Disability Digest 
The monthly DISABILITY RIGHTS e-publication
Disability Network Southwest Michigan
May 2019
Successful Legislative Day in Lansing!
On Wednesday, April 24 all of the Centers for Independent Living (CILs) throughout Michigan converged in Lansing to meet with State legislators to advocate for disability issues. A group of Board members and other volunteers joined our President & CEO, Joel Cooper, on behalf of Disability Network Southwest Michigan and met with 13 State Representatives from our districts.  
_changing signs _ changing minds_ with active icon
In addition to individual local issues, all of the CILs brought a consolidated message to ask for support for two recently proposed House Bills which call for 1) updating the Modified International Symbol of Access in Michigan from the previous stationary icon to the new more active icon (HB 4516); and 2) removing the word "handicapped" from signs and communications on the state and local levels (HB 4517). Both bills met with overwhelming bi-partisan support.  
Follow this link to read a press release from Representative Beau LaFave about the House Bills.  
Changing the way we talk about disability 
Amy Oulton says that "well-meaning" comments from strangers and in the media cause her to feel both hyper-visible and invisible at the same time. Like all of us, one faction of Amy does not define her, yet her disability seems to be the only thing people see. In this TedTalk, Oulton addresses societal perceptions of disability and her vision for how we all change the way we approach disability. 
A study of disability in the media  
Judith Heumann
While completing a year-long fellowship at the Ford Foundation, Judy Heumann studied the inclusion (or lack there of) of disability in film and television. Through the fellowship, Heumann published a report titled Road Map for Inclusion: Changing the Face of Disability in Media which offers a rigorous study of how disability has typically, and problematically, been portrayed in scripted television and film. The report offers concrete recommendations about how the media can reduce stereotypical representations of disability, and in doing so, help reduce discrimination and advance equality.
Follow this link to learn more about Heumann's study and an interview with her about her findings. 
Peppa Pig gets Mandy Mouse right!
Manda Mouse _ a cartoon mouse in a wheelchair
The show Peppa Pig  did a great job recently of  introducing their new character, Mandy Mouse. Mandy happens to use a wheelchair, but when she was introduced she was simply described as a visitor -- no mention of her wheelchair or disability. The fact that Mandy uses a wheelchair is not ignored on the show; it's just that being in a wheelchair isn't Mandy's defining characteristic, which is an important message for kids (and adults for that matter)!  
Follow this link to read the Washington Post's OpEd, Why the new Peppa Pig character gives me hope
ADA Anniversary Celebration
Friday, July 26, 2019
Mark your calendars now and save the date for our Americans with Disabilities Act Anniversary Celebration. This year it will be held on Friday, July 26. The event will include a free lunch, presentations and awards ceremony. Watch for more info to come!
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.