This has been a hard month.
The failure to indict the officers who murdered Breonna Taylor painfully illustrates the systemic racism in the U.S. court system and our society’s inadequate response to police violence. Police violence affects people with disabilities, especially Black people with disabilities, every day, and the disability community must work against it. This month, ASAN worked with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities on their statement about police violence against people with disabilities, supporting solutions to police violence that center disabled people of color, reduce law enforcement’s power to do harm, and redistribute resources towards community-based, high quality, trauma-informed mental health services for people in crisis. This includes supporting legislation such as the Counseling Not Criminalization Act, which would divert federal funding away from police in schools to pay for counselors and other positive supports.
This month, ASAN also continued our advocacy on other crucial issues facing the disability community, including our right to equal COVID-19 Treatment. We released comments demanding that when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, people with disabilities have equitable access to it. We are also protecting our right to medical supporters in hospitals. Even with social distancing policies in effect, people with disabilities are always entitled to reasonable accommodations, including in-person access to individualized communication supports and services.
ASAN co-led a joint letter by disability groups in solidarity with immigrant and reproductive health care and justice groups calling for an immediate stop to the forced sterilizations being performed on immigrant women at the Irwin County Detention Center. We believe the Irwin County Detention Center and all ICE detention facilities must be closed, and call for the defunding of further ICE activity until all ableist, racist, and eugenic immigration policies are rescinded.
In these difficult times, it’s easy to feel like one person can’t do anything, especially when the government refuses to enact policies that would address the issues facing us. However, there are things each person can do to make our voices heard.
- Ensure you are registered to vote, and make your voting plan! You can check your registration here. We have released a new resource on voting by mail. We have state-by-state information on how to request a ballot, when to send it in, and more!
- Encourage your friends to register to vote! We want people to have their voices heard in this election. If your friends have questions about voting or voting by mail, you can send them our voting toolkits and guides.
- Complete the census! The census deadline has been extended, so make sure to #GetCounted as soon as possible! The census is important because it is used to figure out how much money state and local governments get for Medicaid, housing vouchers, and more. It also affects political representation, because it is used to determine how many representatives each state gets in the House of Representatives. Don’t let your community miss out on important funds – get counted today!
Even during the most difficult times, your advocacy makes progress possible. This month, we were excited to see the US Commission on Civil Rights’ statement that the subminimum wage for people with disabilities is unethical. Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act has allowed discriminatory employment practices to continue for far too long. The Commission recommends phasing it out and expanding capacity for competitive integrated employment — jobs in the community where people with disabilities work alongside, are paid the same wages and benefits, and have the same employment opportunities — as their co-workers without disabilities.
We’ve also been preparing for our 2020 Virtual Gala! This year’s gala will last several days and is donate-what-you-can. We’re so excited to share the gala with disability community members and allies from across the country and around the world, who usually wouldn’t be able to attend in-person. There will be lots of new, exciting ways for you to participate like twitter chats, panels, and more. Everyone’s welcome. We hope you’ll join us to celebrate self-advocacy, even in the toughest of times.
We wish you all the best during this period of transition.
Director of Operations
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
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