Organizer's Forum

The Disability Rights Movement: January 19, 2016

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ORGANIZER’S FORUM: Tuesday, January 19th – Topic: The Disability Rights Movement in 2016

TUESDAY, January 19th, 1-2 pm Eastern time, 12-1 Central time, 11-12 Mountain time, 10-11 am Pacific time

  • Call in number: 1-712-832-8310
  • Code: 125175#

Hear some big thinkers in the disability rights movement share their visions for the movement in 2016. What challenges and opportunities do we face?

Please join to share your own and engage in dialogue.


  • Andy Imparato, Executive Director, Association of University Centers on Disabilities
  • Rahnee Patrick, Director of Independent Living, Access Living

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CART: The call will have real-time captioning (CART)! The website where you will be able to view the captioning is Username: forum. Password: forum. Thank you to the National Disability Leadership Alliance for sponsoring the captioning of this call.

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The Organizing Workgroup of the National Disability Leadership Alliance hosts these calls the third Tuesday of every month as a resource for disability organizers, in an effort toward building the organizing capacity of the disability community across the country. They generally follow the format of a Welcome followed by 2-3 experts in a given area speaking for a few minutes on their experiences, advice and challenges. The calls include a 20-30 minute question and answer period.

To ask questions via CART: Sign-in to the Chat function on the right side of the transcript and type your question. One of the call facilitators will read out any questions posted there.

Because we want to maximize the generously donated CART services, we will begin the call promptly at 1pm and end the call promptly at 2pm (eastern time). A few other reminders about call etiquette:

  • Say your name before each time you speak
  • Speak one at a time
  • Speak slowly and as clearly as possible

So you can mark your calendars now, Organizer’s Forums are held on the 3rd Tuesday of every month. If you have suggestions for call topics or presenters for upcoming topics, please email them to or

Looking forward to talking with you all!

Jessica Lehman and Diane Coleman
Co-Chairs, National Organizing Workgroup

Date: January 19, 2016

Event: Organizer’s Forum





>>CART PROVIDER: Dialing 1-712-832-8310 now and entering code 125-175 # now.

>>CART PROVIDER: On standby.

>> Andy Imparato.

>> We are just calling to let you know I’m on.

>> I’m on, Helen Murphy.

>>Andy: Hi Helen, how are you guys?

>> Helen: I’m in New York City.

>>Andy: I’m in DC.

>> Helen: Oh that’s good, is it cold there?

>>Andy: It is, below zero wind chill this morning.

>> Helen: Oh my God, I’m dressed in down and a bathrobe and I’m in my apartment.

>>Andy: You’re smart.

>> Helen: Yeah I don’t want to get sick again, I got sick last year with pneumonia, I don’t want to get it get.  That was no fun.

>>Andy: Yeah my mother is 86 and she lives in New York, I hope she is not going out today.

>> Diana.

>> Julie, reached the center for independent living —

>> Hi, this is Diane — southeast.

>> Helen: Hello.  It is me Helen Murphy.

>> This is Carolyn Peterson.

>> Helen: K oh hi.

>> I think we are —

>> Jen.

>>Andy: This when is Andy Imparato, I think we are just waiting for everyone to come on.  I haven’t heard Jessica’s voice yet.

>> Mark Johnson.

>>Andy: Mark, is it cold in Atlanta today?

>> Mark: Yeah, it is not fair.

>> Helen: In New York City.

>> There are other words for it by the way, oh yeah but this is a phone call.

>> Hi it is Karen Tamley from Chicago.

>>Andy: I just saw your pick it you are on feedback or something Karen, I’m trying to remember who the heck you were with.

>> Nicole here.  B.A. I think what it was, years ago, we just wanted to pull all our resources and buy a tropical island about 75 degrees and live there.

>> Sounds good.  Quad city.  , for retiring.

>> Mark, how is your book doing?

>> Mark: It is not flying off the shelf, but that’s okay.  Getting ready to do a special between now and Valentine’s day, well people who have it seem to like it, that’s a good thing.  I did a class up at University of Georgia, a class, they have to read a memoir, you know, as part of the requirements so they used, you know, I Love Today as their memoir, I just did a thing with your colleagues down at Georgia state.  I do a couple things down there a year.  When people say can you come talk, I say I’m coming with a box of books.

>>Andy: Sounds good.  Are you going to the Institute?

>> Mark: No, nope.  By the way I just had an interesting experience yesterday, I don’t know if you met the new Wilcar America, but her platform was —

>>Andy: I think I read something on feedback about that.

>> Mark: Yeah she is really sharp.  A psychologist from California.  Cerebral Palsy, she brought over a little Miss 11-year-old from Tennessee who had a spinal cord injury when she was eight, her platform is government buildings with an emphasis on schools.  So she has already met with the Mayor of chat into Georgia, the Superintendent, now going to have a pow-wow with the Tennessee school board to talk about access to schools.  She will be back actually in February.  For our last, I think it is, our 18th disability day.

And Ted Jackson out in California is one of the key-noters to talk about vote disability.  So pretty cool.  So won’t be doing the winter thing but — winter is in the name.  I actually, believe it or not, I’m glad there is some younger colleagues who have better thermal underwear than me — in the King Parade yesterday.

>>Andy: This is Andy, is Jessica on the line?  I think we were just killing time waiting for Jessica to get us started.

>> Jessica: Hi this is Jessica.  I apologize, I’m having quite a morning, there is a big storm here and I lost my car keys in the street and my wheelchair is now acting up.  I’m not quite myself, but we have a wonderful panel here so I’m going to make it work as well.  I apologize in advance.  Did we have all of our speakers on?

>> Yes, I think.

