Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Trump's Justice Dept Place's Web Accessibility on "Inactive" List

The Trump Administration’s first Unified Agenda reveals DOJ has placed web accessibility, medical equipment, and furniture rulemakings under Title II and III of the ADA on Inactive List.

Federal agencies typically provide public notice of the regulations that are under development twice a year in the Unified Regulatory Agenda. The first Agenda the Trump Administration issued, which went online July 20, 2017, contains some very noteworthy changes from the last such Agenda, issued by the Obama Administration.
For the first time, the Agenda breaks down all agency regulatory actions into three categories: active, long-term, or inactive. While the Agenda does not define these terms, it appears that only the active and long-term matters receive a description and projected deadlines. The inactive matters appear on a PDF document under a link called “2017 Inactive Actions”.
The Agenda places the Department of Justice’s rulemakings under Titles II and III of the ADA for websites, medical equipment, and furniture of public accommodations and state and local governments on this 2017 Inactive Actions list, with no further information. Thus, as we had predicted, there will be no regulations about public accommodations or state and local government websites for the foreseeable future.
In the absence of website regulations, the courts are filling the void with a patchwork of decisions that often conflict with one another. The uncertain legal landscape has fueled a surge of lawsuits and demand letters filed and sent on behalf of individuals with disabilities alleging that the websites of thousands of public accommodations are not accessible.
The placement of the website and all other pending ADA Title III rulemaking activities (medical equipment and furniture) on the Inactive list is part of the Administration’s larger effort to reduce the number of regulations in development.  The Administration touted the following accomplishments on the Agenda’s homepage:
  • Agencies withdrew 469 actions that had been proposed in the Fall 2016 Agenda;
  • Agencies reconsidered 391 active actions by reclassifying them as long-term (282) and inactive (109), allowing for further careful review;
  • Economically significant regulations fell to 58 – about 50 percent fewer than Fall 2016;
  • For the first time, agencies will post and make public their list of “inactive” rules.
Seyfarth Synopsis: By  on 

Seyfarth’s ADA Title III team consists of attorneys with extensive experience in ADA Title III litigation located in many offices across the United States, including California where plaintiffs are most active. With additional litigators admitted to practice in virtually every jurisdiction in the country, we have the resources to defend our clients against lawsuits and investigations on a nationwide basis and provide consistent and efficient service in national engagements. We have successfully defended against or resolved hundreds of lawsuits brought under Title III of the ADA and applicable state laws.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Madagascar — A Musical Adventure - ASL Duo-interpreted / Audio-described performance at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier - August 20th

A wild and wacky adventure awaits Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, Melman the Giraffe and those pesky, plotting Penguins when they stage a jailbreak from New York’s Central Park Zoo. After busting out of their home and landing on the faraway island of Madagascar, these furry friends encounter the madcap antics of the outrageous King Julien and his fellow island inhabitants in a musical celebration of friendship. The nonstop escapades and rollicking pop score will have audiences of all ages wanting to “Move It, Move It!” with their favorite characters. Share the wonder and delight of live theater with the young people in your life this summer with this family-friendly 70-minute adaptation.

Sunday, August 20, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.
Access Prices:
$31 Adults, $17 Children (12 & under)

For more information, please visit 

Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier800 East Grand Avenue • Chicago, IL • 60611 • Box Office 312.595.5600

National Trends in Disability Employment Webinar August 4th, 2017

The next nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar Series, detailing findings of the latest Jobs Report release, announcements from the Disability Employment field, and a guest presentation by Wendy Parent-Johnson, Executive Director, Center for Disabilities, Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota, on Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment First.

The next nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar will take place on Friday, August 4, 2017 at 12 noon EST. Learn more about the July Jobs Report and how it fits into longer term employment trends, hear about programs and research across the country addressing employment and disability, and listen to experts in the field.
• 12:00 pm: Overview of National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE) Jobs Report Release – Andrew Houtenville, UNH-IOD & John O'Neill, Kessler Foundation
• 12:15 pm: News from the field of Disability Employment – Denise Rozell, AUCD
• 12:30 pm: Guest Panelist, TBD
• 12:45 pm: Open Question & Answer period for attendees     
Register for the nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar
Watch Webinar Recording
Download the Agenda & Bios
Download the Audio-Only Recording
View the Powerpoint Presentation
Download the Transcript
Read the nTIDE Report

About the nTIDE Lunch & Learn Webinar
The Employment Policy & Measurement Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (EPM-RRTC) at the University of New Hampshire, in partnership with Kessler Foundation and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) have launched a monthly webinar. On the first Friday of every month, corresponding with the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report, we will be offering a live broadcast via Zoom Webinar to share the results of the latest nTIDE findings. In addition, we will provide news and updates from the field of Disability Employment, as well as host an invited panelist who will discuss current disability related findings and events. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #nTIDElearn.

source: press release

Federal Complaint Exposes Philly Schools Ignoring Pervasive Bullying of Special Ed Students

Advocates say the Philadelphia School District has downplayed or ignored pervasive bullying of special education students in classrooms throughout the city, and they want federal education officials to open an investigation and order changes.

Article by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer for philly.com | July 27, 2017                                  
The Education Law Center-PA filed its complaint to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights on behalf of one district parent, but described bullying against four children. In announcing the action Thursday, the center said the problem is systemic and amounts to system-wide discrimination against children with disabilities, a group that includes thousands of Philadelphia students.

