This month is Action August! There are so many important issues you can take action on this month, and best of all—you don’t have to make a single phone call! Read on to learn about all of the opportunities for advocacy during Action August.
All of us were stunned and outraged when a federal appeals court overturned the FDA’s ban on electric shock devices used at the Judge Rotenberg Center. As long as the residents of the JRC, most of whom are disabled people of color, are in danger, our work is not done. ASAN is having conversations with our partners and allies on Capitol Hill about next steps to end torture at the JRC. Once we have a clearer picture of what kind of Congressional action will be most effective, we’ll update you with a new action alert. In the meantime, there is a lot of great grassroots advocacy happening right now. Auteach has put out this guide to asking prominent organizations to condemn the electric shock torture used at the JRC. There’s also an effort in the Massachusetts state legislature, where the JRC is located, to stop the shock. You can also send emails in support of Massachusetts Bill H.225, which would ban aversive “treatments” like electric shocks.
- Expand HCBS
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many of the dangers of institutionalization. Expanding home- and community-based services (HCBS) would ensure that disabled people can live in our communities while also getting the services and supports we need to thrive. We can make it happen by calling and emailing our members of Congress and urging them to include the Better Care, Better Jobs Act (BCBJA) in the next COVID relief package. The BCBJA will provide $400 billion in funding for HCBS, expanding services, wages, and jobs. Contact your Members of Congress in the House and Senate! Urge them to include and prioritize the full $400 billion investment in the infrastructure of Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) as they negotiate the current budget reconciliation package.
- Improve SSI
Almost 8 million Americans rely on SSI to meet their basic needs. But for nearly 50 years, public policy has forced those disabled Americans to live in poverty. Urge your members of Congress to include long-overdue improvements to SSI in the next COVID-19 recovery package. The necessary changes include the most basic of improvements, including increasing the maximum amount that SSI will provide a disabled beneficiary to live on to at least 100% of the federal poverty line—currently, the maximum SSI provides is far below what is considered to be “poverty.”
- End subminimum wage
Over 80 years have passed since the Fair Labor Standards Act excluded disabled people from minimum wage protections, and more time is passing as bills like the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act stall in the halls of power. It is past time to right this wrong. Let your members of Congress know you won’t stand by while members of our community are paid subminimum wages.
- End restraint & seclusion
Restraint and seclusion can be life-threatening and are often incredibly traumatic. They are disproportionately used on students with disabilities and students of color. The Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA) would ban almost all kinds of restraint and all kinds of seclusion across all 50 states, and would require school districts to collect data to prevent further use of these dangerous practices. Disabled students deserve better than restraint and seclusion, and passing KASSA is an important step forward that our community wants and needs. Tell Congress to act now by contacting your members of Congress with our easy-to-use email tool.
Want more ways to take action after you’ve emailed? You can also call or tweet your Members of Congress about many of these important topics!
You can find information for your representative here:
You can find information for your senators here:
Want to make a call, but unable to speak on a phone call due to a disability? Our Proxy Calling system is open for Action August! Want to help someone else make a call? Consider signing up to be a proxy caller.
We also have a Facebook event that you can share with friends about Action August, available here: https://www.facebook.com/events/982742275894245/
Whether you take action on one or all of these issues, your advocacy is extremely important this month. Thank you for taking action for our community!