Disability Rights Nation

April 27-
May 10
From Ragged Edge's
D. R. Nation department May/June 1998

Million Mad March May 2
Walking the Walk
Psychiatric consumers, users survivors, patients,ex-patients. people who experience mood swings, fear, voices and visions will be marching, celebrating and sharing views.

If you are unable to attend the Million Mad March, please wear a white carnation on May 2, 1998 as a sign of solidarity with people who have endured psychiatric abuse.

ADAPT does Memphis on Mothers Day

ADAPT activists pushing for attendant services will converge on Memphis, Tennessee in the days around Mother's Day to send the "my home, not a nursing home" message to the state that organizers say has one of the worst records for keeping large institutions open rather than providing any funds for attendant services. Not coincidentally, Tennessee is Vice President Al Gore's home. ADAPT has invited the v-p to its Mother's Day action; Gore's mom lives in Tennessee. . For information about the May 9-14 action in Memphis, contact ADAPT in Denver at 303-733-9324.

Upcoming Radio and TV shows on disability rights

Beyond Affliction: The Disability History Project

is a series of four one-hour shows airing in May on many public radio stations. The series tells "the story of disability in the United States, told as it has never been told before: in a historical context," says promotional material. "Laurie Block, series' creator, host and producer, takes us on an intriguing journey to uncover the common history shared by people with the full spectrum of disabilities and their families since the Civil War." NPR's Talk of the Nation will broadcast related coverage.

The Disability History Project is scheduled for broadcast the week of May 4, 1998. The NPR Web site will have more info starting May 1.

If I Can't Do It

This documentary about 1980s Louisville ADAPT activist Arthur Campbell will air on the public televison series Point of View July 7. Louisville independent filmmaker Walter Brock followed Campbell to ADAPT actions across the nation as well as filming his day-to-day life in Louisville. The film tells the story of one man's engagement with - and disengagement from - disability activism.

Not Dead Yet to square off with Hemlock in June
at annual conference

Not Dead Yet activists will disrupt the Ann Arbor, Michigan annual conference of Hemlock USA June 5, 6 and 7, "loudly calling for Hemlock to admit to their pattern of lies over the years." Hemlock USA is the oldest and largest pro-euthanasia group in the U.S. . "Several months ago, Hemlock stepped out from behind their veil of lies about limiting legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide to terminally ill people who ask for it," says NDY. Hemlock has called for a new, lesser class of homicide for alleged "mercy killings" of old, ill or disabled people, as well as a judicial procedure to procure euthanasia for a "demented parent" or a "severely disabled spouse or a child". "The press will also be challenged to get the real word out on the disability hatred that drives the euthanasia movement and the actions of Jack Kevorkian," says NDY. For specifics on going to the action, contact Not Dead Yet in Michigan at (313)662-1256 or NDY nationally at (708)209-1500.

Relay users win over MCI

A settlement agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy imposes monetary sanctions against MCI if it fails to meet mandated quality standards in delivering relay services in the state. "People missed appointments because of wrong messages. Family and friends couldn't communicate during a crisis. Some people simply gave up using relay," said Tom Driscoll, a businessman who relied on the service. . The complaint was filed by 230 relay-using consumers and four disability rights groups, including the Cape Organization for Rights of the Disabled. The settlement requires an outside monitor to assess MCI's compliance with the agreement.

Las Vegas Business Press details problems

Housing access suits growing in
Las Vegas area, thanks to activists

More than 50 apartment and condo complexes in the Las Vegas area may be violating the federal Fair Housing Act amendments access requirements, according to a story in the Feb. 9 Las Vegas Business Press. And "that may be just the tip of the iceberg in a city where nearly 20,000 rental and condominium units go up each year," wrote reporter Ken Ward.

"It's everything from thermostat controls that are too high on the wall to bathroom configurations that are wrong," Ronald Ray Smith of the Disabled Rights Action Committee told the Press, which reported that Smith had "personally filed 30 complaints against developers around the valley." DRAC has, in fact, been the driving force behind most of the access violations legal actions. "If you've built an apartment or condominium project since 1991, it's probably out of compliance," Suzanne Thomas of the Nevada Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities told Ward.

In late March, the Justice Department sued Inland Empire Builders for its Echo Bay condominium, which, charges the suit, has over 1,000 doorways too narrow for a wheelchair to go through. . Oasis Residential Corp and the 13,500 area units it developed is also under review. HUD "is negotiating with dozens more builders at scores of communities to get them into compliance," said the Business Press. .

At Rock Springs' Canyon Willow complex, resident Joan Albstein filed suit against the developer in December over lack of access for her daughter, who uses a wheelchair. "The 300-unit complex is in many ways typical of Las Vegas new construction," wrote Ward. "Though it was built in 1993, it lacked the required curb cuts for wheelchairs." Some ground-floor units have steps leading to their doorways. Interior doors widths are 28 inches instead of the required 32 inches.

Albstein told the Press, "You would think that Las Vegas would have the best access in the nation because everything is so new. But you can't go five feet without running into a problem. This seems discriminatory to me."

The Governor's Committee has joined with the Southern Nevada Home Builders to hold periodic meetings to detail the federal regulations, reported the Business Press. "Attendance, however, has been spotty."


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