In some cases, it contends, the district failed to respond to or investigate instances of bullying, despite parent complaints over months and years.

A spokesman for the School District declined to discuss the allegations, but defended the district’s policy and response to bullying.

One parent cited in the complaint said Thursday that her 9-year-old son, a third grader with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was bullied for two full school years, targeted over his book bag and sneakers, his appearance, and his disabilities.

“My son is really terrified,” said the mother. Fearing reprisal, she asked that her name and the name of her child and his school be withheld. His name and those of other students were redacted in the publicly released complaint.

The woman said her son once suffered a concussion after classmates kicked and punched him and another time went to a hospital after students punched him in the genitals. School officials noted the bullying in their formal student evaluation but never addressed it, she said.

Once excited to go to school, the 9-year-old now shakes and vomits at the thought of returning, his mother said. He has talked about killing or harming himself. And when she recently suggested they soon would have to shop for school supplies, he panicked, crowding himself into a closet, crying.

“He said, ‘Mommy, please don’t make me go back to school,’” she said.

The boy’s experience is not isolated, said Alex Dutton, one of the lawyers who filed the complaint. Students have been called names and assaulted, suffering academic losses and emotional problems because of bullying. Parents have asked school officials to transfer their children, but have been refused. They have filled out forms airing their concerns, only to be told that their children were not being bullied.

“What we see is that parents, having tried for months to get the district to do something, make the rational choice to keep their children home on days when they are demonstrating extreme aversion to school,” Dutton said in a statement. “Rather than intervene in accordance with federal anti-discrimination laws, the district’s response was to refer these families to Truancy Court, where the problem is framed as a failure of the family. This is not only discriminatory, it erodes any semblance of trust between district staff and the families they serve.”

Jody Manning, an official with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center — an arm of a group that advocates for children with disabilities — said children with special needs are two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers. In Philadelphia, more than 18,000 students are considered disabled — about 14 percent of the student body in traditional public schools.

But, Manning pointed out, “school districts actually have a heightened obligation to protect these students” because of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Lawyers in the case are asking for individual relief for every student named in the complaint, but also systemic relief. They want federal officials to order the school system to allow administrative transfers for victims, to force revisions to the district’s bullying policy that make special considerations for students with disabilities, and to provide citywide training on the subject. The Office of Civil Rights must first make a determination whether the complaint warrants a formal investigation.

Lee Whack, a spokesman for the School District, said Thursday that he could not comment on the specifics of the complaint.

But, Whack said, “we actively and consistently investigate and address instances of bullying that are reported. If a child is ever harmed we act with urgency to remedy the situation. The safety of all students is our first priority.”
For More Philadelphia News visit philly.com

2017 Report on The 10 Best States for Disability Employment

Former President George H.W. Bush signed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act into law on July 26, 1990, reshaping American civil rights to also outlaw discrimination based on disability.

By Megan Trimble, Associate Editor, Social Media | U.S. News Report | July 26, 2017                       
Employing people with disabilities is now viewed not only as a civil right, but also as vital to state workforces and the economy.

Arkansas lands chief among the 2017 U.S. News Best States ranking for disability employment, based on an analysis of each state's gap in the unemployment rate. That gap is calculated as the ratio of people in the labor force with a disability over people in the labor force without a disability. The ranking is part of U.S. News' larger Best States for Equality ranking, which includes additional factors such as education, race and gender equality.

Arkansas is home to Arkansas Employment First – a state-backed group formed to begin a "long-range planning to support a culture change where people with disabilities are recognized for the contributions and capabilities they have to offer." The program is similar to other states' Employment First initiatives. Arkansas is one of at least 33 states that has a policy directive, executive order, official statement or legislation related to the Employment First state-level policy, according to the group.

Nevada and Mississippi follow the Bear State in ranking second and third for disability employment, respectively. Conversely, while Maine is the No. 1 Best State for Equality, its gap in the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is higher than in any other state.

These are the 10 best states for disability employment:
StateDisability Employment Rate RankOverall Equality RankOverall Best States Rank
West Virginia4341
New Mexico82346
Rhode Island92521

"The Independence Cup" Adaptive Sailing for Sailors with Disabilities in Chicago July 27 - 30, 2017

July 2017 - Ken Kelly survived a murder attempt in British Columbia. Bob Jones endured severe injuries from a car accident in Seattle. Both men lost the use of their legs from these tragic incidents.

But over the past twenty years, Bob and Ken have competed together in dozens of disabled sailing regattas throughout the world. Both were Paralympic sailors representing the United States and Canada, and this week will team up again on Lake Michigan.

It all began for them in the Freedom 20 class of boats in Chicago, IL. “Thanks to the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, we finally discovered a boat that allowed us to move comfortably and reach equipment,” says Jones. “Now, every spring we share the now familiar phrase, ‘See you in Chicago, buddy.’”

On July 27-30, nineteen boats will compete in the Independence Cup on Burnham Harbor in Chicago. Launched by the foundation, the Independence Cup is a premier regatta for sailors with disabilities. With three classes of boats offering singlehanded, doublehanded and triplehanded racing, the program’s fleet of boats – eight Sonars, eight Freedom Independence 20’s, and four 2.4 meter sailboats – are available at no cost to competitors.

