Thursday, August 17, 2017

Charlottesville

Within a couple of days of the shocking and violent march of neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, many disability organizations issued statements about it. For example:

NCIL Statement on the White Supremacist Violence in Charlottesville

AAPD Statement Condemning the Violence and White Supremacy of the “Unite the Right” Rally

ADAPT’s statement condemning racist violence in Charlottesville, VA

We at NCCI share and echo these sentiments.

For these organizations, their members and supporters, condemning the events in Charlottesville in very blunt, specific terms was an obvious thing to do. However, it may not be obvious to every disabled person or disability activist why this is so.

Here, then, are three reasons why a disability organization would speak out on an event like what happened in Charlottesville:

1. Disability intersects with other identities, communities, and issues. Lots of disabled people are also Black, Jewish, LGBTQ, and/or other identities that were explicitly targeted by the hateful rhetoric and actions of the alt-right, neo-Nazi, and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville. Even if disabled people weren't explicitly targeted as disabled people, members of our community certainly were. The disability community is uniquely diverse by definition, and we should all be ready to stick up for all of our brothers and sisters, even if some of us don't feel immediately, personally discriminated against or attacked.

2. Historically, far-right ideologies have NOT been friendly to people with disabilities. Actually, that is an understatement. To cite just one example, disabled people were systematically murdered by state doctors in Nazi Germany, specifically because of how disability was regarded in Nazi ideology. More broadly, ideology of any kind based on the superiority and dominance of one type of person over others almost never bodes well for disabled people, in any historical era. We don't have to have been explicitly named by the tiki-torch carrying racists in Charlottesville to feel legitimately threatened as people with disabilities.

3. Disabled people, and people who care about disability issues, aspire to be fully participating citizens who take full responsibility for what happens in our society. This is happening in our society. Those of us in the disability community also resolve to speak for ourselves, and not simply rely on the good will of others to "take care of us." Again, this means taking responsibility for addressing emerging threats, and not waiting for others to do it for us.

These facts are more than enough to justify and require us to speak out.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Action Alert: Urge Your Member of Congress to Co-Sponsor the TIME Act!

ACTION ALERT in white bold letters on a dark red background

This Action Alert comes from the New York Association on Independent Living ...

H.R. 1377, the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment, or TIME Act, would phase out Section 14 (c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows employers to pay workers with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage. This would also force vocational rehabilitation agencies across the country to find meaningful placements for people with disabilities in which their abilities could be maximized and in which they could be successful and valued.

The TIME Act currently has no co-sponsors from New York. Let's get the New York delegation signed on to this important bill!

Action

Email your Representative from Congress and urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 1377.

The following Representatives from NY signed on as co-sponsors last year, but have not yet signed onto the TIME Act, H.R. 1377 this year. Let's be sure to target these Representatives to sign on!

Rep. Louise Slaughter
Rep. Nita Lowey
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries
Rep. Peter King
Rep. Kathleen Rice
Rep. Eliot Engel
Rep. Nydia Velazquez
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney
Rep. Paul Tonko

Click here to take action now!

Background

Current Federal law allows the Secretary of Labor to grant special wage certificates to entities that provide employment to workers with disabilities, allowing such entities to pay their disabled workers at rates that are lower than the Federal minimum wage. The practice of paying workers with disabilities less than the Federal minimum wage dates back to the 1930s, when there were virtually no employment opportunities for disabled workers in the mainstream workforce. Today, advancements in vocational rehabilitation, technology, and training provide disabled workers with greater opportunities than in the past, and the number of such workers in the national workforce has dramatically increased. In the 75 years since this became law, studies have shown that fewer than 5% of over 400,000 workers with disabilities ever transition out of segregated, subminimum-wage, sheltered workshop settings to integrated, competitive employment. This outdated model does not provide workers with disabilities with useful, marketable skills to obtain competitive, integrated employment in their communities.

NCCI Twitter Recap - July, 2017