March 25, 2019
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


This week was the Vernal Equinox.  This means that warmer weather and the return of baseball are right around the corner.

Two of our stories tie into last week's Update.  First, we have an  email that we suggest you send to the MBTA to ask them not raise paratransit fares.  We also have a link to an excellent video about accessibility products from IKEA.

We also have a few articles for you including one written by DPC Board  Member Robyn Powell, that was published in the New York Times. 

Until next week, happy reading. 

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Community News:  BSCB Fighting RIDE Fare Increase, You Can Join the Fight

Action Alert:

The Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) is advocating against the proposed fare increases to The RIDE. If you support this position, you can get involved by contacting the attorney for the Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB.)


Copy the message below and paste it into an email

Add personal comments, if desired, to the bottom of the letter.

Type your name and city where you live under "Respectfully submitted"

Send to

Thank you for your advocacy!

Bay State Council of the Blind

Mr. Owen Kane
Counsel to the Fiscal and Management Control Board

Dear Mr. Kane,

As a paratransit user who is blind, I'm writing to thank the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) for its decision to exempt the TAP and Senior fares from the fare increase, and to express my concern over the fare increase for The RIDE, which was approved by the FMCB on March 11, 2019.

I recognize that the cost of operating The RIDE is very high, but increasing The RIDE fare will have negative consequences for those of us who depend on RIDE services to work, study, and live independently in the community. Higher fares will increase revenue less than $400,000 a year, but will further isolate many people with disabilities who have no other transportation options.

I strongly urge the FMCB to immediately extend the approved fare freeze on the fixed route for people with disabilities to The RIDE.

Respectfully submitted,

Your name
Volunteer Opportunity:   Participants Needed for a Focus Group on Audio Labels at the Museum of Science

My name is Miso Kwak, and I am a Master's student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. My classmates and I, in partnership with the Museum of Science, are studying the Museum's audio labels with the hope to provide equal access to those who may have difficulty accessing traditional texts and other visual information in the exhibits. We are looking for blind and visually impaired participants to participate in a focus group on Friday, April 12 2019 from 4:30 to 6:30 PM about audio needs and preferences at the Museum of Science. 

As part of this study, you will be asked to engage with audio at several exhibits in the museum and participate in a focus group following your experience. The experience and the focus group together should take no more than 2 hours. As a token of appreciation, you and your visiting group will receive free admission to the Museum of Science exhibit halls and free parking in the museum's garage for the entire day. Your feedback will help ensure that the future audio labels could benefit blind/visually impaired visitors, as well as those who have difficulty accessing traditional text and visual information for other reasons. If you are interested in participating, or have a question about the study, please contact Miso Kwak at

Miso Kwak

Miso Kwak
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Ed.M candidate 2019
Education Policy and Management
Pronouns: she, her, hers 
Net News:  With $28.6 million gift, MIT establish for Center for Down Syndrome 

According to the Boston Globe, MIT will establish the Alana Down Syndrome Center to study the disability and improve the lives of people living with it.  We are highlighting this story because most of the time when we see funding for the study of a disability the focus is on creating a cure, and potential eradication of the disability.  If the Center focuses on improving the lives of people living with the disability it will be a major step forward in philanthropy.  You can read the story here.
Net News:  Google Doodle Honors Inventor of Tactile Warning Strips  

Earlier this week, the Google Doodle, that was seen by everyone who went to, was an image of someone wearing a pair of sneakers with their white cane standing at a row of tactile warning tiles. You could only see the person below the ankle. 

The tactile tiles in front of the pair of sneakers formed a horizontal warning strip. The person is standing on a grooved directional tactile tile perpendicular to the warning tiles. The Google logo is formed by the bumps in the warning tiles being a different color than the rest.

This doodle was to honor the Japanese inventor of tactile tiles, Seiichi Miyake.

Thank you to Google!!

[Editor's Note:  Thank you to Rick Morin for passing this along to us.]
Net News:  Even in Grief, I Still Have Pride  

This week, DPC Board Member, Robyn Powell, was the featured writer of the New York Times Disability Opinion Column.  Her piece was a wonderful reflection on the fact that as individuals with disability we are constantly forced to face death, and questions of mortality.  But, as she notes, even while we mourn we must keep our pride in who we are and our community.  You can read her article here.
Net News:  Ikea is Making Furniture Accessible, Here is the Video

Last week, we shared a story about how IKEA in Israel had developed products to enhance the accessibility of its furniture.  This week, we share the video introduction of the products and the story behind them.  I just have one question "IKEA, how do we roll this out in the United States?"  
Calendar:  DEAFinitions 2019:  A Deaf Studies Conference

When: Saturday, March 30, 2019, 8:00 A.M. - 7:00 P.M.