The Independence Cup is held in downtown Chicago at Burnham Harbor. ADA-accessible hotel accommodations for visiting sailors, both domestic and foreign, is made courtesy of Hilton Hotels. Cook-Illinois Corp. offers complimentary accessible ground transportation vehicles for race participants. In addition, travel grants, the annual Independence Gala dinner, special Columbia Yacht Club barbecue and the awards dinner, provide a special, affordable sailing event for all interested disabled sailors.

“My father, Judd, was seventeen-years-old when he suffered a disabling bone disease,” says foundation president, Peter Goldman. “After realizing that there were few sports that he could participate in, he discovered sailing. During the next fifty-eight years he competed successfully in many races throughout the world.”

YouTube published by Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation

For 27 years, the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation has celebrated his legacy by helping people achieve self-esteem and independence through sailing.
Source: Mary Ann O’Rourke for Scuttlebutt Sailing News | July 25, 2017

Rod Stewart: 'I have to do something' for disabled kids and families' who Protest Trump's Healthcare Cuts

(CNN) - July 27, 2017 - Three weeks ago, a group of children with disabilities and their parents chartered a bus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and headed to Washington to protest proposed cuts in Medicaid, the government health insurance they all rely on.

By Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent for CNN | July 27, 2017                              
There was one problem. The trip cost about $30,000, and they'd raised only $7,000.

"I'm so nervous," organizer Angela Lorio said as she boarded the bus with her 4-year-old son, John Paul, who has severe disabilities.

She never dreamed that relief would end up coming from Sir Rod Stewart.

The rock icon was at his home in Palm Beach, Florida, on July 10 when he watched CNN's story about the families on "Erin Burnett OutFront."

The story didn't have a happy ending. Despite their best efforts, the families did not meet with their elected officials or anyone from the Republican National Committee.

Minutes after watching the piece, Stewart emailed his manager.

"I've just seen something on CNN that's heartbreaking. It was a group of families with severely disabled children who are driving to Washington to confront about health care cuts. See if you can find out who they are," Stewart wrote. "I'd like to help in some way.""He was so touched and heartbroken and actually teary," Arnold Stiefel, Stewart's manager for more than 30 years, told CNN. "He said to me 'As a father of eight I have to do something now.' "

Stiefel wrote back to Stewart: "I can't think of a better cause. By all means."

Stewart's team contacted Lorio and her friend Jessica Michot, co-founders of Trach Mommas of Louisiana, and wrote them a check that covered the remaining cost of the trip.

Lorio kept a video diary as she deposited "the biggest check of her life" Monday afternoon.

"This is amazing!" she said. "We love you, Rod -- thank you so, so much!"

In one of Stewart's most famous songs, "Forever Young," he sings: "May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam." He ended his concert Tuesday night at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey, with a video tribute to the families who took the road trip.

"Some of you may know that I live in America and pay my taxes here," the British singer said. "I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but I am a father."

Now Lorio looks back at how the bus trip almost didn't happen.

Over the July 4 holiday weekend, families from the Trach Mommas group had participated in protests in Baton Rouge. When they felt that lawmakers hadn't heard their voices, Lorio's husband, Neal, suggested traveling to Washington.

"I was like 'ha, ha, ha,' " she said.

The next day, Lorio and Michot attended the funeral of a 2-year-old girl, the daughter of one of the Trach Mommas.

The day after that, while in church, Lorio heard "that little voice of God" telling her to organize the trip.

"I was like -- seriously? God, if you want this to happen, you're going to have to do this for us," she said.

She never dreamed that Rod Stewart, whose music she'd listened to since she was a little girl, would be the one to step in.
"It was beyond our wildest dreams -- not just anybody paid for it, but Rod Stewart!" she said. "God always hears your prayers and answers them -- they just might not be answered in the way that you expect."
Copyright 2017 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dealing a serious blow to President Donald Trump's agenda, the Senate early Friday rejected a measure to repeal parts of former President Barack Obama's health care law after a night of high suspense in the U.S. Capitol.

Article by ERICA WERNER AND ALAN FRAM for the ASSOCIATED PRESS                          
Unable to pass even a so-called "skinny repeal," it was unclear if Senate Republicans could advance any health bill despite seven years of promises to repeal "Obamacare."

"This is clearly a disappointing moment," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "I regret that our efforts were not enough, this time."

"It's time to move on," he said. The vote was 49-51 with three Republicans joining all Democrats in voting 'no.'

McConnell put the health bill on hold and announced that the Senate would move onto other legislation next week.

Trump responded on Twitter: "3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!"

A key vote to defeat the measure was cast by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who returned to the Senate this week after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer. In an impassioned speech the day he returned, McCain had called for bipartisanship on major issues of national concern, and a return to the "regular order" of legislating by committee.

Two other Republicans - Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine - joined McCain and all Democrats to reject the amendment, which would have repealed a mandate that most individuals get health insurance and would have suspended a requirement that large companies provide coverage to their employees. It would have also suspended a tax on medical devices and denied funding to Planned Parenthood for a year.

On Twitter, McCain said the repeal bill "fell short of our promise to repeal & replace Obamacare w/ meaningful reform," adding, "I hope we can rely on humility, cooperation & dependence on each other to better serve the people who elected us."

The amendment was a last resort for Senate Republicans to pass something - anything - to trigger negotiations with the House.

"It's time to turn the page," said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York. "We are not celebrating. We are relieved."

