Trevor Noah, Host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Image Source).
Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, in a recent broadcast called attention to the little known subminimum wage loophole allowing employers to pay workers with disabilities a wage far below the standard minimum wage, and as low as 22 cents an hour.

Ken Capone, Director of People On The Go and former DRM Board President, who was featured in the segment, stated, "Do you know how demeaning it was, going to a sheltered workshop, after completing a difficult programming class? But what if I did go back and work there? I probably would have still been there working for pennies on the dollar, not having the opportunities I have today."
Ken Capone, Director of People On The Go and former Disability Rights Maryland Board President.
Ken’s fierce and focused advocacy with DRM and a host of advocacy coalitions and partners produced in 2016 The Ken Capone Equal Employment Act (EEA), ending the payment of subminimum wages to people with disabilities in Maryland by 2020.

In the segment, 'If You Don't Know, Now You Know,' Noah profiles global news articles that illustrate the impact on disability communities of the loophole since it was established in the Roosevelt administration.

In Noah’s words, "If society pushes disabled people into these low-wage workshops, it tells them that this is where they're supposed to be and it limits their potential."

Carol Banks, an MTA MobilityLink rider was left stranded in Downtown Baltimore countless times.
In response to the growing paratransit crisis, DRM sent an urgent letter to Governor Larry Hogan requesting an emergency response plan to the crisis facing the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) paratransit (MobilityLink) riders. The service is significantly jeopardizing the safety and health of its riders and violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Numerous other advocacy coalitions and partner organizations signed the request for implementation of an emergency response plan to address the current chaos in MobilityLink services, low staffing, and related issues. See below:

  • In an August 2021 report, MobilityLink recorded its worst on-time performance rate in more than five years and the service has been performing substantially below its goals for many months.
  • Lack of available MobilityLink drivers- as of last month, they remain over 200 drivers short.
  • Delayed ride services for some can mean missing life-saving dialysis (and other medical) appointments and even in-home services.
  • Riders have been left outside for hours, including all night, without access to food or bathrooms, and the ever present fear of being a victim of assault.

DRM is committed to achieving full inclusion of people with disabilities in our communities. The possibility of being stranded by MobilityLink has resulted in many Marylanders cutting back medical care, their activities, and staying inside. We urge swift action from the governor's office and the MTA.


In a recent interview with WMAR on Thursday, November 4th, DRM managing attorneys Leslie Margolis and Megan Berger had the opportunity to highlight strategies and resources for parents of children with disabilities experiencing trouble finding support from school systems.

With the numerous changes to learning environments due to COVID; parents in Maryland are finding it difficult to understand what rights their children have as a student in public schools, and this challenge is even more complicated for parents of children with disabilities. Some schools say that they are unable to provide accommodations, but DRM says that is not the case.

Leslie Margolis identified a very explicit example of a red flag for parents, saying "If families are told, well, your child needs the service, but we're really sorry, we can't provide it. We don't have the money to give your child one to one aid or we don't have speech pathologist at the school. So we can't provide the service."

Hannah McFadden of the United States competes in the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) Paraclimbing World Cup qualifications round for her classification.
Hannah McFadden climbed to the top of the competition by winning Gold in her classification at the 2021 Paraclimbing World Cup competition in Los Angeles in October, 2021.

An advocate for disability communities, Hannah has recently been working for DRM as an investigator to identify rights violations and incidents of abuse and neglect. Previously, Hannah interned with DRM staff on prison reform issues.

As Hannah states, "DRM's staff goes non-stop to do their very best for Marylanders with disabilities who have been victimized and traumatized to keep them safe."
Lauren Young, DRM Director of Litigation (ret.) and guest at a Baltimore City Bar Association event in 2019 in which Lauren received the Government and Public Interest Lawyer of the Year award.
Lauren Young is a brilliant and powerful advocate for Marylanders with disabilities who live on the margins of society. For over 20 years at DRM, she battled societal injustice on a wide range of issues which directly impacted tens of thousands of persons with disabilities and their families in Maryland as well as nationally. Lauren dedicated her entire legal career to advancing the individual and collective rights of people who experience poverty and/or have disabilities.

Lauren’s command of the law coupled with her impressive negotiation skills made her a formidable force for DRM’s clients, consistently achieving critical victories. Working grueling hours and preparing tirelessly, Lauren was able to achieve legendary accomplishments.

Her unparalleled work ethic, integrity, and dedication are remarkable and she is highly esteemed and acclaimed among her peers. Despite her heavy workload, Lauren always finds time to provide guidance and mentoring for colleagues within and outside of DRM. Most noteworthy is her compassion, humanity, and respect for the most marginalized and stigmatized individuals in society.

In paying tribute, Robin C. Murphy, DRM’s Executive Director stated, “There is much I admire about Lauren. But for me, it is her profound respect for the individual qualities of her clients and the laudable manner in which she treats each and every person as the very best arbiter of their own needs, rather than superimposing her particular values and judgment that make Lauren a superstar of justice."

As DRM’s Director of Litigation, Lauren has been counsel in several systemic reform cases on behalf of people with disabilities in addition to helping people with disabilities gain access to hospitals, stores, and polling places.
 
Highlights of Lauren's extensive accomplishments include her representation of then high school athlete and now International Paralympic champion Tatyana McFadden, led to the enactment and implementation of the new state law she drafted on Equity and Fitness – a law that has served as a model for the federal government, and that opened up opportunities for students with and without disabilities to engage in athletic and recreational activities together.
 
Lauren has guided DRM in bringing and achieving innovative settlements in fair housing cases in federal court against the Housing Authorities of Baltimore and Prince George’s County, expanding affordable accessible housing for people with disabilities and revamping policies and procedures to ensure the Housing Authorities do not discriminate against residents and applicants with disabilities.
 
She also played an exceptional leadership role in the advocacy movement to limit solitary confinement of incarcerated persons with serious mental illness, to ensure that they receive appropriate mental health treatment, and that prison policies and procedures do not unlawfully discriminate against those with disabilities.
 
Lauren's contributions to advancing the rights of persons with disabilities have been inestimable and profound. She has improved countless lives through her advocacy and willingness to accept enormous challenges to address injustice and vindicate human rights.
Celebrate with us the incredible accomplishments of our exceptional honorees as well as the life altering work of DRM’s staff.

Please contact Robin C. Murphy with requests for information at RobinM@DisabilityRightsMD.org.
DRM is committed to advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities. Please consider a contribution to partner with us in achieving our goals.