Volume 04| April 2018
Your monthly news & updates
A note from Matt....
This month we met with a group of delegates from Central and South America to discuss Minority Participation in the Democratic Process at our office. The issue of disability rights and the right to live independently transcends national borders, and we all have much to share with each other.
This picture is Debbie and me with Hon. Beatriz Alvarez Jahuira, President of the Commission of Institutional and Administrative Management of the Municipal Council of La Paz, Bolivia. 
Debbie and Matt with a disability advocate from Bolivia.
Lessons From the Humiliation and Death of Sandra Faye Twiggs
On Sunday April 15, 2018, Judge Merrilee Ehrlich stripped any shred of dignity or humanity from a 59 year-old woman, who appeared before her, in her first appearance before the court after being arrested. In as much as the video (below) and the transcript (attached) demonstrate how unhinged Judge Ehrlich acted towards this women, and how the Court staff and lawyers, like palace eunuchs, allow such unabated behavior to continue. However, the outrage from the surface must be examined, and lead to thorough introspection and change, and not merely the retirement and resignation of this long-time judge.

ms. twiggs sitting in her wheelchair at the north broward bureau
Attorney Client Privilege
They do not sell immunity cloaks in law school - Your attorney is not a “fixer” and confidentiality can be lost.

"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns."
―Vito Corleone

As a civil rights lawyer, I have been involved in many cases where the defendant’s attorney is used as the employee or agent of the discriminating entity. In most of these circumstances, the defendant alleges a confidentiality right for all communications to and from the attorney, as well as protection for all acts of the attorney. The Michael Cohen search warrant and investigation will pare down and examine what acts of an attorney are within the scope of confidentiality, and what acts of the attorney place him in the same position as any other agent (or employee) of a principal who is not licensed to practice law. 

clip art of an attorney smiling and hold a briefcase in one hand and a cell phone in the other.
C.A.K.E. Project
Compassion Acceptance Kindness Empathy

The world seems to have become an increasingly difficult place for youth/teens to navigate. Issues from bullying to school shootings to suicides seem to permeate the media. Teens are mobilizing all across the world to take a stand against gun violence. People of all ages seem to have reached a point where all of this finally seems to be too much to tolerate. Spotlights are shining on the issue of mental health in young people, and the pervasive feelings of hopelessness, alienation, and depression that are faced by record numbers today. There seems to be a momentum previously unseen and it seems like an excellent time to capitalize on that deep desire to simply do SOMETHING.

half of a white multi-layer cake with a rainbow colored heart in the middle
Out and About with DIG

Corporate Run
April 26, 2018
Downtown Miami

Connect Miami
May 1 - 10, 2018

Capital One
Budges Made Easy
May 3, 2018 2-3pm
Miracle Mile Cafe
(ASL Interpreters will be at the workshop)

GAL Disabilities Training Conference
May 2-4, 2018
Orlando, FL

Supper Social Dinner
May 7, 2018, 6:30 pm
California Pizza Kitchen in Coral Gables

Family Cafe
June 15-17, 2018
Orlando, FL

National Disability Voter Registration Week
July 16-20, 2018

DIG in the News

Spring 2018, Civil Rights Insider, Federal Bar Association Civil Rights Law Section’s Newsletter, Are the Courts “Inherently Biased” Against People With Disabilities?

Debbie and Matt standing with two U of Miami students after speaking at an event.
[ Debbie and Matt with Hailey and Chitra at the University of Miami ]
Patrick and Matt sitting next to Lucy the dog and lucy is giving Patrick a kiss on the check.
[ Lucy and Matt are supporting Patrick for the Board of Governors]
Yare Lisa Lucy Matt and Pam Stratton sitting at our conference table with treats from Veritext.
[ Thank you Veritext and Pam for the treats]
supper social participants sitting at a table having dinner.
[ Supper Social Club Dinner]
Sharon speaking to young women leaders at national council  of jewish women
[ Sharon training young leaders from NCJW]
Matt and Bryan Green from HUD.
[ Bryan Green and Matt]
Debbie and Matt with Brianna at the Capital One Cafe in Coral Gables.
[ at the Capital One Cafe with Brianna]
Debbie and Lisa standing  out side of the police department with police officers from Palm Bay Police Department
[ Palm Bay Police Department]
a table with t-shirts and an iron.  we are customizing our own t-shirts
[ Making T-shirts for the Corporate Run]
Debbie and Matt with a disability advocate from Bolivia.
[ Matt and Debbie with advocates from the Americas]
Debbie and Matt with an advocate from Central America.
[ Matt and Debbie with advocates from the Americas]
matt and debbie with a disability rights advocate from Mexico
[ Matt and Debbie with advocates from the Americas]
Kids Crusaders Corner
Julie will be back soon.
She just went on a fabulous trip with Nick for his 27th birthday.
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Miami Inclusion Alliance
There is what is being called an EPIDEMIC of sexual assault of college students with disabilities. There have been several high profile cases in the news the last few years highlighting sexual assault on our college campuses, but sexual assault at the intersection of abuse and disability has not been receiving any national attention by the news media. Anneliese Brown, a Senior Program Associate with the Vera Center on Victimization and Safety is studying this issue and has begun training and discussion on college campuses. I want to share her report and solutions click the link below to read.