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said in a statement that the Trump administration would pursue its health care goals through regulation. "This effort will continue," Price said. But insurers, hospitals, doctors, and consumer groups are pressing the administration to guarantee billions of dollars in disputed subsidies to help stabilize insurance markets around the country.

Buoyed by a signal from House Speaker Paul Ryan, McConnell had introduced a pared-down health care bill late Thursday that he hoped would keep alive Republican ambitions to repeal "Obamacare."

McConnell called his measure the Health Care Freedom Act. It was not intended to become law, but to open a path for a House-Senate conference committee to try to work out comprehensive legislation Congress could pass and send to Trump.

The Congressional Budget Office said the amendment would have increased the number of uninsured people by 16 million, the same problem that vexed all the "repeal and replace" measures Republicans have offered. Obama's law extended coverage to some 20 million people, reducing the nation's uninsured rate to a historic low of around 9 percent.

Still, Ryan, R-Wis., had seemingly opened a path for McConnell earlier Thursday by signaling a willingness to negotiate a more comprehensive bill with the Senate. Some Republican senators had been concerned that the House would simply pass McConnell's "skinny bill" and send it to Trump. That would have sent a shock wave through health insurance markets, spiking premiums.

Ryan sent senators a statement saying that if "moving forward" requires talks with the Senate, the House would be "willing" to do so. But shortly afterward, his words received varied responses from three GOP senators who'd insisted on a clear commitment from Ryan.

"Not sufficient," said McCain, who returned to the Capitol Tuesday. The 80-year-old McCain had been home in Arizona trying to decide on treatment options for brain cancer.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., initially said "not yet" when asked if he was ready to vote for the scaled-back Senate bill. But later, he told reporters that Ryan had assured him and others in a phone conversation that the House would hold talks with the Senate.

"I feel comfortable personally. I know Paul; he's a man of his word," said Graham.

As the convoluted developments played out, the slender 52-48 GOP majority was divided among itself over what it could agree to. Democrats were unanimously opposed.

After a comprehensive "repeal and replace" bill failed on the Senate floor, and a straight-up repeal failed too, McConnell and his top lieutenants turned toward the "skinny repeal."

It was to have been the ticket to negotiations with the House, which had passed its own legislation in May.

Opponents mobilized quickly against McConnell's new strategy.

The insurance company lobby group, America's Health Insurance Plans, wrote to Senate leaders Thursday saying that ending Obama's requirement that people buy insurance without strengthening insurance markets would produce "higher premiums, fewer choices for consumers and fewer people covered next year."

And a bipartisan group of governors including John Kasich of Ohio and Brian Sandoval of Nevada also announced against it. So did the American Medical Association.

Numerous polls had shown little public support for the GOP's earlier proposals to repeal and replace Obama's law. A recent AP-NORC poll found only 22 percent of the public backing the Republican approach, while 51 percent were opposed.

In the end the misgivings of a few Republican senators derailed the GOP's seven-year quest to roll back "Obamacare." It remains to be seen whether a bipartisan deal can now be reached to stabilize insurance markets that have been rattled by rising premiums and insurer exits.

The dizzying series of legislative maneuvers this week left even veteran senators puzzled.

"We're in the twilight zone of legislating," said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.
Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Stephen Ohlemacher and Kevin Freking contributed to this report.
© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Cancer Patient Sues New Jersey Agency, Discrimination of State Services of Person with A Disability

ASBURY PARK, N.J. — Four months after she learned she had breast cancer, Jennifer Giordano still didn't feel comfortable walking around her husband and children — let alone strangers — without a wrap to cover her bald head.

article by Steph Solis, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press | July 26, 2017                                                      
So when an employee at the Motor Vehicle Commission office in Eatontown refused to renew Giordano's license using an old photograph, she broke down sobbing. The employee insisted she remove her headscarf to take a new photograph, according to court documents.
"You have to take that thing off," Giordano, 40, of Brick, recalled the employee saying the afternoon of June 14.
Now Giordano is suing the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, alleging the agency discriminated against her and caused her emotional distress, noting that state law allows people undergoing medical treatment to use their old photographs for new licenses.

Eventually, another employee intervened and produced Giordano's license with her old photo, but Giordano wants to see the agency review its policies and train employees on how to treat patrons with medical or religious exemptions.

"That would be like me telling you, 'Take your shirt off, take your bra off and just walk around,' " said Giordano, recalling how she felt. "It's like exposing yourself in a very raw way that's not necessary, and then to have that picture on my license for years."
"If you're going through a chemotherapy regimen that causes you to lose your hair, you shouldn't be made to feel that way by anybody, especially a state agency," Giordano added. "They're kind of held to a higher standard."
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

Giordano, who moved to Brick from Ocean Township last year, said she needed the updated license so she could register for classes at Ocean County College. She plans to pursue a career in nursing — all while raising three boys and battling breast cancer.

State law dictates that motorists whose physical appearances may change during medical treatment can renew their license using an old photo. The extension of the old photo requires documentation from a doctor and can't exceed a year from the license's expiration date.

Giordano later learned the agency also allows people wearing headscarves for medical or religious reasons to keep them on for their new photos.
"The treatment Jennifer received at the MVC was appalling and illegal," her attorneys Richard Schall and Patricia Barasch said in a statement. "Breast cancer is a disability under the law and the MVC should not have harassed our client in this way — especially when the remedy — to use her old photograph — existed."
It's not the first time a cancer patient faced hurdles at an MVC in New Jersey. Joanne Jodry of Neptune City said in October 2015 that she was not allowed to get her license renewed with an old photograph when she went to the Freehold office. They said she had to take new photo wearing her headscarf.

