Ragged Edge 





June, '03

May, '03

April, '03

March, '03

Feb., '03

Jan., '03

Dec., '02

Nov., '02

Oct., '02

Sept., '02

August, '02

July, '02

June, '02

May, '02

April, '02

Mar., '02

Feb., '02

Jan., '02

Dec., '01

Nov., '01

Oct., '01

Sept., '01

Breaking News Ticker  |  Yahoo Full Coverage on disabilities

Paralympic athletes sue U.S. Olympic Committee for disability discrimination
Denver, July 28, 2003 -- Three Paralympic athletes have filed a major lawsuit in federal district court in Denver against the United States Olympic Committee claiming discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

Paralympians Scot Hollonbeck, of Atlanta, Georgia, Tony Iniguez, of Aurora, Illinois, and Jacob Heilveil of Bothell, Washington, said in the lawsuit that the USOC violates federal law by providing benefits - such as elite training, coaching, performance incentives and health insurance - to Olympic athletes but denies those benefits to Paralympic athletes.

"For decades Paralympic athletes have been denied reasonable program access by the USOC," Hollonbeck said.

"This sort of discrimination would not be tolerated if it were based on race or gender. We have been trying for years to get the USOC to treat Paralympic athletes fairly," Hollonbeck said. "It appears that litigation is the only way to bring real change."

"We are only asking the USOC to obey the law and provide fairly for the training and support necessary to field a world-class Paralympic team," Hollonbeck said.

Court orders 30-day stay in Schiavo case
TAMPA, July 25, 2003 -- Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeals, reversing a week-old ruling, granted a 30-day delay in returning jurisdiction to a trial judge who has approved the removal of the feeding tube that keeps Terry Schiavo alive.

The ruling was issued after protestors demonstrated in front of the appellate court's building in downtown Tampa. See next story, below.

Both rallies drew lots of supporters, says organizer Russ Cooper-Dowda. "The later Clearwater rally was marked by honking horns and folks willing to risk rain and Florida summer ightning to get the word out."

After protestors learned of the District Court's 30-day stay of what they regard as Schiavo's "execution," some were overjoyed. "To say her family and supporters were heartened by the news is an understatement," adds Cooper-Dowda.

But a number of protesters had problems with the courthouse's inaccessibility when they found the public restroom up a flight of stairs. "Why people with disabilities and the elderly of the city of Tampa, Florida do not protest about an accessible courthouse entrance that most people with disabilities are not allowed to use is beyond me," says Cooper-Dowda.

Schiavo Demonstrations Planned Friday Morning
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

TAMPA, July 24, 2003 -- Supporters of Terri Schiavo's right to continue living are planning two public demonstrations Friday, in an attempt to get Governor Jeb Bush to head off a judge's ruling that her feeding tube be removed so she will die of starvation and dehydration.

"Your participation is critical in our efforts to save Terri's life and the lives of all people with significant disabilities," Rus Cooper-Dowda wrote in an open letter to people with disabilities and their allies.

The first rally is scheduled for the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa at 8 a.m. When that rally is over, the demonstrators will move to the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater.

"We need your stories and warm bodies," Cooper-Dowda wrote. "Our sister could be starved to death soon. Anyone of us could be next."

Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer could set the date for removing Terri's feeding tube as early as Friday. With court options nearly exhausted, Terri's family members and other supporters are appealing to Bush to intervene and halt the judge's order and launch an investigation into claims that her husband strangled her in February 1990.

Thirteen years ago, Terri had a heart attack and her brain was without oxygen for about 5 minutes. She can breathe on her own, but is given food and water through a feeding tube installed in her stomach. Terri's husband and guardian, Michael, believes Terri is in a "persistent vegetative state" and says she would not want to live in her current condition. He and his doctors have convinced the Florida court system to have the feeding tube removed.

Terri's parents and their doctors say she responds to them, laughs, and follows simple directions. They want Terri to go through rehabilitative therapies. They have said for several years that Michael Schiavo wants his wife to die so he can have several hundred thousand dollars left over from an insurance settlement. They now claim that medical records and other testimony suggest that Michael Schiavo strangled Terri, which led to her heart attack and brain damage.

