May 8, 2017
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


Well, they did it.  The House GOP muscled through a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  Do not fret, yet.  We know have to shift our efforts to the Senate.  In my editorial, I speculate that this may be a unique opportunity for our movement.

We have news of a major dotcom selling adaptive clothing and shoes.  Requip is holding a donation drive, MCILB is seeking an Executive Director and, of course, we have our calendar section.

As always  happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Editorial:  A Rare Opportunity

For many years, our community leaders have worked to expand the disability rights movement to encompass more people.  It is no secret that many people leading pedestrian lives with a hidden disability have "passed".  They are either hesitant to self-identify and/or not viewing themselves as one of us.  We have struggled to find a word more inclusive and palatable to the public than disability.  Now, GOP House members may have handed us a roadmap and a new banner under which to organize, "Pre-existing Condition".

This week, social media lit up with people posting that they had a pre-existing condition, #Iamapreexistingcondition.  Many of them were disability rights advocates who went into detail in describing their condition or limitations.  But then, others just noted how many of their "diagnosis or conditions" appeared on the list of potential pre-existing conditions (see here).  People who never saw themselves as one of us, have now been labelled and put into a boat with us.  The House GOP members not only put them in the boat, but they pushed it out to sea and lit it on fire.

Now our job is to start helping make people comfortable and take the lead.  Do not ask people what their disability is, that is irrelevant.  We just need to ask, "Do you see yourself on this list?  Do you think you deserve to be penalized?"  Let's welcome our new brothers and sisters with open arms.  We can share the wisdom that we have.  We can share the life hacks we have all developed for coping when your body or mind will not work cooperate.  Let us help them understand that the part they may hate about themselves is natural and makes them beautiful and unique.

We don't have time to waste.  Moments like this are fleeting.  The country is ready to participate in a conversation about what it means to have a pre-existing condition.   It is time to turn an odious piece of legislation into the opportunity of a lifetime.

John Winske
Net News: has Adaptive Clothing and Shoes, one of the largest clothing and footwear companies on the internet, has unveiled a selection of adaptive clothing.   In a sign of the changing times and as our society ages, it is likely other companies may begin to bring adaptive and accessible products to market.  You can check out the Zappos selections here,
Community News:  Requipment Equipment Donation Drive

Join us on Saturday, May 20th from 9 - 2 pm at 100 Laurel Street in East Bridgewater

REquipment is holding its first equipment donation drive serving the Bridgewater area. The drive is co-sponsored by Independence Associates, Old Colony Elder Services, Easter Seals and School on Wheels Massachusetts. It is the first in a series of drives to be held across the state; gently-used durable medical equipment (DME), as well as new school supplies, will be collected.

"Equipment drives are a great way to collect a large number of items on one day for our inventory," notes REquipment Program Director Jennifer Baker. "Generally we pick-up one donation at a time, which takes a lot longer and costs us a lot more. Drives help to conserve our program's limited resources."

Residents of communities surrounding East Bridgewater are urged to come drop off their unneeded durable medical equipment on drive day. Much of the equipment to be collected will benefit elders served by Old Colony Elder Services. Armindo Rocha, Old Colony's homecare supervisor, says many of the seniors he serves need safety equipment in their homes. "Items like tub seats and shower chairs, as well as transport wheelchairs are needed so families can easily bring their elders to appointments in the community," he says. "These devices are not always covered by insurance or the family needs a second device in another home or location."

REquipment also encourages donations of power and manual wheelchairs, scooters, rollator-type walker, portable ramps, standers and adapted strollers. REquipment does not accept canes, crutches, walkers, commodes or hospital beds. (These may be offered to local Council on Aging loan closets.)

"We have a generous community," observes Steve Higgins, Executive Director of Independence Associates. Steve offered his center's location for the drive without hesitation. Independence Associates is the independent living center serving 31 cities and towns on the South Shore including East Bridgewater. "We serve many people both young and old with disabilities who can benefit from this drive or make a donation if there's equipment they're not using." Independence Associates, along with Easter Seals MA, are also recruiting young people to volunteer and work the day through their Youth Leadership Network and Transition to Adulthood Programs.

In addition to gently-used durable medical equipment, the drive will also be collecting new school supplies such as paper, pens and backpacks to benefit students impacted by homelessness and served by School on Wheels Massachusetts.

If you live in the Bridgewater area, please bring your unused durable medical equipment and school supplies. Stop by, too, to learn more about programs serving elders and people with disabilities and about School on Wheels. Our programs make a tremendous difference for young and old in Massachusetts.