Chemotherapy patients often experience nausea, fatigue and hair loss, as well as trauma from losing one's hair, according to the American Cancer Society.

"The loss of hair can cause a substantial amount of stress for some, if not many," said Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

Giordano's blonde curls started falling out two weeks into her chemotherapy treatment. She bought a wig and eventually switched to wearing headscarves. She said losing her curls, which she considered part of her identity, became a constant reminder of her battle against cancer.

"In our society, hair is a big deal, and then just not having it anymore — it's a lot," she said.

Just a few weeks ago, she started walking around bald in her house.

"It's been four or five months that I had it and I just now started to get a little more comfortable around my husband and children," she said. "I certainly didn't want to stand at the DMV full of strangers and take it off when I wasn't even walking around my own home like that."

Giordano was in a room full of people when she was told to remove her headscarf.

After about 10 minutes, another employee took Giordano's paperwork and produced a new license using her old photo. She asked Giordano to take a seat while it printed.

People walked up to Giordano as she waited for her license. According to the lawsuit, a woman claimed she overheard the first employee say, "Can you believe that b—? Does she think she is the only person who ever had cancer?"

When a manager approached Giordano with the license, she explained the situation. The manager said their policy allows people with headscarves for medical or religious reasons, according to the lawsuit.

"Clearly, she doesn't know that," Giordano said, pointing to the first employee.

The experience has stuck with Giordano; she still breaks down when she recalls what happened. The lawsuit, she says, is the only way she could think to ensure the agency would train its employees to handle such situations better.

"Sometimes our voice is our only weapon," Giordano said. "This is not OK to treat people this way, especially in this day and age where hate seems to be so prevalent and judgment seems to be so prevalent."

FOR  A VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER GIORDANO, VISIT:http://www.app.com/story/news/local/eatontown-asbury-park/2017/07/26/take-thing-off-cancer-patient-sues-over-treatment-mvc/507611001/

Dollar General Sued by Feds For Disability Discrimination and Retaliation

Portal, Ga., Store Manager Refused to Interview Applicant After Seeing Her Arm in a Sling, Federal Agency Charges
July 25, 2017 - The owner-operator of a Georgia Dollar General store violated federal law by discriminating against a job applicant because of her disability and because she complained to the company's human resources department about the discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, on or about Sept. 7, 2015, Terri Mosley applied for a sales associate position at a Portal, Ga., Dollar General store, where she was a frequent shopper. When Mosley appeared for an interview, the store manager refused to interview her, stating, "I didn't know it was you," and told Mosley that she could not work at Dollar General "with that arm." Mosley's left arm had been injured in an automobile accident two years earlier. Mosley promptly contacted Dollar General's human resources department to complain about the discrimination. After doing so, she was never contacted by the store manager for an interview.
Such conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Dolgencorp, LLC d/b/a Dollar General, Civil Action No. 6:17-cv-00100) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The federal agency seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for Mosley, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.
"Managers and owners cannot refuse to consider workers for open positions because of disabilities," said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC's Atlanta District Office.
Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office, added, "People have the right to be considered for employment, regardless of whatever disabilities they may have. We want employers, especially large, national employers, to understand their duties under the law."
Dolgencorp, LLC, is a Kentucky corporation operating more than 12,000 Dollar General retail stores across the country.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.
source: EEOC press release

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

U.S. Department of Transportation Fines Frontier Airlines $400,000, Lack of Assistance for Passengers with Disabilities

In a press release on July 21, 2017 the U.S. Department of Transportation fined Frontier Airlines $400,000. The Denver-based company violated procedures by bumping passengers from oversold flights and not properly helping disabled passengers.
The report found passengers with disabilities didn't receive prompt and adequate assistance getting on and off airplanes, and they weren't helped inside terminals.
“Frontier remains committed to complying with DOT rules and regulations,” Frontier said in a statement. “During this investigation, Frontier reviewed outdated procedures that were not effective; these have since been updated.

 The U.S. Department of Transportation also fined  American Airlines and Delta Air Lines for other violations, according to the transportation department, but Frontier must pay the largest amount.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation press release

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Senate Advances On Obamacare Repeal, Healthcare Advocates Fight For Medicaid - 64 Arrests

Many health care advocates were arrested at a Senate building, including several disabled activists.

article by Kaeli Subberwal for HUFFPOST | July 25, 2017
Crowds of protesters flooded the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building on Tuesday to protest efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, making the halls echo with now-familiar chants: “I’d rather go to jail than die of no Medicaid!” and “No cuts to Medicaid! Save our liberty!”

The protests came as the Senate voted on a motion to proceed with a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The procedural measure, which passed 51-50, allows Congress to move ahead with its goal to repeal Obamacare. As the Senate voted on the motion to proceed, protesters in the Senate gallery chanted, “Kill the bill! Don’t kill us!”

While the Senate prepared to vote on the bill, the line along the wheelchair ramp leading into the Hart Building snaked onto the sidewalk. Once protesters, representing groups including ADAPT, an organization of disability rights activists, and the National Council on Independent Living, entered the building, they gathered into a group and began their chants calling for Republicans to end their fight to repeal Obamacare.

Many of the protesters were in Washington for the annual conference of the National Council on Independent Living, which held a rally on the West Front Lawn of the Capitol earlier Tuesday.

