May 13, 2019
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


It is another busy week for the DPC Update, even the two news stories are local.

We begin with two editorials.  The first is by Harry Weissman of the DPC advocacy staff.  He's seeking your help with one of our legislative priorities.  We want to make sure family courts cannot use disability as a reason to rule against someone.

In our second editorial, I provide some visual proof that the Baker Administration is violating the ADA.

The Museum of Science needs some volunteers.

In the news, we have one piece on accessibility in the Beacon Hill neighborhood...a long awaited success story.  Also, Harvard decides web accessibility is a good thing.
Until next week, happy reading. 

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
DPC Editorial: Let's Fight to End Discrimination in Family and Juvenile Court

[Editor's Note:  Another week, another chance to show off the talent pool here at the DPC.  This week we hear from Harry Weissman, our JOIN for Justice Fellow for 2018-19.  Harry has been working on several advocacy initiatives at the DPC.]

Hello Everyone,

We need your support for H.1487/S.983: An Act prohibiting discrimination against adults with disabilities in family and juvenile court proceedings.

Capable parents with disabilities should not be denied the right to raise their children. Parents with disabilities lose custody or access to their children at alarming rates in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Studies show removal rates of children from a parent with a psychiatric disability reported as high as 70 to 80%; where a parent has an intellectual disability, reported between 40 and 80%. 

S.983/H.1487, introduced by Sen. Lovely and Rep. Khan, will require courts to determine if a parent's disability causes actual harm to their child by requiring written findings when a parent's disability is relied on as a negative factor in a custody or parenting time determination. It will also require courts to determine whether harm to the child can be alleviated by adaptive equipment or supportive services for the parent.

To support as an organization, fill out this short form to be listed as an endorsing organization on campaign materials.

To support as an individual, if you are a parent with a disability and would like to be involved in the campaign, please reach out to me, Harry Weissman at or 617.977.4084.

If you have any questions about the bill or want to discuss it with us, please don't hesitate to reach out to me!


Harry Weissman
JOIN Fellow, DPC
DPC Editorial: Visual Proof of the Baker Administration Flouting the ADA
Two weeks ago I wrote a column questioning whether or not the Baker Administration was undermining the civil rights of persons with disabilities.  You may remember I noted that the Administration has not appointed a Director for the Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD), even though David D'Arcangelo had left the position in August.

The Administration has been blocking new Architectural Access Board regulations (AAB) and was attempting to hi-jack the selection of a new Executive Director.  These two issues are related because the AAB and the Director of MOD are both supposed to work to ensure that the civil rights of people with disabilities are observed in this state.

Today, I am offering up visual proof that the Administration is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.  At Wellington Station and the Station Landing in Medford, a new stairway and ramp are being built to assist people going from the T station up to the Route 16 sidewalk.  By law if the stairs are opened for public use, the ramp must also be open for public use.

Image of the top of a cement staircase descending with a iron railing on the right.  To the left of the staircase is a green metal fence with a sidewak to the far left.
Image of the top of a cement staircase descending with a iron railing on the right. To the left of the staircase is a green metal fence with a sidewalk to the far left.

So now that the staircase is open, of course the ramp should be open.

Image of 3 orange and whte barrels blocking the entrance to a ramp.  There is an office building in the background..
Image of 3 orange and white barrels blocking the entrance to a ramp. There is an office building in the background..

So let's go down to the station level and see what it looks like below.

Picture on the right is a cement staircase with a metal railing on the right side.  On the left side of the magie is two orange and white cans tied to a lamppost. There is a ramp behind a white sign with black lettering that states _Sidewalk closed no pedestrian access beyond this point.
Pictured to the right is a cement staircase with a metal railing on the right side. On the left side of the image are two orange and white cans, tied to a lamppost. There is a ramp hidden behind a white sign with black lettering, that states, "Sidewalk closed no pedestrian access beyond this point."

Well, looks fairly convincing to me.

Adding to the insult of this illegal behavior, up in Wellington Circle, if a pedestrian in a wheelchair tries to get to the T station from the other direction through Station Landing, they will find that the crosswalks and highways of Route 16 and 28 have been dug up, so that new surface can be laid.  MassDOT (Department of Transportation) has failed to ensure that accessibility is provided, as stipulated by AAB and ADA regulations.  Thus commuters in wheelchairs must ride on the roadways of Route 28 and Route 16.

So here we are, twenty-nine years since the ADA became law.  We have MOD with no Director in sight.  We have an AAB being stripped of its power to hire an Executive Director.  We have an Administration that apparently has no respect for our safety or civil rights.  