Read "An Open Letter to Terri Schiavo's Brothers and Sisters in the Disabled Community" by Rus Cooper-Dowda

Related resources:
"Terri's Fight" (Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation)
Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)

Blind girl's drowning raises old questions
MINNEAPOLIS, July 23, 2003 -- The drowning death of a 7-year-old blind girl on Friday has raised questions about a camp's policy of having blind-only counselors. Brianna Nelson drowned Friday during an outing at Lake Calhoun in Minnesota, one of eight young blind swimmers being supervised by three blind counselors. The 4-week camp was run by Blind, Inc., a Minneapolis groups that helps blind children learn life skills from adults who are also blind. According to camp director Joyce Scanlan, the counselors had swimming experience, and, she said, they were "listening, staying close enough to touch them and constantly calling out their names." When Brianna didn't call back, she said, they summoned help. They immediately notified lifeguards, who found the girl 70 feet from shore.

Joyce Scanlan, director of Blind, Inc., and president of the state's National Federation of the Blind chapter, told reporters that that she was not convinced that having a sighted person accompany the group would have prevented the drowning. She noted that no sighted people had reported the girl missing, and "there were far more sighted people out there. It was our blind people who were the first to call for help and get the attention of the lifeguards."

"It is unfortunate that anybody drowns, but a lot of sighted kids drown with their parents close by," she said. "This is a very, very sad thing that has happened. I feel bad about it, but at this point I am not convinced that we were negligent or did anything wrong."

The girl's father, Carl Nelson, said he did not blame the counselor's for Brianna's death.

However, Ken Rodgers, Minnesota president of the Council of the Blind, has publicly called the group irresponsible, insisting that sighted supervision is needed for swimming. "Safety is our first concern," he told CNN.

The drowning "has highlighted deep-rooted differences" between the American Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind," reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Read story.
UPS settles class-action suit by deaf workers
SAN FRANCISCO, July 22, 2003 -- In a settlement agreement reached yesterday, United Parcel Service, the nation's fourth largest private employer, has agreed to provide its 1,000 deaf workers with interpreters and other accommodations. The class-action suit charged that UPS routinely discriminated; that its deaf workers were unaware of emergency evacuation procedures and unable to understand trainings, orientations and other communications because the company would not provide interpreters or other communications accommodations.

UPS denied having a discriminatory work environment and said it had tried to provide accommodations. But at the trial, which has been going on for six weeks in San Francisco, "Babaranti Oloyede, a Bay area employee at U.P.S., testified that the company refused to provide him with an interpreter during a safety training session on watching for packages that might carry anthrax," reported the New York Times today. "He said that over 10 years the company never provided a qualified interpreter for any other training."

The settlement calls for UPS to change a number of its employment practices, and to meet three times a year with each deaf employee to address accommodations. UPS will pay each plaintiff from $5,000 to $60,000, and pay attorneys' fees. The case has been handled by Disability Rights Advocates.

Read Deaf UPS workers settle case for $10 million, deal outlines new access, safety measures (San Francisco Chronicle)

CA Seeks Stories From Sterilization Victims
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

SACRAMENTO, July 21, 2003 -- State officials are looking for people who survived being forcibly sterilized under California's eugenics laws during the 20th century.

Those who come forward could help the Department of Mental Health decide how it might compensate those who were victimized. Some are hoping their stories could help the state avoid making similar mistakes in the future.

"We are not out of the woods. We are entering a new forest," Alexandra Minna Stern, an associate director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan, told a Senate committee looking at California's genetic policies last week.

Stern said that while mandatory sterilization laws are no longer on the books, eugenic ideas are still around and have become more ethically complicated as decisions to terminate pregnancies are based on genetic testing results.

Between 1909 and 1970, operations were performed on more than 20,000 Californians to make them unable to bear children. The practice was based on the idea that society would be better if "unwanted" people were not allowed to have children. Most of those sterilized were people with mental illnesses or mental retardation.

More than 60,000 Americans in 30 states and two Canadian provinces were forcibly sterilized during the last century. The movement lost popularity after World War II when it was found to be a "false science" and it was discovered that Germany's Adolph Hitler had adopted sterilization laws based on U.S. eugenics statutes during the Nazi era.

In the last 15 months, governors of five states have issued formal apologies to their citizens who were subjected to those laws.

Earlier this year Governor Gray Davis and Attorney General Bill Lockyer apologized to the California's sterilization victims. The state Senate followed up with its own apology last month.