The rally’s speakers included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. Schumer emphasized the moral significance of the impending vote, saying, “You are reminding everybody how dismantling Medicaid is the wrong, inhumane way to go.”

Ashley Bridwell, a participant in the Hart Building protest, said that the benefits people with disabilities accrue from Medicaid are not luxuries.

“If the bill passes and Medicaid is cut by 30 percent, there are people in this room that will die as a result of the legislation and the cuts in the funding,” said Bridwell, who serves on the board of directors of a Phoenix-based center for independent livi

The consequences of a repeal are very real for protester Dina Garcia of Los Angeles. Garcia, her husband and their 11-year-old son would all be affected if Medicaid were cut. She vowed she would keep hounding Republicans to fight against the repeal.

“It’ll hurt so many people with disabilities,” Garcia said.

As the protesters continued chanting in the atrium of the Hart Building, a police officer raised a megaphone and warned them to desist or risk arrest. Slowly, protesters from the outskirts began to trickle away, and police officers formed a circle around the remaining crowd.

The police cordoned off the protesters with yellow police tape and began to arrest people one by one. Many of those arrested were in wheelchairs. As they progressed toward the door, each arrestee was heralded with applause; on their way out, many raised a hand in a victorious fist. 

Sixty-four people were arrested, according to a press release from the United States Capitol Police.
Although the atmosphere at the Hart Building was one of defiance and determination, the Affordable Care Act that the protesters were fighting to protect faces its biggest challenge yet in the aftermath of Tuesday’s vote.

“It’s crazy,” Bridwell said, “that for the first time we’re actually talking about it in terms of life and death.”

President.Trump Proclaims July 26, 2017, a Day in Celebration of the 27th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

The White House
July 25, 2017

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On the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we celebrate the landmark legislation that marks our Nation's commitment to ending discrimination against people with disabilities. The ADA's recognition of the inherent dignity of disabled persons solidified America's status as the world leader in protecting fundamental rights.  Today, we pay special respect to the contributions of the more than 56 million Americans living with disabilities, and we look forward to further advancing accessibility for all those who need it.
President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA on July 26, 1990, and for 27 years it has been instrumental in protecting the rights and liberties of people with disabilities and strengthening their access to everyday American life. Disabilities are an unavoidable part of the human experience veterans injured in service to their Nation, survivors of accidents and illnesses, children born with disabilities, and our elderly.  Since its inception, the ADA has helped empower people living with disabilities by ensuring they have fair and just access to employment, government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and public transportation.
Americans are justifiably proud of the ADA and its accomplishments, but more can be done to protect the rights and dignity of Americans living with disabilities.  Disabled Americans in the workforce already contribute substantially to our Nation's productivity and prosperity.  We must continue to empower them by breaking down obstacles that prevent their full participation in the public and economic affairs of our Nation.  In addition, my Administration will encourage American ingenuity and technological advancements in medicine and science, which will give millions of Americans with disabilities opportunities to work, engage in commerce, and connect with others in ways we could not have imagined 27 years ago.
On the anniversary of the ADA, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering an environment that provides all Americans with the opportunity to pursue their American dream.  Let us all take this time to refocus our efforts to support our fellow Americans and help them succeed, no matter the obstacles they may face.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 26, 2017, as a day in celebration of the 27th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that celebrate the contributions of Americans with disabilities and to renew our commitment to achieving the promise of our freedom for all Americans.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

Source: press release
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Wade Blank 1940-1993, Disability Rights Movement Advocate Remembered

The following history of ADAPT's founder Wade Blank, a non-disabled former nursing home recreational director who assisted several residents to move out and start their own community. The Atlantis Community. The below article from the Ragged Edge- July/August 1993 will offer a look into the history and achievement's of Wade Blank and fellow advocates. Also below is a remembrance by Justin Dart after the unexpected passing of his friend, and fellow advocate.
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Article published by the Ragged Edge- July/August 1993.

Wade Blank

The death of the Reverend Wade Blank on February 15, 1993, left a profound emptiness in the hearts of many people who loved and respected him. But any void in the disability rights movement is only momentary, for Blank left behind scores of human values, a keen analysis – and scores of skilled, committed leaders ready to carry the movement forward.

American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT) and its mother, the Atlantis Community in Denver, both embody the spiritual, organizational and strategic lessons Blank carried over from the 1960s black civil rights movement. He had been a Presbyterian minister, a War on Poverty field organizer and a disciple of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., before becoming an orderly, then an assistant administrator, in a Denver nursing home.

Liberated Community
Early in his career as a iconoclastic minister and civil rights worker, Blank developed the concept of a "liberated community" – a society where human beings could live in equality and develop the power to effect change. When, at the Heritage House nursing home, he found himself in the midst of a "community" of people with severe disabilities, whose only community structure was one of oppression – the confines of the institution – he took on the challenge of making the "liberated community" a reality.

It all started when Blank came to Denver seeking a change. "The nursing home industry in Denver recruited its nursing home administrators from the ranks of ex-ministers," he recalled recently… A nursing home executive called Blank. "They said, ‘You’re young. You’re hip. Could you start a youth wing for us?’ So, I started a youth wing."

Hired by Heritage House in December 1971, Blank went to visit the residents the evening before he began his new job. "I remember for dinner that night we had baked potatoes, applesauce and scrambled eggs, and that was near Christmas. The place was like a morgue. The food was cold." Blank chatted with severely disabled individuals, some of whom would later become ADAPT organizers. "Little did I know," Blank recalled, "that I was to enter the most important moment of my life.

