Expanding Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

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Newsletter - Volume #9 September 2016
A Note from Matt ...
Matt working at his desk with Murphee in his lap.
As a society in transition, we should always question long-held assumptions of our beliefs, and continually question "Why?"

In 1962, John F. Kennedy said, "The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie - deliberate, contrived, and dishonest - but the myth - persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.  Too often we hold fast to the clich├ęs of our forebears.  We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations.  We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."   

To move forward is to acknowledge the uncomfortable and work together to provide truth for our children.
DIG in the News
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This month, there are thousands of articles about what DIG is doing, and how we are helping our clients.  Over 300 media outlets have written articles about Arnaldo Rios, the horrible shooting in North Miami, and the attempts to find housing for Mr. Rios.  To keep up to date, please friend Disability Independence Group on Facebook, or
follow DIG at @justdigit or Matthew Dietz @dislaw.

Out and About with DIG
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2016 Florida Institute on Homelessness and Supportive Housing , Orlando, FL 
2016 DRBA West Coast Conference, Los Angeles, CA
12-7-16  Coral Gables Advisory Board on Disability Affairs In-house Training, Coral Gables, FL 
Debbie Dietz training at the Sandra DeLucca Developmental Center with City of Miami Police and Firefighters.
Debbie and the City of Miami Police and Fire Departments training on The Wallet Card Project at the Sandra DeLucca Developmental Center.
Sharon Langer speaking in Orlando, FL.
Sharon training in Orlando on Guardianship.
Matthew Dietz and Keenya Robertson training in Tallahassee.
Matthew and Keenya training in Tallahassee
Jessica and her husband on the Buzz Lightyear Ride
litigationLitigation: Can a Woman with No Arms Ride a Roller Coaster?
By: Matthew Dietz

Many people have a gut response to this question. Jessica Cox filed an administrative complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations claiming that she was excluded from every single ride at Universal Studios Orlando because she was born without arms, and she was not able to continually grasp the restraints with at least one hand. Jessica believed that the restrictions on all of the rides were not based on actual risks, but instead, based upon stereotypes of what she can or cannot do.
 Jessica is a classic overachiever in every sense of the word, and in relation to any person, able bodied or disabled. She is the first armless person in aviation history to earn a pilot's certificate, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a psychology degree from the University of Arizona, and motivational speaker. She also does everything that "typical normates" can do, other than, according to her doctor, brush her hair. She is the unstoppable force, and does not take "can't" or "no" as an answer. ( https://www.jessicacox.com/ )

Click here to read more

Jessica Cox was featured in the Channel 4 Paralympics "We're the Superhumans" trailer that has almost seven million views on Youtube https://youtu.be/IocLkk3aYlk . The premise of the video was "Yes I can".   The premise of the Americans with Disabilities Act is that society must tear down barriers that are solely due to prejudice and antiquated attitudes.
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Kids Crusaders Corner 
Julie is taking a break and will be back in a few months.  If anyone would like to be a guest author please contact us at debbie@justdigit.org.
The ABC's of Assistance Animals   

Thank you to everyone that helped make this seminar possible in Tallahassee, Florida. The Florida Commission on Human Relations for hosting the training, The Animal Law Section of the FL Bar and PAL (Pets Ad Litem) for sponsoring the coffee and treats, The Tallahassee Memorial Animal Therapy and Stephanie Perkins for bringing therapy dogs to the training, Legal Services of North Florida and the Tallahassee Bar Association for promoting and co-sponsoring the event, The Fl
orida Bar for attending and tweeting about the training, and Max for registering and greeting everyone. 
Greg Morton and Ralph DeMeo standing at the Training in Tallahassee.
Greg Morton and Ralph DeMeo.
Jacquelyn C. Steele_ HR DirectorFlorida Commission on Human Relations
Jacquelyn C. Steele from FCHR.
Stephanie Perkins Program DirectorTallahassee Memorial Animal Therapyholding a dog and speaking at the seminar.
Stephanie Perkins
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Shake Shack Fundraiser

Thank you to everyone that attended our event.  We had so much fun hanging out eating burgers and fries and drinking milk shakes.
Debbie_ Lisa_ Susan Somers_ and Jessica Allen
Debbie and Lisa with Susan and Jessica.
Matt with Andrew and his family at the Shake Shack Event.
Matt with Andrew and his family
Lisa and her parents at Shake Shack event
Lisa and her parents.
Matt, Yare, and Lester wearing DIG t-shirts
Matt, Yare, and Lester
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dv At The Intersection of Disability and Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault

People sometimes make assumptions about persons with disabilities. They may assume that someone diagnosed with cerebral palsy and a wheelchair user also has a cognitive disability. Many assume that a youth with a disability doesn't have feelings and thoughts about sexuality. Because of these types of assumptions many teens are left out of the sexual education that other youth receive. There is no reason that youth with disabilities do not receive this very important education and it is time that we insist upon it for all our youth not only those that are able bodied or neurotypical.

If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at sharon@justdigit.org
The Wallet Card Logo.  A blue hexagon with the words the wallet card in the hexagon.
walletcardThe Wallet Card Project

The wallet card is a tool for young adults to use when they come into contact with law enforcement; either as a victim, a witness, or as a potential suspect.

The wallet card will help to clarify any interaction with law enforcement so that the behavior of the person with a disability is not misinterpreted as suspicious or as criminal behavior.

Click here to sign up for a wallet card

The Wallet Card Project is a collaboration with DIG, CGPD, and UM-NSU CARD.

Shop Amazon Smile
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How a PASS plan can help you
By: Lesly Lopez 
A PASS allows you to set aside other income besides your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or resources for a specified period of time so that you may pursue a work goal that will reduce or eliminate the SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits you currently receive.

Who can have a PASS?
If you receive SSI or could qualify for SSI after setting aside income or resources so that you may pursue a work goal, you could benefit from a PASS.
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The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi
patuYour Upward Journey

In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey: It Is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). I intend to promote the book through self-help seminars and sale of merchandise, such as mugs, journals etc.


A colored drawing of an open box with 3 small penguins surrounded by stuffing.
penguinA Parcel of Penguins


For more information about DIG and to find out how you can be involved, please call or email our executive director, Debbie Dietz at 305-669-2822 or  debbie@justdigit.org. 
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Disability Independence Group, Inc.

Thank you to the organizations that support our projects.

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  Disability Independence Group, Inc. | 305-669-2822 | info@justdigit.org | www.justdigit.org