ADAPT-Free Our People!
Constitutional Rights and Disability Rights
- In the United States, freedom is a concept that is not only seen as a fundamental value of the American people, but is frequently cited by our government, both its documents and our officials, as one of the most important concepts to keep in mind when drafting legislation. The Declaration of Independence included the iconic phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” unalienable rights endowed to us by the Creator. The preamble of the Constitution mentions “[securing] the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves” as one of the reasons for the creation of the document and the government that it establishes. Today, lawmakers from all over the political spectrum cite freedom as a motivation for putting forward various pieces of legislation, although they often disagree on how freedom should be interpreted and to whom it should belong.
One thing that we should all agree on, however, is that the protections of the Constitution don’t have a cut-off point, limited to some Americans while other Americans are determined to be “too disabled” to be entitled to their freedoms. Recently, conservative political and social commentator Ann Coulter pointed out that “there are no asterisks on the First Amendment,” meaning that First Amendment protections apply regardless of whether those on the other side of the political spectrum disagree with them. Similarly, there is no asterisk on the Constitution that says that our freedoms only apply to those who are deemed to be “non-disabled enough.” This is particularly important because many disabled people in the United States are being forced into nursing facilities and institutions where they are stripped of their personal liberties. They have essentially been deemed “too disabled” to live in their communities, go to school, work, marry, establish a home and bring up children. The only reason that’s the case is because they have been denied the supports that would allow them to live in freedom.
Why is this the case, and why can’t they receive care in their own home?
Right now, people with disabilities may be denied community-based long term services and supports by their states and insurance providers. These services include things such as attendant care. For example, a person who needs assistance with things such as dressing, eating, and toileting could have assistance from an attendant to complete these tasks in their home. However, securing attendant services in the United States can be difficult or sometimes impossible. You may be denied services because you have the wrong disability diagnosis or require too many hours of assistance. The state may also have a waiting list for services and you can’t get them until someone else goes into an institution or dies.
The Disability Integration Act (DIA), legislation introduced by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and soon to be introduced in the House by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), would change that. DIA would require public entities and insurance companies to provide long-term services and supports (LTSS) in the community as an alternative to institutionalization, and offer those already in institutions the ability to transition home and receive LTSS.
Disabled Americans shouldn’t be put on a waiting list for the freedom and liberty promised by the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by the Constitution. If you say you care about freedom and value liberty, you should believe in liberating people who have been institutionalized due to the failure to provide adequate services and support in the community. Republicans, Democrats and Independents should all support the Disability Integration Act.
– The ADAPT Community
Paul and Phyllis Fireman Foundation is set to take off.
- Due to significant level of gaming revenue which has left our state because of the development of gaming in surrounding states. This loss of revenue has depleted. A briefing with Paul Fireman’s senior advisors, Nevins McCann of Connell Foley and Maggie Moran of M Public Affairs is taking place on Wednesday, December 10th at 10am at Liberty National Golf Course, 100 Caven Point Road, Jersey City, NJ 07305. He is proposing a world class resort destination casino around the Liberty National Golf Course.
Are you trying to find a way to get involved and make a change?
Here are some ways to share your voice!
- Don’t forget to register to vote for the upcoming 2014 general election on November 4th. Deadline to register is October 14th! Your Choice, Your Vote!
- The Anti-Poverty Network, the Housing & Community Development Network, and other anti-poverty partners are collecting signatures to take the step the state needs to address affordable housing. There is a large pot of money designated for affordable housing at the municipal level. The money has already been collected in municipal Affordable Housing Trust Funds, but it cannot be used until COAH releases it. Commissioner Constable is being asked to regularly convene COAH to approve more plans and ensure that this resource can be used.
To read the letter click here and to sign on please email
- Protest the Raiding of the 2014 COC increase! Demand a 3% increase in 2015!
- Don’t Hang up on New Jersey
After Hurricane Sandy, Verizon announced it would not repair copper wire telephone lines that provide traditional service, which in turn has affected many families that have and have not been affected by Sandy directly.
Recently, in the state of New Jersey, Verizon is forcing customers onto poor quality, unregulated wireless products instead of fixing the problems with current land line cables. As a result, Verizon has been forcing customers to accept VoiceLink instead of traditional telephone service, in which monitored home services and medical alert services do not work, putting senior citizens and individuals with disabilities at great risk.
The New American Movement for People with Disabilities and Don’t Hang up on NJ Coalition are committed to protecting services for New Jersey families, especially our senior citizens and individuals with disabilities. We urge you to sign the following petition on behalf of Don’t Hang up on New Jersey Coalition, to urge the Board of Utilities and demand that they investigate Verizon’s refusal to repair landline service, forcing consumers to pay for a low-quality service called Voice Link which does not support monitored home and medical alert services.
A link to the petition can be found here.
- Interested in sharing your experiences with NJTRANSIT regarding Bus, Rail, Light Rail, or Access Link services? Click here
- The “Combating Autism Act” is up for re-authorization this year. This act was passed in 2005 to set priorities for federal autism research and surveillance activities and is opposed by the New American Movement for People with Disabilities, the self-advocacy movement, and our allies. Rather than supporting individuals with Autism in having a fulfilling life, the CAA’s primary mission is to eliminate people with autism. Reforms needed include:
- -Changing the name of the ‘Combating Autism Act’ to end the use of stigmatizing language
- -Only 2.4% of NIH’s autism research funding goes towards research on services and only 1.5% toward research on autistic adults. Reforms made need to re-evaluate and re-balance the Autism Research Agenda to include research on effective services and adults.
- -Prioritizing Funding for Autistic Adults
- -Changing the composition of the IACC to require that at least half of the public members be autistic people and to add representation by DOJ, NCD, HUD and other relevant service-oriented federal agencies