"I had 60 young people I recruited. Every morning at 7:30, they’d get dressed and get on a school bus, and go to a workshop and count fish hooks. Called it (a) work activities program."

At council meetings of the young people, the residents made simple requests, and an idealistic Blank tried to implement them. "I let them evaluate the nurses," he said. "They wanted co-ed living. They wanted to have pets. They wanted to have rock ‘n’ roll bands. So three years into this experiment, the nursing home is just like a college dorm on a crazy weekend all the time.

"I was trying to change it from inside, and I didn’t understand the monster I worked for," he recalled.

Outside of the Home
In 1975, Blank proposed "that we move a few of them out into apartments, and we let the aides and orderlies punch in at the nursing home, then go to the apartment and give them service." That idea got Blank fired. "The nursing home saw where I was going, and they couldn't let me go in that direction."

Once Blank was fired, the nursing home erased all his reforms. "They came in and they took all the stereos and TVs out of everybody’s rooms, had the dog pound come by and get all the animals and in one day it went from everything I’d built for four years – to that."

But Blank wasn’t about to give up. Thinking to himself that he’d "recruited all these people to this hell," he decided simply to move them out "and do the care myself…

Atlantis Community
"Within the first six months, I’d moved 18 severely disabled people out. So now I was wed to the concept. You know, I couldn’t walk away from it."

That exodus laid the foundations for the Atlantis Community and its political-action offshoot, ADAPT. "We began t learn about power and what empowerment is, and how to use it," Blank said. While Atlantis was liberating people from nursing homes, ADAPT (which then stood for American Disabled for Accessible Public Transit) took on discrimination in Denver’s, and then the nation’s, bus systems. Using non-violent, direct-action tactics similar to King’s movement, ADAPTers made bold demands and achieved extraordinary results.

Blank had found himself at the center of another civil rights campaign, similar to the one he had seen African Americans wage. "All the issues are the same," Blank asserted. "The black movement wanted to ride the buses equally. The black movement wanted to eat at the Woolworth’s counters. The black movement wanted the right to vote. The black movement wanted the right to keep their families together. The black movement wanted the right to be integrated into the school system. That’s what the disability rights movement wants, exactly…

"My members are into confrontation. We’ll tell somebody what we want, and we’ll talk about it once or twice, but that’s it. Then we deal with you. Either we’ll shut you down or whatever."

Confrontation worked, Blank believed, because it took society’s fears – those fears we’re always trying to dispel in disability awareness workshops – and turned them to a new use…

"So I said," (Blank explained, recalling earlier successes in the black civil rights movement), "…‘Let’s take 25 wheelchairs and go out and surround a bus and hold it and see what happens." Bam! Just like magic. It worked. Total power. Police couldn’t move the wheelchairs because they were afraid. The mayor said, ‘Don’t arrest disabled people.’ We win…"

Focus on Fundamental Human Rights
Blank’s focus on fundamental human rights and on the most impoverished members of the disability community distanced him from more affluent groups. In this, too, he emulated Martin Luther King. "King involved the poorest in the community," Bank said, "and a movement cannot really change things unless they address the poorest, the least. When King was shot, he was beginning to attack the ghettos." For Blank, "Our ghettos are the nursing homes, and we need to address the ghetto."

Blank attacked not only the mainstream disability movement’s economic hierarchy but also its disability hierarchy. "You go around to independent living centers and you’ll see a lot of post-polios and a lot of spinal cord injuries," he said. "But you won’t see people that slobber and can’t speak clearly…" These are the people often excluded or left behind by more "respectable" advocacy organizations, he pointed out…

Blank found leadership qualities in people who had never before thought of being leaders: former nursing home residents, people with speech impairments, people labeled retarded and others typically disenfranchised both by society at large and by traditional disability organizations. Blank had little patience for people who put their own egos or their own careers above the movement.

But more people were and are being empowered every year to free Americans with disabilities from institutions. All are encouraged to help plan protests, identify issues and targets, hold press conferences, and become a part of the "liberated community."

# article originally published in the Ragged Edge- July/August 1993
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photo: Wade Blank with his son Lincoln and fellow Atlantis cofounder Michael Auberger celebrate the laying of the plaque, dedicated to the original protesters - The Gang of 19 - who blocked the intersection to protest the inaccessible buses in 1978.

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The Reverend Wade Blank, 1940-1993 is a tribute to Wade Blank written by Justin Dart in 1993.

Press Release in 1993:                                                                                                                            
The President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities 
Justin Dart, Chairman

The Reverend Wade Blank, 1940-1993

Disability rights leader Wade Blank died on February 15 in rough seas off of a beach at Todos Santos, Mexico. He was trying, unsuccessfully, to save his drowning eight year old son, Lincoln.

It is always a tragedy when great lives are cut short by apparently preventable events. But to dwell on the tragedy of Wades Blank’s death would be a very large disservice to the future. Wade’s life is the message. His existence was a towering triumph that demands to be shouted, to be heard, to be acted on.

Unlike others who participated in the sixties revolution for a rational society, Wade did not give up the struggle when it became unfashionable. In 1974 he founded [the first Center for Independent Living in Colorado,] the Atlantis Community in Denver – a radical program to enable people with severe disabilities to leave the isolation of nursing homes and live in the mainstream. Atlantis was a success. But it soon became apparent that the mainstream itself was polluted by devastating discrimination which prevented people with disabilities from fulfilling their humanity.

