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!

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.

DISABILITY RIGHTS POSTERS

The first two in a series of disability rights posters are now available!  Perfect for holidays gifts and New Year’s inspiration.  Order yours now.  Order form is on the Support Us page

poster1rightsseries poster2power200Display your pride in decades of activism with the first two releases in ADAPT’s “Rights Worth Fighting For” original poster series.  Make a statement in your home or office and help sustain ADAPT’s powerful nationwide grassroots advocacy for all Americans with disabilities.  Each 18″X 24″ poster is only $5, shipping included.  Order 10 or more posters for $4 each!  What a deal!

 

CHECK OUT OUR VIDEOS!

We have links to 2 new great videos, one on ADAPT and Freeing Our People

and one on the PACT and attendant issues.

Links are on the About Us page.  (And they are captioned too)