For more information please contact Bill Shine at Independence Associates 508 583-2166. 
Employment Opportunity: Executive Director Multicultural Independent Living Center

The Multicultural Independent Living Center of Boston, providing Advocacy, Peer Counseling, Information and Referral, Skills Training to people with disabilities seeks an Executive Director. The agency, located in Jamaica Plain, MA, has a broad service area within Boston and in suburban towns.

MILCB, Inc. is seeking a person with experience working with racially and ethnically diverse people, particularly those with disabilities. Experience in community-based organizations, working with federal or state agencies, budgeting, and personnel management are important. A Bachelor's or other advanced degree will be a plus.

We are an equal opportunity employer that is looking to hire a person with a multicultural background. Qualified individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. A job description maybe found at
Learning Opportunity:  Our Space Our Place Coding Camp

When: July 10- 14 2017,    9:30 AM -2:30 PM

Location: Microsoft NERD Center, 1 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02142

Eligible for MCB pre-ETS support

Participants: students ages 14 - 21 years old -

Our Space Our Place and Microsoft invites students who are blind or low vision to participate in an exciting week-long computer learning experience. As technology becomes part of all aspects of our life, it is important that as individuals who are blind or visually impaired we know how to both use and create technology.

What You will do:
  • Build your own website
  • Meet coders, video game makers and other professionals in the tech sector and explore career options in high-tech!
Learn Today - Prepare for Your Future
Lunch and snacks provided.

To participate you must be a proficient user of a screen reader and/or magnification tool.

To register go to

For more information, including transportation options: Call: (617) 459-4084 or Email:
Calendar: Boston Mayor's Commission on Disability Community Forum

When:  Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 2:00 P.M - 4:00 P.M.

Where:  Suffolk University Law School, Ground Floor 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108

Do you have concerns, questions, or comments on a disability issue?  We want to hear from you!
  • Provide input to the City of Boston's Annual Accessibility Agenda
  • Hear updates from Disability Commissioner Kristen McCosh
  • Meet members of the Boston Disability Commission Advisory Board
  • Make your concerns about accessibility known to City Officials
  • Network with Disability Community Friends over Free Food & Drinks
ASL and CART provided. This is a scent-free event.
To request an accommodation, contact us by May 1st at: or call 617-635-3682 / 617-635-2541 TTY
For more information, visit
Calendar: MASS Meeting

When:  Thursday, May 18, 2017, 6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.

Where:  Beaverbrook Step, 85 Main Street 2nd Floor, Watertown, MA  02472

Join Mass Advocates Standing Strong for our monthly meeting.

Any questions please email us at 
Calendar: Walpole Fire Department Host:
Emergency Preparedness for the Deaf

When:  Saturday, May 20, 2017, 8:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.

Where:  Blackburn Hall, 30 Stone St., Walpole, MA 02081
  • Guest speakers
  • Hands on training for adults
  • Children's materials will be available.
  • This is a chance to ask questions and learn.
Come see, touch, get in Fire trucks, Ambulances, Police cruisers, and Police Motorcycles!
Come see equipment used by the Departments, ask questions!
K-9 police dog demonstration (including a takedown and drug sniffing)!

Talk with the representatives from:
Walpole Fire Department, Police Department, and EMS (Emergency Medical Services)
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
Massachusetts State Police, And others

Lunch will be provided (12 noon) through generous donations from local restaurants and pizza shops.

If ASL Interpreters / Tactile / Close Vision / CART / CDI needed, Please Contact: John Buccieri, Jr. :

RSVP by May 5, 2017 Please.

Any questions Contact: Erik Bailey Cell: 978-289-8228 Email:
John Buccieri, Jr. Email: 
Calendar:  MBTA Access Advisory Committee Annual Summit

When:  Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 8:30 A.M. - Noon

Where:  Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Conference Rooms 1-3, Boston, MA 02116 

Panel Discussion:  The Future of Transit Accessibility

Remarks by: 

Stephanie Pollack- Secretary & CEO, MassDOT

Brian Shortsleeve- Chief Administrator & Acting General Manager, MBTA

David Scorey- Chief Executive Officer & General Manager, Keolis

AACT meeting to follow at 1:00 PM. All are welcome!

The last day to register will be May 12.

Please do not hesitate to contact Janie Guion, AACT Coordinator, at 857-702-3658 or by email at for help with registration or questions related to the summit. 

We look forward to welcoming you!
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