Sen. Dede Alpert, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Genetics, Genetic Technologies and Public Policy, said during Wednesday's two-hour hearing that so far none of those sterilized in California have come forward to talk about what happened to them.

One senator noted that it may be difficult to find many survivors considering that most of the sterilizations took place during the 1930s.

Related articles:
"Californians discuss a dark part of history -- forced sterilization of 20,000" (Sacramento Bee via Deseret News)
"State seeks victims of forced sterilization" (Stockton Record)

U. S. appeals court strikes down anti-Olmstead ruling
DENVER, July 20, 2003 -- When Oklahoma last fall notified people in its Medicaid "Advantage" home and community-based services waiver program that it would only pay for five prescriptions a month -- whereas Medicaid recipients in nursing homes could have unlimited prescriptions filled -- Katherine Fisher, Earlee Heath, and Karol Loy sued the Oklahoma Health Care Agency, which runs the program. The women said they would be forced into nursing homes to get their medicines. They said the plan violated the Americans with Disabilities Act's "integration mandate," upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1999 Olmstead decision.

When a lower court judge ruled for the state in November, the women appealed.

Last week the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said the lower court was wrong. The legal protections afforded by the ADA "would be meaningless if plaintiffs were required to segregate themselves by entering an institution before they could challenge an allegedly discriminatory law or policy that threatens to force them into segregated isolation."

Public entities are to provide "services, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate," said the Court.

The state had argued that the 5-prescriptions-a-month limit was a reasonable move to reduce costs, arguing that if they didn't have enough money for community-based services, forcing them to pay for more than 5 prescriptions would bankrupt -- and "fundamentally alter" -- the program.

The appeals court disagreed. "If every alteration in a program or service that required the outlay of funds were tantamount to a fundamental alteration, the ADA's integration mandate would be hollow indeed," said the Court.

A budget crisis doesn't excuse states from complying with federal law, said the appeals court. "In Oklahoma, it costs approximately $28,000 per year to provide care to a disabled individual in a nursing home, and $14,000 to provide care through the Home and Community Based Waiver program," noted the Court's ruling. "Given that the cost of institutional care is approximately twice as high as community-based care, if the plaintiffs are indeed forced to enter a nursing home to obtain necessary medical services, any cost savings achieved by the prescription cap will be quickly eroded."

The appeals court ruling will affect Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. "This is as big as it gets," Kirk Lowry, an attorney with the Topeka Independent Living Resource Center told a reporter with the Topeka Capital-Journal. "This is a very, very big, very, very important decision."

The appeals court sent the case back to the lower court for a re-hearing.

Read "Ruling may mean services for disabled" from the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Read the 10th Circuit opinion.

Read original Ragged Edge article, "Prescription cutback in OK waiver program prompts lawsuit"

Terri Schiavo's Supporters Claim Husband Strangled Her; Ask Gov. Jeb Bush To Launch Investigation
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

TAMPA, July 18, 2003 -- Theresa "Terri" Schiavo's family members and supporters of her right to live are hoping Florida Governor Jeb Bush will halt a judge's order that her feeding tube be removed and will launch an investigation into allegations that her husband attacked and strangled her 13 years ago.

Supporters claim that evidence from previously sealed records suggest Terri was without oxygen on February 25, 1990, not because of a heart attack, but because she was strangled, presumably by her husband. They point to a bone scan done one year after Terri's collapse that indicated she suffered numerous bone fractures and injuries all over her body, along with a neurologist's October 2002 testimony claiming Terri had a neck injury consistent with that of a strangulation victim.

"If true, this will be a perfect murder . . .with the blessings from the State of Florida," wrote disability rights columnist Maggie Dee in an email letter to Gov. Bush. "Please stay the decision in the appellate court not to intercede on Terri Schiavo's case."

Earlier this week, Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeal announced that it would not reverse its June 6 decision which supported Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer's November 2002 order to have Terri's feeding tube removed, according to the wishes of her husband, Michael Schiavo. The appeal court ruled that "that there is no hope of a medical cure" and that there is "clear and convincing evidence" that Terri would not want to live in her present condition.

The decision clears the way for Greer to again schedule removal of the feeding tube as early as the end of next week. If that happens Terri would likely die of starvation and dehydration within a couple of weeks.

