Expanding Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

Logo for Disability Independence Group, Inc. (DIG).
Newsletter - Volume #1 January 2016
Table of Contents
A Note from Matt ...
Matt sitting next to Rexford

Happy Third Birthday Disability Independence Group!  For this year, we plan on expanding the rights of persons with disabilities though ensuring that opportunities are available for housing, education,  employment and community integration.  Many of our efforts are focused on insuring that persons with disabilities know how to enforce their rights, as well as informing, and if necessary - compelling, governmental and private entities to change their policies and practices to ensure equal opportunity.  Can you DIG it?
DIG in the News
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July 17, 2015, Deaf Discrimination: The Fight for Equality Continues, Huffington Post 
December 24, 2015, New screening process for children's health program, The News Service of Florida
January 11, 2016, Keiser Accused of Turning Away Deaf Student After Admission, Daily Business review
January 11, 2016, Man Claims Wrongful Firing by Cargill Over Diabetes, Daily Business Review
Operation Autism, A Resource Guide for Military Families, 10 Steps you can Take to Help Ensure Your Child's Safety
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featuredarticleFeature Article -- Coming in February

Each month in the DIG newsletter, we will have a feature article where we will present information that is topical and can be used.  Next month, our feature article will focus on the new legislation in Florida that will change the lives for Floridians with Disabilities.   There are over twenty bills in Florida that affect persons with disabilities, from a disability registration, hate crime bills, assistance for kids with disabilities, to medical marijuana. We will be analyzing, advocating, and being a watchdog to ensure that the legislature does not again shortchange Florida residents with disabilities. Watch us bark, and maybe bite.

Out and About with DIG
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MDC, The Lab Miami, lecture on technology and accessibility
Discrimination Forum, Miami Beach, FL
Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, Baltimore, MD 
ABC's of Emotional Support Animals, Orlando, FL
9-9-16 ABC's of Emotional Support Animals, Tallahassee, FL


2016 DRBA West Coast Conference, Los Angeles, CA

Debbie and Matthew with Monica Sabates.
Good bye Monica we will miss you

Matt in Tampa after a long week of depositions

Nik S. wearing a jurasic park shirt and standing in front of the bones of a dinosaur head.
litigationLitigation: Young Man Fired from Cargill because of Stereotypes about Diabetes
By: Matthew Dietz
On February 4, 2014, Nik Stahly was excited to get up and go to his new job, his first job. Nik obtained a job with Lab Support, an employment staffing company, who placed Nik at Cargill, the global food processing company. Nik's stepfather, Brian Tygesson, took Nik to the store to purchase the required steel-toe shoes to get ready for the job. Nik has autism and wanted to ensure that no detail involving his job was overlooked.
Katy Daniel-Rivera sitting down and smiling
  litigation2Litigation: Deaf Woman Denied Career Choice by Keiser University
By: Matthew Dietz
Katy Daniel-Rivera is a Deaf woman who lives in Florida, and works at the Bay Pines Veterans Administration ("VA") Hospital as a Radiology Medical Support Assistant in the Imaging Service Department. After receiving many positive performance reviews over her three years at the VA, Katy sought to advance her career by becoming licensed by the State of Florida in Radiologic Technology. As a Deaf woman, Katy has been successful in her chosen career and has had sign language interpreters or other services through all of her education and other licensing opportunities.
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kidscrusadersKids Crusaders Corner
By: Julie Fioravanti 

"Happy New Year" 2016!
Julie and Nick will be back to share more of their life adventures in the upcoming months!
Nick smiling and holding a teddy bear close to his head

Follow us on Instagram

a black circle with the words Domestic Violence in white with a red slash across the diagonal
dvDomestic Violence

On average, four or five women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends each day and women experience two million incidents of intimate partner violence each year. It only makes sense that domestic violence spills over into the workplace. It can be in-person harassment or phone calls, absenteeism because of injuries or less productivity due to extreme distress. Domestic violence for an employer is both a health and safety issue and also affects businesses and their bottom line.
We will continue to bring you information on this important topic this year as we continue our work on behalf of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. If you have a questions please email me sharon@justdigit.org
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at sharon@justdigit.org
The Wallet Card Logo.  A blue hexagon with the words the wallet card in the hexagon.
walletcardThe Wallet Card Project

The wallet card is a tool for young adults to use when they come into contact with law enforcement; either as a victim, a witness, or as a potential suspect.

The wallet card will help to clarify any interaction with law enforcement so that the behavior of the person with a disability is not misinterpreted as suspicious or as criminal behavior.

Click here to sign up for a wallet card

The Wallet Card Project is a collaboration with DIG, CGPD, and UM-NSU CARD.
Shop Amazon Smile
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Lesly Lopez head shot
leslyAsset Building for Individuals with Disabilities
By: Lesly Lopez
Public benefit programs for people with disabilities, especially Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are not aimed at increasing assets and independence for people with disabilities as a result individuals with disabilities often have very limited income and few, if any, assets. The intent of asset building initiatives is that as individuals develop assets, they will be able to move out of poverty and remain out of poverty. Many asset building services for people with disabilities will NOT cause loss of critical SSA disability cash payments and essential health insurance such as Medicaid or Medicare.
Types of asset building services for people with disabilities: (click on each one to read more)

I believe that if we all work together on education, support, and advocacy we can make asset buildup a reality for people with disabilities and low income families.

Follow us on Twitter

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By: Lisa Goodman

Have you ever had any questions about workplace accommodations or the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)? Some of those questions might include:
  • What accommodations could you, as an employee, ask for/be entitled to at your job?
  • What accommodations should I ask for given my Disability?
  • What accommodations are you as an employer, required to provide to an employee?
Not immediately knowing the answers to those questions is completely normal. AskJAN.org is a web site for employees and employers to educate themselves on workplace accommodations. 
Israel and Lorinda
lorindaWelcome to The Magic City! Miami, FL on Wheels
By: Lorinda Gonzalez

Tropical weather, palm trees on every corner, and delicious Cuban coffee. Welcome to Miami! The city whose heart beats to the sounds of a Latin drum, where beaches and nightlife never end. Miami is one of the world's most renowned vacation spots because of its rich culture and diversity, which also embraces accessibility.
Known as one of the most populous urban area in the United States, the Miami area is a hub for culture, media, entertainment, fashion, art and international trade. The city boasts modernized infrastructure design and is a central tourist location. Just like the rest of the state, the terrain is smooth with no high mountaintops or steep hills in sight. The vast majority of the city is well paved, with proper cutouts at each street end for wheelchair users. Miami International Airport is a newly renovated hub connecting domestic and international flights directly into the city. The airport was recently linked to the Metrorail Train system, making Miami one-step closer to a fully accessible city via public transportation. However, take note that the trains stop at midnight so if you're a night owl, you're better off renting a private vehicle.

Click here to read more
Logo for the fair housing video series.
The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi
patuYour Upward Journey

In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey: It Is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). I intend to promote the book through self-help seminars and sale of merchandise, such as mugs, journals etc.


A colored drawing of an open box with 3 small penguins surrounded by stuffing.
penguinA Parcel of Penguins


For more information about DIG and to find out how you can be involved, please call or email our executive director, Debbie Dietz at 305-669-2822 or  debbie@justdigit.org. 
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Disability Independence Group, Inc.

Thank you to the organizations that support our projects.

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  Disability Independence Group, Inc. | 305-669-2822 | info@justdigit.org | www.justdigit.org