Newsletter 2019
A note from Matt......
black and white headshot of MLK Jr
Two weeks prior to his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was in Eutaw, Alabama drumming up support for the Poor Peoples March. Dr. King recognized the intersectionality between race, poverty and disability.

Now we are fighting for the right.

Now we are fighting for the right to get proper medical care.

Now we are fighting for the right to have enough money to have our physical-medical examination every year.

Now we are fighting for the right to be able to see our dentist every year.

Now we are fighting for the right to get the basic necessities of life.

And in fighting for this right we aren’t going to stop in Montgomery this time. We aren’t going to stop in Atlanta this time. We aren’t going to stop in Columbia, South Carolina, this time. We’re going through all of them, but we aren’t going to stop. We aren’t going to stop in North Carolina, the city of Charlotte, this time. And we aren’t going to stop in Richmond, Virginia, this time. We aren’t going to stop until we get to the gates of the White House before Lyndon Baines Johnson, and the Congress of the United States of America.

Due to lack of available, accessible, and affordable health care, there are significant more persons of color in the disability community – and less treatment options for such people. This was unacceptable in 1968, and continues to be unacceptable in 2019.
Featured Article
The FHA and Pool Lifts
mr. ferebee standing wearing jean shorts and a stripped tank top
David Ferebee is a trailblazer for LGBT rights, but never did he imagine he was going to be fighting for his rights as a person with a degenerative disability within the LGBT community itself. In the 1990s, in conservative North Carolina, David was one of only three people who were comfortable having their picture in the Charlotte Observer in stories on Gay issues. When David and his partner, Bill Cooke, left Charlotte ten years later to move to gay-friendly, Wilton Manors, he was thrilled of his accomplishments to make queer folk proud and unafraid to stand up and be counted. 

It was refreshing to Bill that they were moving to a neighborhood where he and David would not get the threatening phone calls and feel the fear of not being accepted. In Wilton Manors, David and Bill took advantage of everything Wilton Manors had to offer in the way of restaurants, clubs, a gay gym, and shopping. They felt right at home, welcomed, accepted, and included since there were gay couples and gay friendly people everywhere.

Legislative Update
The PAWS Act
scales of justice
In my October article I wrote about how most domestic violence shelters do not provide adequate space for pets when a victim is fleeing their home and seeking safety. Many times victims worry about what will happen to their pet and that fear and worry keeps them in dangerous situations. Multiple studies have shown that domestic abusers often seek to manipulate or intimidate their victims by threatening or harming their pets, but according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), only three percent of domestic violence shelters across the country accept pets. The ASPCA reported that a study in Wisconsin found 68 percent of domestic violence survivors reported their abusers were also violent towards their animals. A similar study found that as many as 25 percent of domestic violence survivors have returned to an abusive partner out of concern for their pet. A separate 2007 study found that as many as one-third of domestic abuse survivors reported they delayed leaving an abuser for an average of two years out of concern for the safety of their pet.

A new bill has been passed in Congress called the Peters Bill to Protect Survivors of domestic Violence & Pets, and hopefully this bill will begin to address this serious issue. The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act helps provide funding for facilities that harbor survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence and their pets, or are looking to do so. The legislation passed the Senate and the House of Representatives as part of a larger bill setting agriculture policy and has been signed into law. 
DIG in the News
December 19, 2018, Daily Business Review, No Continuance for Cancer Treatment? Ruling Puts Spotlight on Court Deadlines,
Out & About with DIG
Enable Project Civic Engagement Training
February 7, 2019
Miami, FL

