Disability Digest 
The monthly DISABILITY RIGHTS e-publication
Disability Network Southwest Michigan
September 2019
Mourning the Loss of
Disability Rights Leader Mara Bistro  
Marca Bistro
Marca Bistro became a disability rights activist at the age of 23 after becoming paralyzed in a diving accident. In 1980, Bistro founded Access Living and became a leading voice in the disability rights movement. She helped author landmark legislation in the Americans with Disabilities Act and in 1994 was appointed as Chair of the National Council on Disability.  
Follow this link to read more about Mara Bistro's life and activism.
Department of Labor Deems IEPs
Appropriate for Family Leave   
woman participating in a meeting
The U.S. Department of Labor recently declared that parents and guardians may use the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) intermittently to attend Individual Education Program (IEP) meetings. IEP meetings are the primary platform for planning educational services for children with disabilities with teachers, school administrators and others involved in the child's education.  
Reportedly, parents frequently feel like outsiders in their child's IEP planning and taking time off from work to attend the meetings creates more obstacles. The Department of Labor has helped smooth the way to greater parent participation with this determination. Follow this link to read more about the Department of Labor's position on IEP participation. 
Self-Advocate fights for Independence over Guardianship     
man in an orange safty vest assisting with school busses
When Joshua Strong, an autistic man living in Maine, challenged his guardianship status he ended up changing the way courts in his state treat people with intellectual disabilities which resulted in a sweeping overhaul of Maine's probate code. He advocated for "supported decision-making" which will now be an alternative to consider in lieu of guardianship.  
Follow this link to read this story of independence over guardianship
September is Emergency Preparedness Month   
Being prepared for unforeseen events brings a great peace of mind. Should an emergency or disaster happen, you may not have the time or clarity to think of all the things you need to gather quickly to go. Taking time to think through all the details now, when you are not under pressure, will help you be ready should you need to leave your home in a hurry.  

Ableism workshop series  

dictionary display of the word _ableism_
In its simplest form, ableism is the belief system that tells us it is better to be non-disabled than it is to be disabled. Ableism also examines disability discrimination on a systemic level by looking at the ways our society designs physically and socially segregated systems.

We are expanding on our Ableism 101 workshop and offering Ableism 102 as a more in-depth study of ableism. Both workshops are being offered throughout our region in September. These workshops are free and open to the public.

Follow this link for all the details about our Ableism 101 & 102 workshops including a link to registration.

Disability Pride 2019    

raised fist with text _Disability Pride_
Society sends messages to people with disabilities that disability is "bad" - something we should fix, change or hide. We don't agree!
Join us in Lawrence Michigan on October 9 for this free Disability Pride workshop which explores and celebrates our disabilities as an important part of who we are. The workshop is for people with disabilities and presented by people with disabilities.
Follow this link for all the details and to register for Disability Pride.
This workshop is being presented by Disability Network Southwest Michigan and Michigan Disability Rights Coalition.
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.