Where:  Hampshire College, 893 West Street, Amherst, Mass.

The conference will provide a space for all individuals to discover and explore the multifaceted experiences of Deaf lives. In conjunction with sponsors and students at Hampshire College, Mt. Holyoke College, Smith College, and UMass-Amherst, the ASL Collective will host a space for everyone to come together and celebrate Deaf culture, community, and history.

The goal of the conference is two-fold. One, to provide a space for Deaf artists, performers, academics, and individuals to come together and share their art, knowledge, and stories with one another; to celebrate their culture and history. Two, we want to also provide a space for hearing individuals to learn about the Deaf community from members of the community itself.

The Deaf Studies Conference is FREE to all, but registration is required. ASL interpreters and remote captioning services will be available.

Calendar:  Askwith Forums - We Are What We Love: What Autism Teaches Us About Identity with Ron Suskind

When:  Tuesday, April 2, 2019, 5:30 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.

Where:  Harvard Graduate School of Education, Longfellow Hall, 13 Appian Way, Cambridge, MA 02138

Speaker: Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; founder, The Affinity Project; author, Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism

Even from infancy, we know what we like. We know what attracts us, what makes us feel good, what makes us curious about the world. And all those likes and dislikes fit together like puzzle pieces, or patches in a crazy quilt to make up our personalities - literally, who we are.

Many people with Autism Spectrum Disorder find their affinities and home in on them with laser-like intensity. They become experts about the topics and the things that they love; for them, that passion is the primary driver of their days. Being able to meet these individuals where they are - to share their enthusiasms for the things that they love - provides a path toward connection, not just for the differently-abled, but for all of us who can share a love for the world outside us and a respect for what lies within the people around us.

Pulitzer Prize-winning, former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind is the author of six best-selling books. Life, Animated, A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism, which was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated documentary and recently won the 2018 Emmy for Best Documentary, tells the story of his youngest son, Owen, who, after being diagnosed with autism, found a way to reengage with the world around him through movies. Suskind is founder of The Affinity Project (TAP), which has developed technologies to support neurodiversity and a more humane social media.

This Askwith Forum is being held on World Autism Awareness Day.
Calendar:  ReelAbilities Film Festival

When:  March 26, 2019 - April 3, 2019

Where:  Various venues in and around Boston

The ReelAbilities Film Series is returning to Boston again.  This year, the series will feature 11 films.  The DPC is proud to serve as a copresenter of the film series.  You can learn more about the Boston films here.  
Calendar:  Career Fair for Job Seekers with Disabilities

When: Friday, April 5, 2019, 10:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.

Where:  Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Second Floor, Conference Rooms 1, 2, & 3, Boston, MA 02116

Save the date for an upcoming opportunity to explore a career in public service within Massachusetts state government!

The 2019 State Employment Career Fair is a chance for jobseekers with disabilities to learn about jobs within state government. The career fair will be hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), in partnership with the Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD), the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) and the Human Resources Division (HRD).

The 2019 State Employment Career Fair is an opportunity to meet Massachusetts state government recruitment and human resources representatives in an informative and engaging setting where you can explore a career field that interest you.

Reasons to Attend:
-Opportunity for "face time" with employers
-A chance to consider multiple industries, in one location, on the same day
-Ability to ask questions
-Make a positive first impression by selling your relevant skills and experience to each employer

Reasonable accommodation requests to:
Rita DiNunzio at or
857-368-8738, as soon as possible, no later than March 22, 2019

For general questions about the event, please contact or call 617-727-7440, extension 27319
Calendar:  Preserving the Right to Parent: Custody Issues for Survivors with Disabilities  

When:  April 16, 2019, 2:00 P.M. - 3:30 P.M. ET

About this Webinar

Survivors of domestic violence face barriers within the family court and child welfare systems. When a parent is a survivor with a disability, the odds of losing custody of their child(ren) increase exponentially. As of 2012, 35 states still listed disability as grounds for termination of parental rights even without evidence of abuse or neglect. This webinar will provide an overview of some of the unique difficulties survivors with disabilities may face in child custody and welfare cases - and provide suggestions for improvements to the system to ensure that survivors with disabilities are not separated from their children because of their disability.

Presenter:  Robyn Powell

Closed captioning and American Sign Language interpreting will be provided for all webinars in this series. Please note that these features are not available when using the Adobe Connect mobile application. 
In This Issue
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