Memories from the Celebration

ACCESS IS THE BEST MEDICINE: Fighting for Equality in Health Care

Photos and Videos from DREDF’s 37th Anniversary

September 15, 2016

Ed Roberts Campus, Berkeley, California

Mary Lou and Denise seated at a table and laughing.

Left to right: Mary Lou Breslin and Denise Sherer Jacobson

Continue Reading Memories from the Celebration

Disability Rights Museum on Wheels at the ERC

The Disability Rights Museum at the ERC

Continue Reading Disability Rights Museum on Wheels at the ERC

Support the Center for Independent Living – Kathmandu, Nepal

Staff at CIL – KathmanduAt the end of 2013, I had the good fortune to visit Nepal as part of an exchange on disability and leadership. While I was in Kathmandu, I visited the Center for Independent Living – Kathmandu and discovered what an amazing crew they are. Before the earthquake, the CIL–Kathmandu was already doing very cool work in a very inaccessible environment. After the news of the earthquake,I could only imagine what it must be like for them and our sisters and brothers with disabilities now, so I checked in with CIL–K, and indeed they are working in an even more challenging environment.

The CIL provides typical IL services, and advocates for government support for personal assistance services. You can check out my blog post about my visit with them.

As you might guess, they could use an influx of funds right now to assist people with disabilities — not many response groups in Nepal are focused on our community.

DREDF has volunteered to collect donations and wire 100% of the funds received to CIL Kathmandu’s bank. All donations are tax deductible.

Donations of any size will help — Nepal is a poor country and US dollars go a long way. By sending funds directly to CIL–K, we’ll ensure that people with disabilities are recipients of relief efforts.

You can mail checks to DREDF at the address below — write CIL–Kathmandu on the memo line.

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
3075 Adeline Street, Suite 210
Berkeley, CA 94703

Or, use PayPal linked from our website and add CIL-Kathmandu in the “add special instructions to the seller” field.

Your gifts will be restricted to the CIL–Kathmandu relief effort.

Below is an account from a CIL–Kathmandu board member:

I am Alive!

Board Member of CIL-Kathmandu, Deependera Shakya, having cerebral palsy disability is safe now but his old house completely collapsed.

“I was alone on bed at home. My mother was out to bring water. Suddenly my home with laud strange sound started to swing terribly. I couldn’t recognize what is going on. I heard people shouting ‘run! run! Earthquake — earthquake!’ I felt panic and tried to shout but couldn’t because of disability. I saw crack on house and some bricks were falling down. Immediately my mother entered with panic face. She was asking help mentioning my existence at home. Nobody came to help us. My mother took me on her arms and slowly brought me down to street. Some bricks were still falling from edge side of home. When we reached to the open space we saw our home completely collapsed. All my things with dream went under the rubble. Any way I’m alive with my mother. Now we are living in tents, facing challenges to cope with cold that rose from the continuous rains. First time I felt horror of death. I thank to my mother for giving me new birth. After realizing I’m alive I’m worrying about lives of my friends. Whatever I faced was out of imaginary and don’t wish for same to my friends. I’m praying for the safety of my friends living in and outside valley”

Banned from Bingo

Bingo cardsAnn Clinton loves playing bingo, but her retirement community won’t let her join her friends to play the game since she moved from an independent living apartment to the skilled nursing floor of the Redstone Village Continuing Care Retirement Community in Huntsville, Alabama. She has been excluded from bingo, which takes place on the independent living floor, because she is disabled. The reasons cited by Redstone Village have to do with enforcement of arbitrary policies that forbid residents from leaving the nursing floor unaccompanied. Ms. Clinton has Parkinson’s and now uses a motorized scooter for mobility. In 2012, Ms. Clinton and her husband, who is now deceased, paid a deposit of $351,424 plus $4,600 a month to live in a facility that promised to provide for their needs as they aged. Being banned from bingo, therefore, must surely feel like a horrible betrayal.

While CCRC’s arbitrary and inflexible policies are inexcusable, what troubles me even more than the company’s discriminatory rules is the attitudes and behavior of the residents in the independent living section of the facility. They no longer want Ms. Clinton to play bingo with them, apparently because she now has a mobility device and requires the additional help provided on the skilled nursing floor. In essence, they have rejected Ms. Clinton because she has a significant disability. Their own prejudice against people with disabilities, and their fears about aging and increased impairment are at the heart of this betrayal. I wonder: What if they, too, become disabled? Have they really not thought about how they would like others to treat them if they became less mobile as they age? Is their denial and fear that strong? I would have hoped and expected them to champion her cause, not turn against her, knowing that they themselves might one day soon have to deal with the same discriminatory system.

This is not an isolated case. There have been other accounts of this form of discriminatory action occurring in CCRCs around the country. I was glad to read that Ms. Clinton’s son is planning on filing a lawsuit. The AARP and the National Senior Citizens Law Center think that the policies of this CCRC violate the federal Fair Housing Act, which outlaws discrimination based on disability, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which mandates accommodations, including policy modifications, for people with disabilities. As a member of the board of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, I applaud this action.