In the tradition of Martin Luther King, Wade made equal access to bus transport the symbol of full equality: “Rosa Parks protested the indignity of being forced to sit in the back of the bus. We can’t get on the bus at all.” On July 5th and 6th, 1978, he and nineteen people with disabilities illegally detained an inaccessible bus at the intersection of Broadway and Colfax in Denver. ADAPT was born – American Disabled for Accessible Public Transit. During the next twelve years hundreds of ADAPT activists blocked buses, streets, hotels and government buildings across North America. They filled the police records of the jails of Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Little Rock, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Reno, Montreal and Washington, DC. Wade, Mike Auberger, Bob Kafka, Mark Johnson, George Roberts, Larry Ruiz, Rick James, Stephanie Thomas and Anita Cameron were arrested 15-30 times each. Molly Blank, Babs Auberger, Frank McComb, Lori Eastwood, Bobby Simpson, Melvin Conrady, Beverly Furnice, Joe Carle, Karen Tarnley, Ann Sawtel, Sue Davis, Diane Coleman and many others were co-heros in the long struggle.

In March of 1990, with the fate of the ADA hanging in the balance, Wade organized the historic march of disability rights leaders from the White House to the US Capitol to demand a law that would provide full equality, “with no weakening amendments.”

People with severe disabilities crawled up the Capitol steps and were arrested demonstrating in the rotunda. ADA passed in July – with no weakening amendments. Without the courage and inspiration of Wade Blank and his colleagues, the world would not have its first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities.

After the passage of ADA, knowing that the job of justice was far from completed, Wade and the members of ADAPT refocused their advocacy. They demanded that the federal government provide funds for personal assistance services that would enable persons with disabilities now trapped in nursing homes to live free in their communities. The demonstrations – and the arrests – continue. Progress is being made. President Clinton has promised to form a task force that will create a national program of personal assistance services.

Some – mostly those that didn’t know him – have said that Wade’s methods were “extreme.” They said that civil disobedience in the eighties and nineties is “passe,” “obsolete,” “inappropriate.” The same kinds of things were said about Washington, Jefferson, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. What is extreme, what is inappropriate is millions of human beings living with less dignity than we accord to our pet dogs and cats. What is inappropriate is American citizens imprisoned without due process of law in oppressive institutions and rat infested back rooms. What is inappropriate is people with disabilities living and begging in the streets. What is inappropriate, what is unspeakably immoral, is a society that cannot be bothered to make the simple changes necessary to give its own children the opportunity of full humanity.

It has been my privilege to work closely with Wade Blank during the last several years. He demonstrated against a meeting I chaired – when HHS Secretary Louis Sullivan spoke at the 1991 PCEPD annual conference in Dallas. We counseled together by telephone at all hours of the day and night. We served together on the ADA Congressional Task Force and in negotiating ADA with the President of Greyhound. We marched together for equality in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington. We were together in the freezing midnight outside the barricaded Department of Transportation in Washington. I never put myself in a position to be arrested. Wade said that was alright, because I could play a positive role within the system. I was never sure in my heart that I was on the right side of the bars. I knew he was.

Wade Blank was a sensitive philosopher of Democracy. He was a superb organizer. He was a mature, sophisticated politician. He had total honesty and total follow through. You could take his promises to the bank. These are rare and good qualities, but they alone would not have enabled him to use an unfashionable method to lead an unfashionable cause to an historic victory.

Wade had a magic sword. It was love. Unlike many with religious labels, he understood and lived the central commandment of his God, “that ye love one another as I have loved you.” He understood that love is not just smiling at nice people, but passionate, lifelong action to preserve and enlarge the joy, the dignity, the quality of every human life. He understood that love does not smother with criticism, care and control; it encourages, emancipates and empowers. He understood that love for all means justice for all.

Wade’s leadership of love made ADAPT the family for those who had no family, the family with justice, with hope, with transcending fulfillment. Wade’s love warmed and empowered us all. It breached the defenses and won the respect of Congresspersons, businesspersons, policepersons, jailers, judges and mayors. Again and again, it lifted my heart and my mind from selfcentered desperation of Washington politics to the dream.

Before he died, Wade planned a series of demonstrations for personal assistance services to be held in Washington, DC, on May 9th, 10th and 11th. These will go forward in his honor. There will be a tribute to him on Sunday, May 9th, at the Lincoln Memorial. Let us join together in memory of Wade – on May 9th, today, tomorrow, as long as life remains – to continue his struggle for a truly human society.

Let us pick up his sword of love and truth and courage, and use it – each in our own way – to cut the chains of all who are slaves to pity, prejudice and paternalism. Let us join in one voice to shout his shout – “free our people.” Let us embrace his golden heritage of responsible action for life, enlarge it in our own lives, and invest it in the lives of all who will come.

Wade, we love you. That’s easy. We will try our best to love each other as you loved us.

– Justin Dart
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"How Wade Blank Became a Disability Activist"
John Holland of Denver, Colorado speaks about working at the forefront of disability civil rights law as he protested and advocated alongside Wade Blank.
The is part of the "It's Our Story" project, there are many additional videos telling of the history and the people of the Disability Rights Movement.
YouTube published by It's Our Story