Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


Saturday, October 24th, 2020

published in the Republican October 2020

We are approaching the November 2020 presidential election.  A research study done by the Rutgers University Program for Disability Researchconcluded that there are 38.3 million eligible voters with disabilities.  That is a 19.8 percent increase since 2008.  This increase of voters may be related to mail in voting.

There are many reasons to vote.  The most important is to make your voice heard.  Voting is our right to help decide government issues.  It is a way to say what you need, want and what your beliefs are.

Voting gives us the opportunity to choose who is going to represent us.  By doing so, we can acknowledge who we trust to take care of our basic needs, from the president, senators, governors and mayors.

Voting is essential to help with policies and social issues that are impacting our country.  Some examples are health care, climate change, racial inequality, disability rights, gun control and financialissues.

Before Election Day, it is important to educate yourself as to who is on the ballot and what they stand for.  More importantly, don’t let anyone or anything influence your vote.  When we are voting, we are proclaiming our independence by standing up for our rights and the Constitution.

Supreme Court nomination

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

published in the Republican October 2020

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg left an empty seat in the Supreme Court.  The President has nominated Amy Coney Barrett for the position.  She is a former professor at Notre Dame Law School and is also a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Many disability rights advocacy groups feel that she would be a threat to disability rights.  These groups sent a letter to senators urging them to reject the nomination due to her record and the rush for confirmation.  This letter was sent by more than fifty disability advocacy groups.  Some of them are the National Council on Independent Living, the American Association of People With Disabilities, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and theAutistic Self Advocacy Network.

In the letter, the groups expressed concern that Amy Coney Barrett has written that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.  Another concern is the threat to expanding health coverage and preexisting conditions.  This is a major point because of the upcoming Supreme Court case regarding the Affordable Care Act.

The letter concludes that “It is imperative for the disability community be someone who understands and respects the rights of people with disabilities.  Judge Barrett’s record demonstrates a hostility to rights that are critically important to people with disabilities.”  All of the groups agree that a Supreme Court nomination should not take priority over the COVID-19 relief bill that can help many people, including those with disabilities.

Abuse and allegations

Sunday, October 11th, 2020

published in the Republican oct 2020

The Devreux Advanced Behavioral Health center near Philadelphia has treated children with intellectual disabilities and mental disorders for over 100 years.  Last August, there were allegations of sexual assaulton several campuses.

Forty-one allegations were reported and some of the alleged victims were as young as twelve.  It is said that a pattern of neglect allowed the assaults to occur.

The Philadelphia Department of Human Services decided after a six-week investigation to remove 53 children from the Philadelphia campuses of Devreuxdue to neglect by the staff.  The commissioner of the department, Kimberly Ali, said, “We found staffers doing nothing.  They weren’t doing their jobs.  They were not watching the children.  And if they were doing it, some of them were doing it sporadically.”

Children with disabilities are often vulnerable to abuse and neglect due to the stigma that they live with.  Unfortunately, many people think they can get away with it because nobody will know or care about it.  It is our job to ensure that each child is treated with respect and is cared for.  Agencies were put in place to safeguard the hiring of people who work with children to make sure there is no mistreatment.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Monday, October 5th, 2020

Published in the Republican October 2020

On September 18, the country lost a longstanding Supreme Court Justice.  Justice Ginsburg died at the age of 87 from pancreatic cancer.  She was well known for women’s’ rights.  However, she also played an important role in the rights of people with disabilities.

Justice Ginsburg was involved in the historical case of Olmstead v. L.C.  In 1995, two women with developmental disabilities filed a lawsuit against the state of Georgia for discrimination.  They claimed that their rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act were violated.

The ladies wanted the right to live independently with community support after years of being institutionalized.  The state of Georgia argued that financial constraints made providing services unfeasible.

They won the case in 1999 and Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion.  She wrote “First, institutional placement of persons who can handle and benefit from community settings perpetuatesunwarranted assumptions that persons so isolated are incapable or unworthy of participating in community life.  Second, confinement in an institution severely diminishes the everyday life activities of individuals, including family relations, social contacts, work options, economic independence, educational advancement and cultural enrichment.”

The CEO of the American Network of Community Options and Resources, Barbara Merrill, said, “Justice Ginsburg cemented the right of people to live within the community, rather than in institutions.  Her work gave power to the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and she will be forever remembered as a champion of the rights of millions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

You are the guru

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Published in the republican September 2020

My writing mentor, Gabrielle Bernstein, created an Audible book called You Are The Guru.  The book is about listening to your inner guidance to get you through difficult times.

The book gives you six messages to help you listen to your inner guidance.  The first one is to see with love.  When we take ownership of our thoughts and experiences, we can strengthen our compassion and love for others.  The belief is that everyone has the capability of expressing love and goodness.

The second message is to surrender to creative solutions.  This teaches that even when we have challenges we have two choices.  We can either suffer in despair or learn from the experience.  Using spiritual growth, we can find new, creative solutions to everyday problems.

The third message is to inspire action that clears paths.  We are living in changing times where we are overloaded with information.  Instead of feeling overwhelmed, we can let go of the pressure while taking simple actions.

My favorite message is to sit in stillness, where we will receive guidance.  Through meditation and prayer, we can tune into an intuitive mind to keep us calm and focused.

The next message is to practice compassion to stay connected.  Every day, I always try to be compassionate to all while taking actions to help others.

