May 2, 2016
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update

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We got some good news this week on the advocacy front. The Massachusetts House of Representatives added an additional $500,000 to the line item for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program.  This would enable an additional 60 people with disabilities to live in the community.  Now, it is on to the Senate for the budget.

As a reminder, there is a rally for the Deaf Grassroots Movement Wednesday in front of the Statehouse.  

We have a semi-controversial piece in our Disability Culture Section this week.  Let me know what you think of it.

Have a good week and a s always,  good reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Advocacy Opportunity: Accessible Pedestrian Survey 

We want to share this survey about Accessible 
Pedestrian Signals with you.  The survey was developed by the Mass. Alliance of Commissions On Disability in cooperation with the DPC

This is an opportunity for you to provide input and help us to develop potential standards for audible signals. These signals enhance the independence of people who are blind or have low vision.  You can find the survey here.  If you have any questions you can contact Colin Killick at ckillick@dpcma.org.
Volunteers Needed:  Transportation Technology Testing

When: Thursday, May 19, 2016, 3:30 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.

Where: Cambridge Public Library Lobby, 449 Broadway, Cambridge

The City of Cambridge and transportation software startup TransitScreen are looking for volunteers to assist with pilot testing of a new technology for making the City's public transportation information accessible to for people who are blind or have low vision. This technology allows for local transit information from a digital display to be transferred to personal smartphones so that accessibility features like VoiceOver/TalkBack can be used to read it.

We are looking for a group of people who are blind or have low vision and who own smartphones and are familiar with their accessibility features. Testing will take place in the Cambridge Public Library and will include a brief survey, configuration of the technology, use of the technology, and the opportunity to provide feedback. We expect testing will take about an hour, and light snacks will be provided.

We would greatly appreciate your help in making this new technology a success. Kindly RSVP to Kate or Michael at 617-349-4692 or CCPD@CambridgeMA.gov. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Employment Opportunity: Bilingual Receptionist/Administrative Assistant   

Volunteer Lawyers Project is looking to hire a full-time bilingual receptionist/administrative assistant. Job description is at at http://www.vlpnet.org/about/item.6683-Employment_Opportunities_at_VLP#Reception.

Please share with interested people.

Thanks,
 
Barbara L. Siegel, Esq.
VLP Deputy Director
Project Manager of Senior Partners for Justice
Volunteer Lawyers Project
99 Chauncy Street, Suite 400
Boston, MA 02111
 
Fax: 617-423-0061
Calendar:  Deaf Grassroots Movement National Deaf Rally

When:  Wednesday, May 4, 2016, 9:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.

Where: In front of the Massachusetts State House

The Deaf Grassroots Movement of Massachusetts (DGM-MA) will join a nationwide effort to raise awareness and increase political pressure to address the inequality and injustice that Deaf people continue to face. DGM-MA is hosting a "National Deaf Rally" on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 from 9AM - 4PM.

For the first time, community activists, advocates and allies from across the nation will gather together at the State House and adjoining Boston Commons. Last year Deaf activists and allies held a National Deaf Rally in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. on Labor Day weekend. This year's event in Boston will be similar and focus on educating the public about:

a) The need to provide American Sign Language (ASL) access and resources to Deaf, Deafblind, Hard of Hearing infants with multiple needs from birth to age five and their families to prevent language deprivation. This type of education encourages lifetime skills in both English literacy and ASL mastery.

b) The need for equal employment opportunities and the prevention of workplace discrimination against Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing people.

c) The need for qualified American Sign Language (ASL), certified Deaf interpreters (CDI) and Deafblind interpreters to provide equal communication access. The increasing use of video remote interpreting (VRI) and video relay services (VRS) with unqualified interpreters in situations when it is entirely inappropriate and even dangerous, such as in hospitals, is a civil rights issue.

d) The need for improved mental health and substance abuse services to support Deaf, Deafblind and Hard of Hearing individuals, statewide and nationally.

DGM-MA deeply appreciates the resources and services by the agencies currently serving the Deaf community in this state. However, these agencies are severely underfunded, and more advocacy work and education is needed to support them.

The rally will include cultural information and feature American Sign Language stories, poetry, and games to represent the overall Deaf community life and convey its strengths and struggles.

Contact Information:

Cheryl M. Quintal at CMQuintal@gmail.com
Patrick "Pax" McCarthy at infodgmma@gmail.com

Deaf Grassroots Movement Website: http://www.tdgm2015.org/
Calendar: Independent Living Center North Shore and Cape Ann Legislative Breakfast

When:  Friday, May 6, 2016, 8:30 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

Where:  Salem Waterfront Hotel and Marina, 225 Derby Street, Salem, MA  01970

Advocacy: "One person can make a difference, and everyone should try."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Continental Breakfast will be served. Suggested donation is $10 for a person with a disability (PWD) and for a PCA; $20 for a person without a disability. 

RSVP by Friday, April 29, 2016 by calling (978) 741-0077 or online via our website at
http://www.ilcnsca.org/legbreakfast.php
Calendar:  Mass Advocates Standing Strong   
  
When:  Thursday, May 19, 2016, 6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.

Where:  85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472

We are self-advocates in Massachusetts working together to empower ourselves through education, so we can make choices and improve and enrich our lives.  
"Nothing About Us Without US."

Basic Self Advocacy training
Starting and Maintaining a Self-Advocacy Group
Self-Advocacy Leadership Training (MDDC)
Awareness and Action: Educating Persons with Disabilities to Recognize, Report and respond to Abuse (with BPI)
Legislative Advocacy
Explore, Prepare, Act Basic skills to get a job.

Any questions please send to Keith Miller at keithmilleradvocate@gmail.com.
Disability Culture: Coming Out as A Cripple  

This article is not without controversy.  Nicola Griffith, a prize winning author, wrote a blog post this week entitled "Coming Out as a Cripple."  Some find her use of the word cripple offensive.  Others see it as a reclamation of a term in a powerful statement.   Either way, I say welcome to our community.  We need all help we can get.  You can read her piece here.  
Net News:  Settlement in Case of Blind Users vs. Uber 

A settlement has been announced in the case of National Federation of the Blind of California, et. al. v. Uber Technologies.  You can read about the settlement here.
In This Issue
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