Expanding Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

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Newsletter - Volume #6 June 2016
You spoke-DIG listened!
After getting feedback, we have decided to revert to our old ways! From now on, the color scheme of the newsletters will be how it used to be, where each section has its own color.
New look, same great content!
We want to keep hearing from you! If you have ideas about improvements we can make, things we can do differently, or you just want to say hey, email us at info@justdigit.org

A Note from Matt ...
Our country has a tradition of being the melting pot, and diversity and inclusion is what makes the broth of our society rich.  For persons with disabilities, breaking down cross-cultural  and attitudinal barriers is essential in
Matt and Rikki the dog smile for a picture. Matt holds Rikki's book and pets him.
ensuring full community inclusion.

DIG in the News
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June 15, 2016, Foundation-funded project protects the rights of chronically ill children

A white banner hangs from the ceiling that says Welcome to The Annual Family Café
featuredarticleAnnual Family Cafe Cooks Up Feast of Fun and Facts
By: Andrew Sagona

The Family Café is a free conference for Floridians of all ages with disabilities and their families to learn about the latest developments in the Florida disability community and to attend the annual Florida "Governor's Summit on Disabilities." I have been attending Family Café for over ten years, and I still feel the same sense of wonder and excitement now as I did at my first Café.
This is in part because the atmosphere is fun, warm, friendly, and inclusive. There is always something fun to do for everyone and there are new and interesting things to learn at the Café, whether it is information on disability advocacy, an invention that helps people with disabilities, or a law that fights discrimination.

Click here to read more
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Diversity - Does it Matter in the Legal Profession
By: Matthew Dietz 

The Florida Bar is fully committed to the enhancement of diversity within the Bar, the legal profession, legal education, and in the justice system, and affirms its commitment toward a diverse and inclusive environment with equal access and equal opportunity for all.
--The Florida Bar Board of Governors, May 2010
On June 23, 2015, the Supreme Court issued their ruling in Fischer v. University of Texas at Austin, Case No. 14-981, upholding race conscious admissions policies at the University of Texas, as long as it is only a factor in a holistic review as a means of obtaining the educational benefits that flow from student body diversity.  

Click here to read more
Out and About with DIG
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June 2016  NFHA Conference, Washington, DC 
July 2016  47th Annual Autism Society Conference, New Orleans, LA 
Sept. 2016  Child Protection Summit, Orlando, FL 
9-9-16 ABC's of Emotional Support Animals, Tallahassee, FL
2016 DRBA West Coast Conference, Los Angeles, CA
Save the Date:  September 21, 2016 at Shake Shack in Coral Gables
More information to follow next month! 
Five people smile at the camera after D. Davis was adopted by his grandma
D.D. was adopted by his grandma today
Matt standing next to a sign for the Animal Law Section of the FL Bar
Matt at the Animal Law Section table at the FL Bar Conference

Lilli, Haley, Ana, Andrew, and Brianna sit around a dessert at a restaurant
DIG Summer Interns enjoying dessert and planning our fall fundraiser

Sharon and Matt stand in front of an audience showing a powerpoint and speaking at CCDH
Matt and Sharon speaking about Guardianship and all of the options at a seminar with CCDH and the M-D Parks Dept

1 year anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges

clip art of colorful men and women standing next to each other holding hands with the words all rights for all
litigationLitigation: Marriage Equality for All
By: Matthew Dietz

Last summer, on June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. The decision was a 5-4 split, with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority, and the other four justices each writing their own dissent. In the Court's Opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote that the hope of gay people who wish to get married "is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right." Two questions were posed for the Supreme Court to answer: Can states ban same sex marriage? And do states have to recognize lawful marriages performed out of state?

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Kids Crusaders Corner  
I remember the time when I held you in my arms
It was a stranger who said, "Blessed are we!"
I looked down in wonder and awe and asked,
"Who are you little one? What will you do to me?"
Seems as if we're always at the crossroads
The next step, neither one of us can see
I only know I will fight for you always
No matter what is said by the powers that be
I know what's inside of you, potential
The power to change, transform, every bit of dignity
I only hold your hand as your partner
But it's you, who have come, to set us free...