Many disability rights advocates have been closely watching this case. They point out that, among other things, people are at the highest risk when family members or others start using financial costs as a basis for "pulling the plug" on people considered "severely disabled".

Terri's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, have been fighting in the courts for years to keep their daughter alive. Testimony by some experts, along with video tapes of the family's interactions with Terri, show that she is alert and aware of her surroundings, that she smiles when talked to, responds to music and follows instructions. They argue that Terri would benefit from rehabilitative therapies which could be paid for from what is left of a $700,000 insurance settlement currently in a trust account.

Her parents also believe that Michael wants Terri's life to end because, as her sole heir, he would receive that money only when she dies, and because he wants to marry another woman with whom he fathered a baby girl last year.

They are suspicious that Michael fought hard for Terri to receive proper care until five years ago, when he suddenly announced that he believed her wishes were to not be kept alive.

Supporters are planning a demonstration at the Tampa courthouse on Friday, July 25, at 8:00 a.m.

Readers can send letters to Governor Jeb Bush, or sign an on-line petition at http://www.zimp.org View video clips of Terri Schiavo
Visit the website Terri's Fight (Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation)
Read the Letter to Jeb Bush (Station504.com)
Read "Terri Schiavo's Right to Life" (Inclusion Daily Express)
Read The Hearing to Save Terri Schiavo's Life (Ragged Edge online)

Money Follows The Person Act of 2003 Introduced In Senate
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

WASHINGTON, DC, July 17, 2003 -- U.S. Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and Gordon Smith of Oregon have introduced S. 1394, the "Money Follows the Person Act of 2003".

The bill would set up a demonstration project under which states would be encouraged to allow people housed in nursing homes and other institutions to take their Medicaid funding with them when they move into the community.

The bipartisan measure puts into bill form President George W. Bush's proposed "Money Follows the Person" rebalancing initiative, an effort to help states create a more even balance between institutional and community based services under the Medicaid program. Approximately 70 percent of Medicaid long-term care funding goes to nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities, while just 30 percent pays for community-based services.

The Money Follows the Person Act is separate from MiCASSA, the Medicaid Community Attendant Services and Supports Act (S. 971 and H.R. 2032), which would allow Medicaid recipients to choose between nursing facilities and community-based in-home supports.

Both measures are opposed by the Voice of the Retarded, a group that supports keeping institutions open, and by the nursing home industry.

"We need to have our collective voices be louder than theirs," the disability rights group ADAPT said in an on-line statement. "We need to encourage support for this bill and speak out about all the positives of community services."

Related resource: Text of "Money Follows the Person Act of 2003" (U.S. Congress)

Blind woman sues to avoid apt. eviction
CHICAGO July 15, 2003 -- A 65-year-old blind woman is suing a Chicago apartment owner who she says is trying to force her out of her longtime home because she is blind. Wanda Haras, who has lived in her apartment 23 years, was told by landlord Hans Hintzen that she must find a new apartment. Hintzen told the Chicago Sun Times that Haras was "routinely ill" and couldn't care for herself, adding that she turned on the stove burner for warmth and could "burn the building down." Steven R. Greenberger of the DePaul University Law School Disability Rights Clinic's has taken Haras's case.

Peter Singer given ethics award
July 10, 2003 -- Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University, has been given the 2003 World Technology Award for Ethics by the World Technology Network.

The organization says its members are dedicated to the business and science of emerging technologies such as biotechnology and new energy sources.

Singer has come under fire from disability rights groups for his position that a disabled infant can be ethically killed at birth.

Read "Unspeakable Conversations" by Harriet McBryde Johnson in the Feb. 16, 2003 New York Times magazine. (Registration required).

WI High Court Says Factory Must Accommodate Workers With Disability
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

MADISON, WI, July 11, 2003 -- The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of a woman who claimed her former employer discriminated against her by failing to accommodate her disability.

Susan Catlin began working as a cheese cutter for the Crystal Lake Cheese Factory in August 1995, but was soon promoted from cutting cheese to managing a wholesale department with four employees -- a job that involved assisting those workers when needed.

In November 1996, Catlin became quadriplegic as the result of an automobile accident. When she tried to return to work the following September, company administrators told her she would not be able to do the tasks of all four jobs, and that they could not accommodate her disability. They also said it would cost $47,000 to install an accessible bathroom for her, a cost that the company considered a hardship.

