabilities to enforce their rights to access public accommodations under the ADA, by requiring the person to identify ADA violations, notify the business, and allow the business a lengthy period to provide access -- even though businesses have now had 27 years to comply with the law! On the call we'll talk about visits to members of Congress, and other ways you can stop this bill.
 
Speakers:

  • Marilyn Golden, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)

  • Claudia Center, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 


Note: New number! This is through freeconferencecall.com and will allow people who don't have long distance to join through their computers. Use this website: https://www.freeconferencecall.com/wall/organizersforum#/
 
Thank you to the National Disability Leadership Alliance for sponsoring the captioning of this call. If you need additional accommodations to participate in the call, please let NDLA know as soon as possible.
 
CART: https://2020captioning.1capapp.com
Username: forum
Password: forum
To ask questions via CART: sign-in to the chat function on the right side of the transcript and type your question. One of the call facilitators will read out any questions posted there.
Because we want to maximize the generously donated CART services, we will begin the call promptly at 1:00 p.m. Eastern 
Mark your calendars! The Organizer's Forum has a call on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Eastern.
 

Background:
 
The Organizing Workgroup of the National Disability Leadership Alliance hosts these calls the third Tuesday of every month as a resource for disability organizers, in an effort toward building the organizing capacity of the disability community across the country. They generally follow the format of a Welcome followed by 2-3 experts in a given area speaking for a few minutes on their experiences, advice and challenges. The calls include a 20-30 minute question and answer period.

Follow NCIL: Facebook & Twitter

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Welcome to the Disability Organizing Network (DOnetwork) website! The DOnetwork calls to action the California Disability Communities and allies, through community organizing, advocacy, education, leadership development and coalition building to effect systems change in local, state and national issues.

The CFILC Disability Organizing Network is a statewide disability advocacy network of 28 Independent Living Centers and the communities they serve. In each center there is a full time staff person devoted to increasing civic participation through community organizing, education and advocacy around issues that affect the Disability Communities.