Disability Network Southwest Michigan's quarterly newsletter
January 2020
text graphic_ _be counted Michigan 2020_
Be Counted: Census 2020

Every ten years a census is taken throughout the United States to count how many people there are and where they are living. This data is used to determine the amount of federal dollars that are allocated to each state and county for resources we all use.

In March, each household will be receiving a unique identification number in the mail which you will use when completing the census. You can participate online, by phone, or by mail using the ID# you received in the mail. It's that simple! Some households will receive the actual census in the mail, making it even easier to participate.

Follow this link to read more about the 2020 Census and why it is important to be counted.
2020 Census Jobs - Hiring Events

group of people_ Text_ We can be census takers_apply online 2020census.gov_jobs
The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting to fill hundreds of thousands of positions across the country to assist with the 2020 Census. Disability Network Southwest Michigan has organized two census hiring events in our area; one in Kalamazoo (January 15) and one in Benton Harbor (January 16). This is an opportunity to learn more about census jobs, ask questions, and apply right on the spot! At each of these events you will have access to:
  • A recruiter from the Census Bureau who can answer any questions you have about the census jobs available in your area.
  • A Social Security Benefits Counselor from Disability Network who will talk about how these jobs could impact your current benefits.
  • Laptops on site to apply online for a 2020 Census job.
Follow this link for details on our 2020 Census Hiring Events.
Patient No More Exhibition at Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Explores the Fight for Disability Rights
disability right portestors
A new traveling exhibition titled Patient No More: People with Disabilities Securing Civil Rights will be on display at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum from February 9 through June 7, 2020. In this exhibition, visitors will learn how the protesters built networks of support from unions to the Black Panthers, influenced the media and changed the language used to report on the protest and the controversies of 504 with regard to race and deafness. Above all, this exhibition reminds all of us that disabilities are a source of creativity and innovation, not pity or tragedy.

Special Event to Kick Off the Exhibition
The Kalamazoo Valley Museum has scheduled an educational event on Sunday, February 9 at 1:30 PM titled Civil Rights for People with Disabilities as part of their "Sunday Series" to kick off this exhibition. Disability Network Southwest Michigan will provide an insightful look at the history of activism by people with disabilities and allies to secure the civil rights guaranteed to all Americans. The event is free, but space is limited. Tickets must be obtained and presented 15 minutes prior to the event. For more information about this event and the exhibition, please visit www.kalamazoomuseum.org.
Movie Series deco
2020 Winter Movie Series 

Disability Network has a series of Movie & Discussion events lined up this winter. Come get out of the cold and enjoy a thought provoking movie based on a disability related theme. Follow these links for all the details:

Movies in Kalamazoo & St. Joseph

Movies in Lawrence

Removing Barriers Can Broaden Your Horizons

2 woman in a tac room at a horse stable
Kacie was referred to Disability Network Southwest Michigan through the Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation program. Through this program, our staff works with veterans to remove barriers to employment that exist due to a disability.

Our staff met with Kacie to develop an Independent Living Plan which would outline her independent living goals, identify what barriers exist, and lay out the best path for achieving those goals. Due to her PTSD, Kacie had become quite reclusive; aside from her sister and nephew who she lives with, Kacie had cut off all social contact for nearly two years. Staff worked with Kacie to explore various programs and volunteer opportunities that would incorporate her interests while slowly integrating her into social interaction with others.

Follow this link to read Kacie's story.
variety of animals
DO'S & DON'TS: Assistance Animals

There is a lot of confusion about what qualifies as a service animal and how they differ from emotional support animals. There are specific laws regarding what type of assistance animals are allowed in different places and whether an establishment can deny access to an assistance animal. Join us to learn more!

We are holding this workshop in Kalamazoo (January 29) and St. Joseph (January 30). Follow this link for details on our Assistance Animals workshop.
text graphic_ _ableism_
Ableism 101 & 102

In it's 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 offer an introduction to the concept of ableism in Ableism 101. Ableism 102 builds on what you learned in 101 with a deeper examination of the causes and impacts of ableism and what it means to be truly inclusive.

Follow this link for all the detail of our upcoming Ableism workshops in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek this March.
About Disability Network Southwest Michigan
Disability Network Southwest Michigan serves 8 counties in Southwest Michigan: Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Van Buren

Office Locations:
Kalamazoo: 517 E. Crosstown Pkwy., Kalamazoo, MI  49001, phone: (269) 345-1516
St. Joseph: 2900 Lakeview Avenue., St. Joseph, MI 49085, phone: (269) 985-0111

For the accessibility and well-being of our employees and visitors, Disability Network Southwest Michigan is a fragrance-free office. Please do not wear perfume, cologne or other scented products when visiting.

Mission Statement:
We educate and connect people with disabilities to resources while advocating social change.

Vision Statement:
Our vision is a community that values disability as human diversity, free of attitudinal barriers, where all people benefit with full access and inclusion.

Our Publications:
The LINK is our quarterly newsletter, available in printed format or emailed in electronic format and is available in alternative format upon request.
Disability Digest is a monthly e-newsletter focused on the Disability Rights Movement and upcoming Disability Network happenings. Available in electronic format only.

You can sign up online for our publications at www.dnswm.org, or contact Dale at
abbottd@dnswm.org or (269) 345-1516 x123.Current and past issues of our publications are available on our website at www.dnswm.org.

This newsletter is available in alternative format upon request.

Support Our Work:
You can help support the work we do with a tax-deductible donation to Disability Network. Visit our website to donate online or call Kristen at (269) 345-1516 x119.