Catlin sued the company under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act. Her position was later supported by the state Labor and Industry Review Commission, Barron County Circuit Judge James Eaton and the 3rd District Court of Appeals.

The state Supreme Court determined that Crystal Lake's "refusal to modify Catlin's job duties to exempt her from performing the heaviest physical tasks, and to make physical modifications to the work place, constituted the denial of a reasonable accommodation, which it could have provided without hardship."

"With such reasonable accommodations, she would have the ability to undertake, adequately, her job-related responsibilities," the court wrote in its final opinion.

Catlin's attorney, Monica Murphy of the Wisconsin Coalition for Advocacy, said the decision was a victory for people with disabilities.

"It makes clear that the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act should be broadly interpreted to accommodate people with disabilities," she said.

Murphy said the back wages Catlin sought now total at least $100,000 and added that the cheese company will also be responsible for Catlin's attorney fees.

Related: "Supreme Court says cheese factory discriminates against worker" (Associated Press via Duluth News Tribune)

Read ruling: Crystal Lake Cheese Factory v. Labor and Industry Review Commission and Susan Catlin (Wisconsin Supreme Court)

MA House Votes To Slow Fernald Closure
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

WALTHAM, MA, July 10, 2003 -- he state House of Representatives on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to oppose Governor Mitt Romney's plan to close Fernald Development Center, the oldest publicly-funded institution housing people with developmental disabilities in the Western Hemisphere, in the next year. The measure now moves to the state Senate, where it may or may not be brought up for a vote, according to the Daily News Tribune.

In late February, Romney announced the 155-year-old facility would be shut down during the 2004 fiscal year and its 300 residents would either move to the state's five other facilities or to homes in the community, to bridge a $3 billion budget gap.

But leaders in the community surrounding the 200-acre Fernald campus joined parents of those housed at the facility to put pressure on lawmakers to override Romney's plan.

The legislature passed measures that would require a cost analysis before closing Fernald, keep the facility from closing before October 2004, and establish a committee to determine how the land should be used.

Romney vetoed those laws.

The House needed a two-thirds majority to override the governor's vetoes. On Wednesday, the House voted 139-13 in favor of overriding his veto on the cost analysis, and 128-22 in favor of overriding the veto on the land reuse committee.

The Senate has until the end of November to bring the measures to a vote. Local lawmakers want them brought earlier to the Senate floor, where they would also require a two-thirds majority to override Romney's vetoes.

Social reformer Samuel Gridley Howe founded the institution with a $2,500 appropriation from the state legislature in 1848. Originally called the "Massachusetts School for the Feeble Minded", the facility was renamed the Walter E. Fernald State School in 1925 after its first resident superintendent.

"These were facilities that were built in a time when they put people away," Mary Lou Maloney, legislative liaison for Arc Massachusetts told the Boston Globe earlier this year. "People with disabilities can live in the community."

Arc Massachusetts and other organizations have been pushing for the state's six facilities to be shuttered since 1990. Most of the institutions have not admitted new residents for more than 25 years because of court orders following complaints of overcrowding.

Trend Toward Individualized Living Has Group Home Supporters Worried
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

BLOOMINGTON, IN, July 9, 2003 -- During the decades-long transition from large institutions to smaller group homes, those who held a stake in the old institution model have repeatedly voiced their concerns that such facilities would be phased out.

Now, as more people are choosing independent or supported living, some of those who hold a stake in group homes are voicing concerns that their programs may be phased out.

It's already happening, according to a story in the Indianapolis Star.

In Indiana, about 150 group homes have closed in recent years as people have chosen more individualized options and the state has de-emphasized the use of "sheltered" programs.

The state currently serves about 3,600 people with developmental disabilities in 530 group homes. At the same time, the number of people being served in individualized supported living situations has grown to about 5,000.

"These people wanted their own places to live," said Susan Rinne, executive director of Options For Better Living.

"Instead of a person coming to the services in a group home, the services can come to you in your own home."

Some parents don't like the trend away from group homes, and resent the waiver that allows federal funding of independent living situations.

Related article: "Shrinking number of group homes worry families" (Indianapolis Star)

ADAPT, others slam GAO report on in-home services
WASHINGTON, DC, July 9, 2003 -- A July 7 report from the GAO criticizing the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on how they assure quality of care in state Medicaid waiver programs has angered the national group leading the fight to change Medicaid law to assure in-home services. ADAPT leader Bob Kafka says the report harms the move toward in-home services. Groups like the American Health Care Association, the national nursing-home operators' lobby, "now have a government report to make their case to slow down HCBS growth," he says.