If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at sharon@justdigit.org
square with the number 10 and then the words days of connection
Connect Miami
For 10 days in May, we challenge everyone to step out of their comfort zones and connect with people who are not like them, in whatever way they are ready.

Lucille's Wall
By: Lucy
Today is the last day to vote for my human friend, Patrick Montoya, for the Florida Bar Board of Governors. Please vote for Patrick today-  https://www.esc-vote.com/flabar

Matt sitting at his desk with Lucy the dog.
Like our Facebook Pages
DIG Facebook Page - General DIG information
Deaf Alice Facebook Page - Issues related to the Deaf Community

Kids Crusaders Facebook Page - Issues related to medically fragile and medically complex children and their families

Animal Partners Facebook Page - Issues related to service animals and emotional support animals
If people with disabilities voted at the same rate as people without disabilities who have the same demographic characteristics, there would be about 2.2 million more voters. ( Lisa Schur and Douglas Kruse, Rutgers University)
• A projected 35.4 million people with disabilities will be eligible to vote in the November 2016 elections, representing close to one-sixth of the total electorate.
• The number of eligible voters with disabilities has increased 10.8% since 2008, compared to an increase of 8.5% among eligible voters without disabilities.
• There will be 62.7 million eligible voters who either have a disability or have a household member with a disability, more than one-fourth of the total electorate.
Benefits Information
Work incentives Protecting Health Coverage for People with Disabilities
Many SSA beneficiaries are afraid of losing their health insurance coverage because of employment however SSA provides protections to SSA beneficiaries to be able to work and keep their Medicare or Medicaid.

Other health care options:

head shot of Lesly
The View from Here
Justine will be back next month with a new article.
Head shot of Justine
Hurricane Season
If you will require evacuation assistance and sheltering, it is advised that you register for the Emergency & Evacuation Assistance Program prior to an emergency in order to ensure that help will be provided to you when needed. It may also be used post-disaster to provide other assistance. Pre-registered residents will receive priority during an emergency. (Note: This does not apply to people in nursing or assisted living homes!) The form is available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole. To apply, visit: http://www.miamidade.gov/hurricane/evacuation-assistance.asp . To request this material in alternate format such as Braille, Large Print, or electronically, please call (305) 468-5900.

satellite view of a hurricane. it shows the eye of the storm and then surrounded by red, yellow, and green for the intensity of the storm.
The Wallet Card Project
The wallet card is a tool for young adults or adults to use when they come into contact with law enforcement; either a a victim, a witness, or as a potential suspect.

The wallet card will help to clarify any interaction with law enforcement so that the behavior of the person with a disability is not misinterpreted as suspicious or as criminal behavior.

The Wallet Card Project is a collaboration with DIG, CGPD, and UM-NSU CARD.
Wheels & Heels
“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise preserve it.” - Plato

Fitness training and excercise have become a trend, especially in tropical cities like Miami, Florida where beauty and health go hand in hand with the perception of a happy life. Yet for individuals with disabilities, partaking in exercise programs can be a major challenge. Until recently, there were two choices: physical therapy sessions or gym time. Both have their drawbacks. Phsyical therapy is typically only for short sessions, isn’t one one on one and requires lots of medical documentation for approval. The gym is great for a person who is able to workout on their own, but misses the mark in providing accessible accomodations for many individuals with disabilities. Unfortuntely, this disparity makes it seem like a person in a wheelchair has no choice but to live a sedentary lifestyle. Studies show that the less movement someone has, the higher increase there is in health problems – from blood clots and stroke to obesity and cancer. As a very active person, I’ve saught out ways to be physically active but had a challenge finding somewhere that served my needs. Until now!

Lorinda in front of a cabinet in her home.
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Follow us on Twitter @dislaw
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Follow us on Twitter @justdigit
Shop Amazon Smile
When you shop Amazon Smile, you can support our organization.
Supper Social Club
Join us for dinner and conversation at California Pizza Kitchen in Coral Gables.

May 7, 2018, at 6:30pm

black rectangle box outlined with a yellow line and the words Supper social club in the box in white
Dragonfly Training
Watch out for our new training program called Dragonfly.
the word dragonfly and the to the right an image of a dragonfly.  the entire image is green.
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Follow us on Instagram
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Follow us on Instagram DisabilityIndependenceGroup
Your Upward Journey
In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey: It is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). I intend to promote the book through self-help seminars and sale of merchandise, such a mugs, journals, etc.

Disability Independence Group | Phone: 305-669-2822 | Fax: 304-441-4181