TEXAS HOSTS NATIONAL ADAPT ORGANIZING TRAINING

A dozen protesters in wheelchairs wearing ADAPT shirts and holding posters sit in a parking lot chanting

No Access No Tacos photo: Bruce Darling

Twenty activists from around the country came to Austin for a National ADAPT Organizing Training. The training covered many aspects of organizing and included a local action, this one targeting a local taco stand that has one and half steps at the front entrance. Even though it is 24 years post the passage of the ADA, and even though locals had brought up the issue of access on a number of occasions, Porfirio’s Tacos still had no access for folks with disabilities.  The owner met on the spot with the leadership team within an hour of our arrival and agreed to put in a ramp.  The hope is we will be seeing some new ADAPT groups sprouting up in the next few months, as well as new faces at the National action in Little Rock in September and in DC next spring.

VERY FUN FUNDRAISER TONIGHT!

Nicky Boyte, David Wittie and Mary Steele outside the front of the Treasure City Fundraiser 2013

Nicky says come on down y’all!

This evening we are have a truly fun fundraiser at

Treasure City Thrift Store 2142 E. 7th St. Austin TX 78702 ·(map)

From 5 – 7 pm

(The big PINK building at E 7th St and Robert Martinez…

Ron Cranston in his tie dye ADAPT shirt, Cathy Cranston and Dolores Carillo in PACT shirts, and Danny Saenz, as well as pink haired Treasure City saleswoman outside the front door. Pink wall behind reads ..."e City"

Satisfied shoppers head out to party at 2013 Treasure City Fundraiser

Come peruse the eclectic (and ever changing) collections of this wonderful thrift store.  All proceeds will go to ADAPT if you buy during our fundraiser, and some will go if you buy during other times this month.

We will have snacks, all your old and yet to be discovered friends will be there and you WILL have a good time, cause it was a blast last year!

Treasure City is a real gift to Austin.  Run by a very super women’s collective, the store supports MANY progressive Austin organizations, has cool stuff at CHEAP prices and then moves the stuff on through massive sales and even a giveaway at some point.  Their motto is Solidarity not Charity.  The merchandise is always changing and there are helpful, funky, weird and wonderful finds to be found.   They deserve to be supported and they make it so easy to do!

So come on down and join us, anytime from 5 to 7 pm.  And if you can’t make it then, at least stop by and check them out later.  You’ll be glad you did!  Shopping there any time in August will benefit ADAPT, but not as much as tonight, plus shopping AND snacks AND friendly folks tonight! What more could you ask for?

TREASURE CITY  – CHECK IT OUT!

 

 

 

ADAPT Marks ADA 24th Anniversary

Members of ADAPT and TCRP at a table in front of the Austin City Hall

ADAPT and TCRP press conference was a success

Thursday ADAPT held a press conference with the Texas Civil Rights Project to announce the filing of this years Americans with Disabilities Act Lawsuits.  Among them are suits against Yellow Cab, UBER and Lyft for failure to provide equal access for people with disabilities.

The Olmstead decision is 15!!

Come celebrate Freedom, Independence & Community Integration for ALL!!!

Monday June 23, 2014 at 10:30 am at the LBJ School of Public Affairs – 2300 Red River (on the UT Campus by the LBJ Library.)

We’ll hold a brief press conference and then celebrate, with light refreshments, the 15th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s LC & EW v. Olmstead decision.  This decision said unnecessary institutionalization is discrimination, and paved the way for Money Follows the Person (a Texas invention), and Community First Choice (CFC) among other free our people victories. Some in the disability community see this case as the disability version of Brown vs. Board of Education.

Come join us, bus routes #10 and #20 go by here, and it’s at the corner of Red River and Duval if you are walking, biking or driving, or skateboarding or whatever.

Lois CurtisLois Curtis (LC), pictured on the left, was one of the plaintiff’s in the Olmstead case.  Today she is a talented artist living in the community in her own place, with supports.  She was the ADAPT Celebrity Fun Runner several years ago.

 

Elaine Wilson (EW), pictured below, was the other heroine of the Olmstead case.  She also live on her own in the community after over 35 years of institutionalization.  She died in 2004.

Elaine-Wilson

A summary of the case is available from the Bazelon Center, and additional information on it’s ongoing effect is available from the US Department of Justice, including a gallery of people whose lives have been transformed just as Lois and Elaine’s were.

SUPPORT HOUSING FOR ALL

If you think landlords should not be able to say “WE DON’T TAKE SECTION 8!”  Contact the Austin City Council members This link will allow you email them all at once.

If you or someone you know has searched for months for an apartment and been turned away again and just because the landlord doesn’t like Section 8 vouchers, this is your chance to share your story.  In fact, the Austin Tenant’s Council did a survey of landlords of properties with 50 or more units and found 91% of these properties refused to take Section 8/Housing Choice vouchers.  No wonder you had a problem!

The City of Austin is working on adding source of income to the City’s Human rights ordinance.  So in plain English?  That means landlords could not say no to vouchers like Section 8 or TBRA (Tenant based rental assistance) or any of those kinds of housing assistance.

The June 12 meeting at Neighborhood Housing and Community Development, was attended by several landlords and landlord groups as well as tenants and tenant advocates.  Discussion was lively but it was clear those who support this ordinance need to make their message heard.  The landlord advocates were throwing out many objections, some understandable but many based on misinformation.