"Our reading of the GAO text finds no evidence of quality problems in actual care or of harm to consumers," insist experts Rosalie Kane and Larry Polivka. MORE from the Center for an Accessible Society.

Disgusted Bus Rider Stages Impromptu Protest
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

NEW YORK, July 1, 2003 -- When he left home Thursday morning, Anthony Trocchia had no intention of becoming the center of a media event.

He just wanted to buy some books.

But when bus after bus came by with no working wheelchair lift, Trocchia, who is president of Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York, decided it was time to take action.

He parked his electric wheelchair in front of the fourth Green Line bus that had a broken lift -- and refused to move.

As the bus sat idle at the corner of Queens Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue, Trocchia pulled out his cell phone and called newspapers and television stations to report his act of civil disobedience.

Several members of the Queens Independent Living Center, which is across the street from the bus stop, heard about Trocchia's impromptu protest. Soon he was joined by two blind people and five people in wheelchairs from the center.

"I didn't plan on doing this," Trocchia explained. "We're just looking for the basic accommodations."

The traffic at the busy intersection was soon snarled as drivers and passersby stopped to see what all the commotion was about.

Over the next two and a half hours Trocchia and his cohorts were visited by several reporters -- even a news helicopter hovered overhead at one point.

"I was out here trying to take the bus," Trocchia told WNBC-TV. "Four buses came with broken lifts. I finally got disgusted and decided to block the bus."

When a Green Bus Lines executive asked for Trocchia's cooperation, telling him that three buses with working lifts were waiting for him, Trocchia refused.

"I want to bring embarrassment to this company that is long overdue," he told one reporter.

"This has been going on a long time. It's not just a matter of getting on a bus now and being whisked away. Now we have a chance to get it on the news."

When a police sergeant asked him to move the protest onto the sidewalk, Trocchia said he would stay in the street as long as news photographers were still arriving.

Then the police told the bus driver to back the bus up and steer around the protesters, but they quickly maneuvered their wheelchairs to keep it from moving. Trocchia finally stopped his demonstration when he felt he had made his point.

Green Bus Lines is one of several private companies that provides bus service in the city. Company officials blamed the city for not maintaining lifts on the buses that the city owns.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires buses to have working wheelchair lifts.

The company issued an apology to Trocchia for any inconvenience it may have caused him.

Related resource: Disabled In Action of Metropolitan New York

Groups protest funding of "Last Chapters"
Editor's note: As of July 15, changes were being made to the LastChapters.org website in response to this protest.
CHICAGO July 1, 2003 -- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Partnership for Caring, the funders of the Last Acts coalition and its "Last Chapters" website at http://www.lastchapters.org/, have come under fire from a number of national disability groups for what they say are false and misleading representations of the lives of people with disabilities.

"The website is described as an online support group for those concerned with caregiving, grieving and dying," says Not Dead Yet, the disability rights group spearheading the protest Yet among the stories of those who are "dying" are the stories of Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson's, and another individual who has Crohn's Disease.

"Neither Parkinson's nor Crohn's are terminal conditions, but Last Acts is misleading the public and is wrongly perpetuating the dangerous myth that life with a disability is the beginning of a death sentence."

"Every year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other funders throw tens of millions of dollars at 'end of life' advocacy," says Not Dead Yet president Diane Coleman. "Large grants are fuelling this movement that, increasingly, says people with significant disabilities and chronic conditions are 'terminal.' That means they are influencing disability-related public policy without including disability advocates in the process. It's unrealistic to think that we can counteract that kind of overwhelming public relations machinery without significant resources. Frankly, our lives are at stake. That's the crux of what we want to discuss with these organizations."

Read the groups' joint letter to the Last Chapters' funders.


More news can be found at these sites:

The "Disabilities and the disabled" news from Yahoo Full Coverage provides news stories from mainstream media

A running "News Ticker" of stories is online at http://www.acdd.org/news.htm#search

For disability movement news, visit the JFA Newsgroup

Last month's news


© Copyright 2003 The Ragged Edge

This Website produced by Cliffwood Organic Works