Written by
Lydia Ocasio-Stoutenburg
Mother of Isaiah
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At The Intersection of Disability and Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault
Myths and Misconceptions 

Domestic violence myths and misconceptions abound. Nearly everyone will have some form of preconception on what domestic violence actually is; why abusers abuse and why victims are victimized.
In the same way as we tend to have a stereotypical picture of what domestic abuse is, we have similar pictures of what sort of person both the abused and the abuser are. We may assume the abused will have originated from a family where abuse took place, or may have been abused themselves during childhood. Some people believe the victim actually enjoys being abused in some masochistic way, or is encouraging it because they enjoy the attention of feeling victimized. Our perceptions tend to be distorted by domestic violence myths, perpetuated both by the media and by society in general, and are unrelated to the reality or the extent of Domestic Abuse. ANYBODY can become a victim of Domestic Abuse.

Following are some of the domestic violence myths and facts:

Abuse only happens in certain "problem" families.
MYTH: Domestic Abuse is a family matter.
MYTH: Domestic Abuse is not such a big problem - very few women are actually badly hurt.
MYTH: Some women ask for it, provoke it, want it or even deserve it.
MYTH: Domestic Abuse is caused by excessive alcohol or the use of drugs.
MYTH: Domestic abuse is a one-time incident.
MYTH: It can't be that bad, or she/he would leave.
MYTH: Abusers are always coarse, violent, and easily identified

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.
In order to make receiving a Wallet Card easy and hassle-free, we have decided to
give a card get a card campaign.
streamline and improve the Wallet Card application, so we have made it temporarily unavailable.

 Expect the new and improved application to be back up around Mid-July with an "FAQ" section and helpful tips on how to customize your card.
In the meantime, we would like to thank you all for the outpouring of support and requests we have received for Wallet Cards, we could not have done it without you!
If you want to keep supporting The Wallet Card Project, check out our Get a Card, Give a Card campaign! 

Shop Amazon Smile
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Work Incentives Protecting Health Coverage for PWD

Extended Medicare Coverage
For Working People with Disabilities

Continued Medicaid Eligibility (Section 1619(B))
For beneficiaries receiving SSI

Other Health Insurance Options for People with Disabilities
Medicaid share of cost or medically needy from Department of Children and Families (DCF)
Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) through? the Market Place
Community Health Centers like CHI (Community Health of South Florida Inc.) 
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Amazon Smile

Raise your hand if you use Amazon.

Now, raise your hand if you use our link to make your purchases on Amazon.

Last one. Raise, your hand if you love helping by doing something you already do.

As I write this I imagine some of you actually raising your hands and I appreciate the effort. The rest of you, let's talk. I want to take this opportunity to tell you about DIG's Amazon link because before last week, I had no idea it existed.

If you use this link smile.Amazon.com, to access Amazon while you're doing your normal purchases on Amazon, you are helping us without going out of your way.  The entire shopping experience is the same and most products available on amazon.com are available at Amazon Smile
The screen will look slightly different depending on whether or not you're already signed into Amazon. If you're already signed in, you'll see a screen like the one above. Simply search for "Disability Independent Group Inc." Once you've selected us everything else functions the same! The most exciting part for both of us- No extra cost is passed onto you and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase to our organization.
Happy Shopping Everyone!

Thank you Luz Aponte!
abstract original art by Luz Aponte
Israel and Lorinda
Stereotypes & Misconceptions about Disability

-Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.- Isaac Asimov
Deaf people can't dance. Blind people don't like art. People in wheelchairs can't have sex. These are just a few of the stereotypes and misconceptions that are common trains of thought about individuals with disabilities. Many people assume all sorts of falsehoods that are, in fact, not true! Such assumptions can lead to extremely serious mistakes in judgment-and lead to missed opportunities to engage with a group of wonderful people. In order to break through these stereotypes and misconceptions, we can start by having an open mind and acknowledging that no two people are exactly alike.
Logo for the fair housing video series.
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