Enable Project SSDI Training
February 22, 2019
Miami, FL

AAJ Winter Conference
February 2 - 6, 2019
Miami Beach, FL

Enable Project Accessibility Training
March 7, 2019
Miami, FL

COPAA 21st Annual Conference
March 7-10, 2019
New Orleans, LA

NFB tenBroek Disability Law Symposium
March 28-30, 2019
Baltimore, MD

DCBA Conference: Diversity in the Practice
April 5, 2019
Miami, FL

21st Annual Family Cafe
June 7-9, 2019
Orlando, FL

FL Bar Annual Convention
June 26-29, 2019
Boca Raton, FL
supper social participants eating dinner at california pizza kitchen
[January 2019 Supper Social Club]
matt training at the MDLSA holiday event standing with Donna Blake infront of a picture of lucy the dog
[Matt Speaking at the MDLSA Holiday Party]
training with the staff of concerned african women
[Debbie speaking to the Staff at Concerned African Women]
Tyler holding a DIG gift bag after he won the supper social raffle
[Tyler winning the first raffle at the Supper Social Club]
lucy the dog sleeping on her bone
[Lucy taking a nap at the end of a long week]
DIG office holiday party. all of the staff sitting at a table eating lunch
[DIG Holiday Luncheon with our staff]
Miami Inclusion Alliance
DIG has just completed three years as the lead agency of a really interesting and powerful grant to study the intersection of Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault and Disability. I want to share with you what we have accomplished. We have named our group the Miami Inclusion Alliance or the MIA. Our partners are some of the most important organizations in the current system of care for victims/survivors in our community. They are the Miami Dade County Community Action and Human Services department (CVAC), Mujeres Unidas en Justicia, Education, y Reforma, (MUJER), and Dade Legal Aid. The partners applied for and received this funding from the Office of Violence Against Women.

Our focus has been to build capacity in each of our organizations enabling us to better serve persons with disabilities who are victims/survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault and 
our goal has been to create an environment that is accessible, safe and promotes dignity and respect.  Text Link
The View from Here
Head shot of Justine
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” -C.S. Lewis
I ended 2018 on a really positive note. I finally achieved one of the big goals I’d been working towards over the past three years. On Christmas Eve, I walked in to the restaurant where we have our annual dinner with friends. Now, I know this may not seem like a huge deal to most people. Walking in to a restaurant is something most take for granted. But it was a huge step in the right direction for me.

Shortly after my last surgery in 2015, I laid in my hospital bed and promised my best friend, who was visiting me at the time, that I would be back up on my feet very soon and I’d walk in to our dinner the night before Christmas. Honestly? I thought it would be that year. Christmas was just a few months away and I thought I was going to be strolling in to dinner THAT year. I had no concept of the difficult road that lay ahead of me. I could have never imagined the demand physically my body was going to have to endure, or the mental and emotional stamina I would need to fight back every day over years and years to recovery. Probably, and most importantly, I had no idea the time it would take. Over three years later, three years of working hard every day no matter what, I was able to make good on my promise to my friend. And to myself. Text Link
Kids Crusaders
Kids Crusaders Logo
Julie will be back soon.

Lucille's Wall
Lucy with a sign in her mouth that says all guests must be approved by the dog.
clip art of a new years resolution list with a pencil
New Year’s Resolutions

For my January Newsletter Article, I thought it would be most appropriate that I write about my New Year’s Resolutions. This year I plan on:

1.      Limiting myself to four chicken wrap twists per day- This will be the most difficult because if you know me, you know I have four before 10am.

2.      Each day doing something that makes me happy enough to want to roll around on the floor.

3.      Learning a new trick

4.      Going on more adventures

5.      Joining a gym- Just kidding exercise is not a problem for me. I go on plenty of walks and even run the golf course.

6.      Advocating more for my clients

7.      Being courteous to my co-workers while they are on the phone- I tend to exercise my vocal cords loudly at inappropriate times and people I’ve never met seem to know me by name because of that.

8.      Not frightening the following people who come to our office on a regular basis: the person who delivers our mail, the person who delivers water, the person who empties the shredder and the person who delivers office supplies

9.      Being more welcoming to people who come to our office for meetings- What can I say, I’m a creature of habit. It takes me a minute to adjust to having additional people in the office but when I do, I get along great with them!
The Wallet Card Project
the wallet card words in a diamond shape blue figure
Students from South Western City School District standing with Deputies from Franklin County Sheriff's Office
On November 26 th, 2018, transition interns in the South-Western City School District (Columbus, OH) completed training on using Wallet Cards and were able to role-play with Franklin County Sheriff Deputies. This was a great experience for all!
Click Here for More Information
students role playing with police officers
Wheels & Heels
Lorinda in front of a cabinet in her home.
“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” — Rachel Zoe