ADAPT knows tons of folks who have been turned away again and again, and have had to renew their time to find a place again and again because of this problem.  Yet our sister group AHA!  Accessible Housing Austin! takes vouchers and has had no real problems with the vouchers or voucher holders.  HUD pays on time, unlike some tenants.

So share your views with City staff and Council members. Email them, or write a letter or make a visit.  But please speak up.  This is a big deal.

Victory! Disability Rights finally included in Civil Rights Summit

Disability rights are civil rights group group shot(photos by Kaye Beneke kaye@beneketx.com)

DISABILITY RIGHTS ARE CIVIL RIGHTS!

(April 8, 2014 – Austin, TX) Disability rights advocates gathered to hold a press conference near the LBJ Presidential Library where a national Civil Rights Summit is taking place.  The Summit which the library is holding to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and acknowledge it’s legacy.  Presidents Jimmy Carter, William “Bill” Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama will be addressing the conference, among many others.

To commemorate the impact of the Civil Rights Act, workshops cover a variety of other topics, including: Gay Marriage, Immigration Policy, Music and Social Consciousness, LBJ and MLK, Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream, Leveling the Sports Playing Field, Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, Social Justice in the 21st Century, Women: How High is the Glass Ceiling?, and Education: The Ultimate Civil Right.  Despite having been contacted over 2 months ago to see if disability was going to be included, Summit organizers were not planning to include this important legacy.  However, at the 11th hour, thanks to the speedy and united response from the disability rights community from across the country, Summit Organizers finally found a place to include disability on one of the panels at the Summit.

So today members of the disability rights community and our allies gathered to celebrate this victory, the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and the importance of the Americans with Disabilities Act and disability rights movements. Speakers included: Bob Kafka – ADAPT, Regina Blye – TX SILC, Cema Mostroleo – SafePlace, Stephanie Thomas ADAPT, Dennis Borel -CTD, and Jim Harrington – TX Civil Rights Project.  We recommit to continuing our civil rights struggle.  In addition, we celebrate the ADA, great liberation legislation for 52 million Americans, which will see its 25th Anniversary next year.

Thank you to ALL who attended and all who wrote, called, emailed or otherwise contacted the Summit organizers.  AND thank you to Lex Frieden, one of the unsung heros of the ADA, who will ably represent us at the Summit on Thursday.

Nothing About Us Without Us!

New Disability Voting Website

The Disability Voting Action Project of Texas, DVAPT, has launched a new website. .  DVAPT a non partisan effort focused on educating Texans with disabilities and their allies on issues effecting disabled Texans, our voting rights, access to voting and voter education.  DVAPT has many exciting projects in the works so check out the website for updates and get involved. http://dvaptexas.org/

HISTORIC VISITABILITY VICTORY

January 30th Austin City Council amended the single family building code to include Visitability standards.  Starting in July 2015 ALL new single family and duplex homes will have to have:

  • a no step entrance (back, side, front or garage door);
  • an accessible path through the first floor;
  • a 32 inch clear bathroom or half bath on the the first floor and
  • light switches, electric outlets and other environmental controls between 48″ and 15″ (the same as in public buildings and newer apartments.)

In 1998 Austin passed similar requirements for single family homes that were built with city assistance.  Since then over 7,500 visitable homes have been built and only 10 waivers were needed.  With such a successful track record, ADAPT, the Austin Mayor’s Committee and other disability groups felt it was time for the next phase.  Many of the affordable housing developers also supported this effort.  We are proud that Austin has taken this important stride toward integration and inclusion, and we are elated that persistence has paid off.  We want to acknowledge and thank Eleanor Smith and Concrete Change for their leadership in the Visitability movement.

Cookies Benefit ADAPT!

Khira Patel, a 13 year old entrepreneur, has launched a website Cookies for A Cause, which sells cookies and 50% of the proceeds go to ADAPT of Texas.  We met Khira and several of her classmates when they were working on a website competition.  Their topic was ADA Legacy and they interviewed many ADAPT folks and other disability rights leaders.  We were impressed by their questions and delighted when their team won 2nd place in this international competition.  Now they are helping us with some other outreach and history projects.  So buy the cookies and keep your eye out for other exciting new developments.

Angel HealthCare Agency Commits to Make Right a Wrong!

Austin, TX, December 5, 2013.  Personal Attendant Coalition of Texas (PACT) and ADAPT of Texas combined forces to send a message to Angel HealthCare to “Stop the Bullying” of attendants as well as the elderly and disabled clients they assist.  Angel HealthCare threatens clients, including those on Medicaid, and attendants with a $5000 fine if they leave the agency within a year of each other.  Twenty ADAPT/PACT members rolled into the offices carrying signs reading “You Don’t Own Me”, “Medicaid Doesn’t Allow Me to HAVE $5,000″, “Shame on Angel”, “Angel or Devil” and similar messages.  The group demanded a meeting with Mollie Francis, Executive Director of Angel HealthCare in order to convince her to drop Angel’s onerous policy of fining people $5000 or any amount. “Ms. Francis became angry and went back into her office.” said Danny Saenz.  “But the co-owner and Chief Financial Officer, C.B. Francis came out and willingly discussed the issue and agreed to end the discriminatory policy.”  He agreed that the policy was indeed unfair and signed an agreement saying that Angel HealthCare will discontinue using this part of the contract.

This is a big win for consumers and attendants that use Angel HealthCare as their home care agency.  We also hope this sends a message to other home care agencies that this form of intimidation of clients and attendants will not be tolerated.

– Cathy Cranston