Our thoughts are with all of you during this difficult and uncertain time. For many people with disabilities, the coronavirus pandemic is an especially serious threat, not only to our health, but to the services and supports that we depend on. Many of us are isolated right now. But we are not alone. Over the last few weeks, all of us at ASAN have been encouraged by the many stories of people with disabilities doing incredible work to support each other.
ASAN is also working hard to keep our community safe through the pandemic. Here’s what we’ve been working on:
- Advocacy – As Congress developed its coronavirus relief packages, ASAN worked in coalition with other disability and civil rights groups to advocate on behalf of our community. The latest legislation takes some much-needed steps to protect people with disabilities, but leaves many of our community’s most critical needs unaddressed. We’ll keep holding Congress accountable as they develop further legislative responses. You can read our statement on last week’s coronavirus relief package here.
- Grassroots Action – We created action alerts to help you call on your elected officials to give people with disabilities #WhatWeNeed in this time of crisis. Thanks to your advocacy, people with disabilities who rely on benefits will be able to receive stimulus checks, and many programs that are vital to our community received additional funding. We’ll let you know when it’s time to reach out to your elected officials again.
- Legal Action – ASAN joined a complaint against Washington state, challenging aspects of the state’s coronavirus response plan which could lead to discrimination & denial of care for people with disabilities. Over the past week, we’ve filed additional complaints against other states with HHS’ Office of Civil Rights, and in the coming weeks we anticipate filing many more.
This is a scary time for our community, but people with disabilities know how to protect each other. We saw that earlier this month, when the FDA finalized the regulation ending the use of shock devices at the Judge Rotenberg Center, an advocacy victory that many thought was impossible. We are not powerless in this moment, and we will use all the power we have to fight for our community — every one of us, for as long as it takes.
Wishing you a safe spring,
Autistic Self Advocacy Network