Fashion and beauty are marketed to us in all avenues, from signage on tall buildings in downtown to pamphlets scattered on a coffee table in our local coffee shop. Yet, historically there’s been a lack of representation in fashion and beauty specifically of women with disabilities. Catalogs have embraced models with disabilities for many years - children using wheelchairs or visually impaired teens - but the mass media, major designers have traditionally turned a blind eye...up until recently.
black rectangle box outlined with a yellow line and the words Supper social club in the box in white
We are having a raffle this month.

Everyone that attends will be entered into the raffle.

Raffle prize is a $20 gift card to CPK.
flyer with dates for supper social for jan through jun flyer is red and black with yellow background and red polka dots
Supper Social Club - February 2019
California Pizza Kitchen, 300 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134

02/11/19 6:30pm - 02/11/19 8:30pm

I'll be there!
I can't make it
Benefits Information
head shot of Lesly
The proper use of Benefits (SSI)

First, you must make sure the beneficiary’s day-to-day needs for food and shelter are met. Then, the money can be used for any of the beneficiary’s medical and dental care that is not covered by health insurance, and for personal needs, such as clothing and recreation. If there is money left after you pay for the beneficiary’s needs, it must be saved, in Special accounts approved by SSA like Special needs Trust, ABLE trust account, IDA accounts, or PASS plan.

Benefits should be used for current needs such as food, clothing, shelter, utilities, dental and medical care and personal comfort items, or reasonably foreseeable needs. If not needed for these purposes, the benefits must be conserved or invested on behalf of the beneficiary. Where the beneficiary has unmet current maintenance needs, saving benefits serves little purpose and would not be in the beneficiary's best interests. 
REV UP Florida!
Join one of our three new standing committees
  1. Communication. Chair: Jay Hahr
  2. Planning. Chair: Sandra Newsom
  3. Organizational. Chair: Christinne Rudd
Educational Information
head of stephanie langer holding a business file and wearing a black and white polkadot shirt.

Two years ago, my 10 year old client, who is small for his age, was arrested for hitting his teacher at school. My client is autistic and had an individualized education and a behavior plan to address his problem behaviors at school. His teacher and classroom aides would physically restrain my client. Restraint included being held down in a chair, held down on the ground, having his arms pinned to his side while standing, being carried out of the room, and held against a wall. He was also put into a “safe room” which was a box with a drain on the floor, a slit in the door for a window, no furniture and locked from the outside. He was isolated away from other students and often cornered by staff into certain areas of the classroom or office. My client was in a constant state of fight or flight.
Time to Raise the Bar
head shot of Jason Hahr.
My name is Jason Hahr , I am a 32-year-old average looking guy. There is nothing all that special about me, when you first look at me. Okay that was a slight exaggeration. I do roll around with a giant metal contraption everywhere. You see I have a form of cerebral palsy and use an electric wheel chair. A majority of you who are reading this may have pre-conceived notions about cerebral palsy and disabilities in general. While this piece will highlight a little bit of my personal story, my intention is to present the human side of disability and address the idea that society has such low expectations for people with disabilities.

 I grew up in a small town in Montgomery county Maryland. There is nothing all that special about our town. It resembles many other small towns in America, there are very few people with disabilities in my hometown and even fewer who are as physically limited as I am. Due to the fact that I am lucky enough to have been educated in a post ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) world I was mainstreamed throughout all of grade school. I was treated like all of my able-bodied peers. This meant that I was expected to complete the same assignments they did with very little modifications. Thanks to this mentality I never saw my disability as a barrier to achieving my goals. My disability would hit me smack in the face towards the end of my junior year. It was not a question of whether I was smart enough to go to college but would my physical limitations prevent me from doing so. Thanks to a wonderful lady in the guidance department I was able to find a school that met my personal care needs. I graduated in 2004 and shorty there after headed off to college like so many of my peers. 
Your Upward Journey
The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi
In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey:

It is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). Text Link