The last message is that you are the guru.  This empowers us to tap into our inner wisdom and strength to create inner peace.  By practicing these messages, we are empowered to be more positive in our daily lives.


Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

published in the Republican July 2020

Accessibility is an important factor for the rights of disabled individuals because equal access and opportunities often require some type of accommodation.  Also, accommodations can be necessary for people with disabilities to be independent in their own homes and communities.

Accessibility is a local issue because it deals with many factors.  This can be analogized to the words of former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil that “all politics are local.”  Some examples of accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act are things such as public places, accessible transportation and making streets and sidewalks safe.

There is always room for improvement, such as incentives for businesses to become more accessible.  Another big issue is communication accessibility, from sign language interpreters, written materials and finding ways to ensure that everyone is getting necessary information.  With this being an election year, it is essential for people to ensure that polling places are accessible because everybody’s vote counts.

We often forget how important accessibility is for people with disabilities to be independent and fully participate in everyday life.  


Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

published in the Republican July 2020

In 2019, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 7.9 percent.  That number has probably worsened due to the pandemic since then.

In 2017, the Kessler Foundation conducted a study about employment and people with disabilities.  The study found that the most common barrier to employment of disabled people was the lack of health insurance or the risk of losing government benefits.

There are several steps that can be taken to help people with disabilities gain employment.  The most important one is to restructure government benefits so that people with disabilities can work without losing them.  Due to the restrictions, many people are afraid to work but find that they need to because the benefits are not enough to sustain a quality of living.

Another step that can be taken is to empower employers to hire people with disabilities.  For example, employers can take tax credits or deductions for hiring disabled workers.

There is also a need to end subminimum wage.  The perception of people with disabilities has changed over the decades, especially with the accessibility options for disabled people to succeed in the workplace.

Being employed is a big step in living independently in our own communities.  It helps build character, improve social skills and gain new experiences.


Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

published in the Republican July 2020

This week we are celebrating Independence Day.  Independence means something different to everybody, but for people with disabilities being independent is everything.

For people with disabilities, even the simple things such as having their own identity, making their own choices and being in control of their lives is what independence means to them.  The first step to being independent is accepting the disability, but not letting it define you.  There are many ways to minimize your disability by being your own advocate, focusing on the things that can be controlled and setting personal goals to overcome your disability.

The next step is to take advantage of the support services and accessibility options that are available to you.  Support can be found through disability organizations, family and friends.

Most importantly, discover your purpose and find activities that bring you happiness and fulfillment.  Volunteering can be an excellent way to achieve this goal.  Always be on the lookout for new experiences and hobbies to broaden your horizons.

You should always make your health a top priority.  Look for exercise activities that you enjoy.  Try to eat healthy food on a regular basis.  Manage your stress with relaxing activities such as yoga and meditation.


Monday, June 22nd, 2020

published June 2020 in the Republican

Former Vice President and possible Democratic nominee for President Joe Biden released a disability plan.  He is calling for more access to community-based services, competitive employment and for the government to acknowledge disability issues.

His goal is to bring to bring full equality to people with disabilities. Some of the issues that are covered in the plan are to increase SSI benefits, full funding for the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act and increased support for direct care providers.

Biden also promises to back the legal rights of parents with disabilities.  He also will have the US Department of Justice review guardianship laws so that individuals are able to exercise self-determination.

Biden also plans to appoint a director of disability policy for the federal government.  This director’s objective will be to guarantee that people with disabilities will receive services.  Another purpose of this director will be to ensure that people with disabilities no longer have to wait decades for community-based services.

Joe Biden also released a plan for addressing the needs of disabled individuals during the pandemic.  He said, “For me, it all comes down to a simple truth: everyone is entitled to a life of dignity and opportunity.  And in a time of pandemic, when people with disabilities may be particularly vulnerable to this virus, we must redouble our efforts to ensure they have the resources and the protections they need for their health, well-being and independence.”

Five Disability Political Issues

Monday, June 8th, 2020

published in the Republican June 2020

Even though we are in a crazy time dealing with the pandemic and peaceful protests, we need to keep in mind that this is an election year. Sadly, a lot of times, politicians do not recognize disability issues.
There are five important issues that need to be considered for a candidate’s platform. The first one is work opportunities and benefits. Millions of people with disabilities want to enter the workforce. Unfortunately, many need other benefits to support themselves. Because of rules set up by Social Security, people often have a hard time balancing the two.
Long-term care is often an area of concern because many disabled individuals need help in their daily lives. The goal is to have funding to help people stay in their own homes and live independently in their own communities. This is an everyday worry, especially for families who want to make long-term care plans for their adult children.
Accessibility has always been a front-runner issue for people with disabilities. Even though the Americans With Disabilities Act has been in effect for thirty years, there is still much to be done to ensure accessibility. The ADA needs to be strengthened to avoid loopholes from developing and to block new legislation that weakens it.
To this day, parents and advocates are still fighting to get accommodations for children with disabilities in the school system. Many are concerned that there is not enough independent training of disabled students to enable them to transition into adulthood. Numerous advocates are calling for full funding of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.
We are now in a national crisis and many people are concerned with the safety of disabled people. There are flaws in the medical system for people with disabilities to receive equal care and support. Candidates need to take these issues seriously to draw in disabled voters.