March 27, 2017
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


This has been an unforgettable week.  First we have the U.S. Supreme Court ruling 8-0 that a child with a disability has a right to a quality education.  On the same day more than 50 ADAPT members are arrested in the Capitol Rotunda, demonstrating against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

On Friday the House of Representatives abandons an attempt to repeal the ACA when they realize they don't have the votes.  And that evening I have the honor of accepting an award on behalf of the DPC for our advocacy work.  We need more weeks like this.

We have lots of events in our calendar section as well.

So until next week, a s always  happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
DPC News: DPC Honored with Marie Feltin Award

DPC Executive Director, John Winske reading his remarks at Marie Feltin Dinner.  Amy Kalogeropoulos, DPC Director of Operations, is holding the microphone.

On Friday evening, I had the pleasure of accepting a Marie Feltin Award on behalf of the DPC.  The awards are given annually to individuals and organizations who continue Marie's legacy of empowering people with disabilities. Marie, along with her husband, Robert Master, and Nurse Practitioner, Mary Glover, formed Boston Community Medical Group which has now grown into Commonwealth Community Care.

Other recipients of the award this year were Jeff Keilson, and Robin Callahan. 

Jeff is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning at Advocates.  He was honored for his more than 40 years of experience working to empower people with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

Robin Callahan has worked in state government for 32 years, the last 24 with MassHealth.  Robin had primary responsibility for developing and establishing the One Care program at MassHealth.  She has also worked with advocates on many other initiatives impacting our lives.

This was BCIL's 21st Marie Feltin event.
Community News: More than 50 Activist Arrested in Capitol Rotunda

On Wednesday, March 22nd, more than 50 activists from ADAPT were arrested for occupying the Capitol Rotunda.  The ADAPT members were urging Congress not to pass the American Health Care Act.  One of those arrested was BCIL member and DPC social media consultant, Colleen Flanagan.   She even broadcast herself being wheeled out by Capitol Police on Facebook.  She later proudly displayed her ink covered fingers after being finger printed.  Thanks, Colleen.
Net News: Supreme Court in Unanimous Decision Supports Children with Disabilities

The Supreme Court does not have a strong record lately of unanimity.  But in the area of special education and the rights of children with disabilities, the Court seems to be united.  For the second time in as many months, the court has upheld the rights of a child with a disability.

The Court ruled on Wednesday in the case of Endrew F v. Douglas County School District that school systems must go the extra mile to accommodate children with disabilities.   There had been various lower court decisions offering differing opinions on what was meant by a "free appropriate public education" meant.  Judge Roberts, writing for the court, stated that a " child's education program must be appropriately ambitious in light of his circumstances, just as advancement from grade to grade is appropriately ambitious for most children in the regular classroom."

You can read more here.
Health Care Update:  House Fails to Vote on the American Health Care Act

On Friday afternoon, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan and President Trump made the decision to pull the American Health Care Act (AHCA) without a vote.  It was apparent that they lacked the votes to get the measure through the House of Representatives.    With no Democrats supporting the proposal, they needed the support of 215 Republicans.  Despite several days of vote wrangling, they were short the necessary  votes.

The proposed legislation would have cut more than $880 Billion from Medicaid over the next decade and led to more than 24 million people losing insurance.

A new proposal could emerge in a few months but the current bill appears to be dead.

To all of you who called your legislators, friends and others to oppose the proposal, we say, "Well done and thank you."
Calendar:  Sixth Annual Reel Abilities Film Festival

When:  March 29 - April 6, 2017

Where:  Various Venues in the Boston area

I would like to invite the members of the Disability Task Force to the Sixth Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival Boston, which will be held between March 29-April 6, 2017. ReelAbilities strives for the inclusion of all people and is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities from a variety of communities. 

Thank you very much for your help,


Festival Director
ReelAbilities Film Festival
1001 Watertown Street
West Newton, MA 02465
p: 617.244.9899 x202
f: 617.244.9894
Calendar :  20th Annual George W. Veditz ASL Festival  
When:  March 31 - April 1, 2017

Where:  Northeastern University

Registration  for this year's ASL Festival is open!     
See below for details about the weekend, the link to register, and other important information:
(Editor's note Saturday appears to be sold out)

Friday, March 31;  10:00am-10:00pm  - MJP Competition Awards Ceremony, ASL Festival Exhibitor Hall and ASL Festival Performances
10:00am-12:00pm: Marie Jean Philip (MJP) Competition Awards Ceremony

3:00pm: Exhibitor Hall opens
6:30pm: Blackman Auditorium doors open
7:00pm - 10:00pm: ASL Festival Performances by Jeremy Lee Sanchez, Rosa Lee, and Patrick Graybill.  MJ Bienvenu will be our host for the evening.

Saturday, April 
18:30am-5:00pm - ASL Festival Workshops

8:30am: Check-in / Light breakfast

9:00am - 5:00pm: ASL Festival Workshops by MJ Bienvenu, Jeremy Lee Sanchez, Patrick Graybill and Dennis Cokely!

Calendar: Six Fundamental Rights & Mental Health Laws in Massachusetts

When:  Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Where:  Lecture Hall, Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 

Registration: 9:30 am

Training on Fundamental Rights: 10:00 - 12:30 pm

Lunch: 12:30 - 1:30 pm

Input from the Community: 1:30 - 3:00 pm


Walter Noons, Senior Attorney, Disability Law Center

Alice Whitehill Wiseberg, Attorney in Charge, Committee for Public Counsel Services


Christine Griffin, Executive Director, Disability Law Center

Join us for a training on the six fundamental rights and mental health laws in Massachusetts. This will be followed by a Community Feedback Forum.

We are looking for your input on the issues you face as a person or family member of a person with lived experiences of a mental health diagnosis.

Please Note: Out of consideration for people with environmental illness and/or multiple chemical sensitivity, please refrain from using perfume or other scented products.

This event is free and open to the public but you must RSVP to attend

RSVP by March 29, 2017

Fill out the registration form below, or contact Amanda if you have any questions. or 617-723-8455 x 123

Hosted by: Disability Law Center and
Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities
Calendar:  Cocktail Reception DLC Honors

When:  Tuesday, May 2, 2017,  5:30 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.

Where:  Royal Sonesta Hotel, 40 Edwin H. Land Blvd., Cambridge, MA  02142

The Disability Law Center Honors

Frederick Wiseman
with the
Impact Award
Art that Changes Lives

50th Anniversary of Titicut Follies

Since 1967, Frederick Wiseman has directed 40 documentaries-dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray ordinary human experience in a wide variety of contemporary social institutions. His films include TITICUT FOLLIES, HIGH SCHOOL, WELFARE, JUVENILE COURT, BOXING GYM, LA DANSE, BALLET, CENTRAL PARK, BALLET, LA COMEDIE FRANCAISE, and CRAZY HORSE. He has directed a fiction film, THE LAST LETTER (2002). His films are distributed in theaters and broadcast on television in many countries.

For more information please visit
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