I rest my case.


John E. Winske
Executive Director
Volunteer Opportunity:  New Exhibit Access - Museum of Science  

The Museum of Science, Boston is committed to the inclusion of people with disabilities and strives to create an environment that is inviting, engaging, and accessible for everyone. We are currently developing an several new exhibits, including an immersive, multi-sensory experience, that are scheduled to open in the summer of 2020.   We are seeking people with a range of disabilities who would be willing to test the exhibit prototypes throughout the summer. Testing could last anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes and includes a stipend, free admission to the Museum of Science exhibit halls for the day and free parking in the Museum's garage.

If interested, sign up here.

If you prefer to fill out this form over the phone instead of online, please contact Sunewan Paneto, a Research and Evaluation Assistant, at 617-589-4438. You may also email her with any questions at

Feel free to pass this information on to anyone else who may be interested.

Nora Nagle
ADA and 504 Accessibility Coordinator
Museum of Science
One Science Park
Boston, MA 02114
Hours: M, Tu, Th and Fr 9-2:30
Net News: Lawsuit Settled Beacon Hill Access Ramps Arrive

After more than six years of acrimony, tumultuous community meetings and enough foolish statements to fill a horse-drawn carriage, the lawsuits blocking the installation of curb ramps in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston have been settled.  Community members opposed concrete ramps, with yellow or dark red plastic tactile warnings as not befitting their neighborhood.  Many of you may remember that the DPC and BCIL were both heavily involved with this battle.  This was a good outcome.

According to the Boston Globe work has finally begun on construction.  You can read more here
Net News: Harvard Adopts University-wide Digital Accessibility   

This week,  Harvard University announced new accessibility standards with  adoption of a digital accessibility policy that includes conformance to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA. The policy will make Harvard's public-facing websites and digital content more readily available to people who use assistive technology.  This news was reported in the Harvard Gazette, which you can read here.
Calendar:  Tenth Annual Diversity Job Fair

When:  Thursday, May 16, 2019, 11:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.

Where:  Arlington Town Hall, 730 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA  02476

The Town of Arlington's Commission on Disability and
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission

Invite you to join us.

Museum of Science, CVS, Kayem Foods, State Of Mass Human Resources, MASS DOT/MBTA, RHD, ACE Employment, Enterprise Rental Car, Cambridge Health Alliance, Goodwill, VPNE PARKING, McLean Hospital, MassPort, Maximus, New York Life, Partners Healthcare, Perkins School for the Blind, Allied Universal, Enterprise Rental Car, International Shoppes

Parking Information

On-street parking is available in the front of Town Hall on Massachusetts Avenue and on Academy Street (which borders the Town Hall).

If you need an interpreter or an accommodation please contact
Calendar:  My Ombudsman Program DeafBlind Information Sessions

Dates and Locations

1) May 21st at 1pm to 3:30pm - Center for Living and Working (CLW), 484 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608

2) May 23rd at 12:30pm to 3pm - DEAF, Inc., 215 Brighton Avenue, Allston, MA 02134

3)  May 29th at 10:00am-1:00pm - MRC 21 Spring Street, Unit 2, Taunton, MA 02780

4)  May 31st 12:30pm - 3pm - Stavros ILC, 227 Berkshire Avenue, Springfield, MA 01109

Lori Siedman, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ombudsman, is coming to Taunton, Boston, Worcester and Springfield areas to share about the My Ombudsman program!

Please RSVP to Lori Siedman before Friday, May 10, 2019 if you are planning to attend so we can secure DeafBlind interpreters and/or CART for you!

To request DeafBlind interpreter or CART, please contact Lori Siedman at or 339-224-6831 by Friday, May 10, 2019.
Calendar:  Community Training on Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities 

When:  Tuesday, May 21, 2019, 1:00 P.M. - 2:30 P.M.

Where:  Boston City Hall,  5th Floor, Piemonte Room
One City Hall Sq,   Boston, MA 02201

The Boston disability community is invited to join the Boston Disability Commission and the Massachusetts Office on Disability for a training on preparing ahead of an emergency. Attendees will learn how they can personally prepare, how local agencies prepare, and will have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of local first responders.

The goal of this training is to ensure that people with disabilities are prepared in times of emergency.

Attendees will also receive an "Emergency Go Pack" with essential items that might be needed during an emergency.

This event is wheelchair accessible. ASL and CART available upon request.

For accommodation requests please contact Evan George at 617-979-7313 or RSVP online by May 7, 2019.

If you would like to attend, please pre-register for this training
In This Issue
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