Disability Digest 
The monthly DISABILITY RIGHTS e-publication
Disability Network Southwest Michigan
March 2020
Action Alert: Tell Congress to Protect the Rights of People with Disabilities during the COVID-19 Crisis
APSE logo
Congress has been working on the 3rd COVID-19 relief package. Once again, the current draft excludes people with disabilities and it is vital that they hear about the needs of people with disabilities and the service system that supports them to live and work in their communities!
Contact your Members of Congress and ask them to ensure that COVID-19 relief includes addressing the critical health and economic needs of older adults, people with disabilities and those with underlying health conditions, front-line workers and family caregivers. Follow this link for the ASPE Action Alert with specific talking points, templates, and links to your elected representatives.  
Be Counted: The 2020 Census   
_Be Counted Michgian 2020_
By now, you should have received your invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. It is important that everyone completes the Census. The data collected is used to determine the amount of federal dollars that are allocated to each state and county for resources we all use.
The State of Michigan will receive $1,800 annually for each person counted who is living in Michigan. This funding is used to support important services such as health care programs, food assistance programs, subsidized housing, education, transportation infrastructure and much more. If you want to support these programs in your community, you must be counted!
Follow this link for more information about the 2020 Census and what programs it funds. If you have questions about completing your Census, contact our Information & Referral Department at 269-345-1516 or 1-877-674-5209. 
A group of activists with disabilities are taking action
against Coronavirus 
group of 5 people posed
Disability Justice Culture Club is a small group of activists in California's Bay Area who identify as disabled, queer people of color are taking action on coronavirus in their city. They are producing and distributing anti-cornonavirus kits to people living in homeless encampments in the Oakland area. The kits consist of hand sanatizer they have made themselves, disinfectant, vitamins, respirator masks and gloves.
Stacey Milbern, one of the activists, said that many people in the disabled community are very familiar with feeling isolated and surviving in crisis mode when resources and support are in short supply. The small group wanted to use their personal experience and know-how to help other underserved populations their community. "Often times, disabled people have the solutions that society needs. We call it crip wisdom," said Milbern. Follow this link to read more about the coronavirus work they are doing.  
Judith Heumann named in 100 Women of the Year  
TIME over with Judith Heumann
TIME magazine named disability rights activist, Judith Heumann, as 1977 Woman of the Year. For 72 years, TIME magazine named a Man of the Year, and with few exceptions, it was always a man. TIME has now launched a "100 Women of the Year" project which spotlights influential women who were often overshadowed. This includes women who occupied positions from which the men were often chosen and far more who found their influence through activism or culture.
Follow this link to read more about Judith Heumann's 1977 Woman of the Year designation.  
Know Your Rights: Overview of laws protecting people with disabilities. 
court gavel
It's important to know your rights. In this workshop we will be discussing the laws that protect people with disabilities in the areas of employment, housing, public places, voting, transportation and education. The information in this workshop is intended as an overview for the purpose of advocating for your rights; we are not providing legal advice.

This workshop is being offered in April in St. Joseph and Kalamazoo. Follow this link for more information and to register for  Know Your Rights.  
Notice regarding office closure    
After much consideration, research and conversations with staff and community partners, we have decided to take proactive measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. As of March 13, 2020, we have suspended face-to-face services with customers across our eight county region through April 12, 2020. All Disability Network hosted events, including peer support and advocacy groups, are cancelled through April 12, 2020.

We will still be providing services to customers and community members via:
At this time we are unsure how long these precautions will be in place. We will update the home page of our website with any new information. Please know that all events beyond April 12 are tentative at this time. 
Disability Network Southwest Michigan
Kalamazoo Office
St. Joseph Office
517 E. Crosstown Parkway
2900 Lakeview Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
St. Joseph, MI 49085
(269) 345-1516
(269) 985-0111

You can help support the Disability Rights Movement in Southwest Michigan with a tax-deductible donation to Disability Network.
Visit our website to donate on-line.