>>Andy: Yes Karen is, Allie on, you guys on?  I think we have Andy so far.

>> Jessica: Okay, great why don’t we start with housekeeping stuff and then we will get started, hopefully then they will be on.  So welcome folks to the Organizer’s Forum, hopefully we have some people here before.  For people new to the call, the organizers forum is a monthly call designed to expand and support community organizing within the Disability Rights Movement and disability community.

And we have a different topic each month.  Some of them are issue-based calls, some are strategy calls, some are kind of a vision like today.

And there is a little bit of static, so you know what I’m thinking, let’s go ahead and do introductions and then I will mute everybody and finish giving some instructions.  So I tried hearing who is on the call, and if you are not speaking right now go ahead and hit star 6 to mute yourself.  Go ahead and share your name and if you are part of an organization what organization that is and your city and state.

And let’s start with the West Coast.  Who do we have?

>> Silicon valley, independent living centers, this is Jose.  (static)

>> Helen, Walsh, media for California.

>> Jessica: Is everybody hearing a lot of static or is that my —

>> I’ll try to call back.

>> Jessica: Okay, thanks.  I’m going to go ahead and mute everybody, give me one second.  It is still static.  I actually wonder if it is my phone, I apologize, I’m going to hang up and call right back.  Let me unmute everybody first and then I will let you go ahead and continue introductions if you can, so hang on one second.  (static)

>> It is not worth —

>> Jessica: This is Jessica again, I’m going to hang up and call back in, why don’t you, see if you can hear okay.  I’ll be right back.

>> Disability rights.  (static)

>> This is James from Living Independent, for independent living in Boise.

>> This is Karen Peterson from mid- state independent living in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

>> Diana with Southeast Kansas independent living out of Kansas.

>> Disability resources (static) — [speaker off mic]


>> Vanessa, lake county for independent living in Illinois.

>> [speaker off mic] Independent Living council, Columbus Ohio.

>> Julia, resource center, intern from University of north Texas.

>> (static) [speaker off mic] That is Mark —

>> Resource center on Independent Living, Dallas, and Plano Texas.

>> Jessica: All right, everyone get a chance to introduce themselves?  Go ahead —

>> Megan, with the center for — go ahead.  (static)

>> Reagan —

>> This is Laura from the Washington DC area with the Dear Juliana project.

>> Not entered — sorry.  You go ahead.

>> For disability writs in New York.  (static)

>> Also in Rochester New York.

>> Jessica: I’m going to go ahead and turn off introductions because the static is bad and we’re ten minutes into the call.  There is a link to kind of register for the call in the e-mail that you should have gotten with the announcement.  So whether or not you introduced yourself or if you haven’t, please make sure you click on that link.  (music playing)

>> Jessica: I’m going to fix that problem.

>> Recording: The center for disability rights —

>> Jessica: Now everyone is muted, unfortunately I can’t get rid of the static but it does seem like we are able to hear each other okay, we will have to remember, as we always do, to speak and clearly, so hopefully can understand (echoing) we are having every problem we can have today.  Thank you to all of you for joining today.  So the organizer forum is a product of national leadership alliance, which is a national coalition of class disability organizations.

And my name is Jessica, I’m the Executive Director of San Francisco Senior and Disability Action, I Co-Chair along with Diane from Not Dead Yet and Diane, can you unmute yourself with star 6 and then you can introduce where you are self and can you confirm, are you on the chat window today?

>> Diane: I’m unmuted now?

>> Jessica: Now I can hear you.

>> Diane: Yes, I am on the chat.  I’m also with National Disability Leadership Alliance, I think Jessica you probably already explained that pretty well but just want to say that there are 15 groups that are run by people with disabilities and the leadership alliance and we’re really glad to be able to sponsor these calls that allow organizers from all over the country to share their ideas and insights and how to build the Disability Rights Movement.

>> Jessica: Tanks Diane, and grateful for NDLA for paying for captioning.  If you want to go online to see the captioning, the link is in the e-mail and you can also type questions and comments in the chat window and Diane will be there to read them out when we get to that part of the call.  What other housekeeping is there, so in addition to the call, we recognize an hour is not enough time to cover a lot of these topics and so we invite people to go to the FaceBook page, organizer forum, just like it is written, click like as well as Yahoo, organizersforum, all one word and you can sign up for that, just go in and search for organizerforum, and click join, you’ll get notices about the call.  Also if you want to get a transcript or recording of the call, those get posted on the NDLA website at disability  We are always looking for new topics, so if you have ideas, if you want to get involved please let me, Jessica, or Diane know.  So on with the show.  We have a wonderful panel today.  It being January, we wanted to kind of talk about where is the Disability Rights Movement in 2016 what, are the big priorities and so we have four speakers from around the country so share their vision a little bit.  To talk about what they see as the opportunities and challenges and then we will have some time after that for questions and answers and to have some dialogue.  So I’m not at my computer, I don’t have all my notes with introductions in front of me, I apologize.  Our speakers will have to correct me if I miss something, I’m going to do the best I can.  Our four speakers today, Andy Imparato the Executive Director of association of University centers on disabilities and he is a formal disability policy director for senator, we have Rahnee Patric, also from Chicago we have Karen Tamley, commissioner of Mayor’s office for people with disabilities, then we have Allie Cannington, she will have to remind me of the title (static) she is a board member of the American association of people with disabilities.  So I’m going to ask our speakers one at a time to unmute themselves by hitting star 6.  As of right before the call we, we didn’t have a volunteer to go first.  So I’m going to ask if maybe Andy would be willing to go first or if somebody else is willing, please go ahead.

>>Andy: Yeah this is a Andy, can you hear me Jessica?

>> Jessica: Yes, thank you Andy.

>>Andy: First as somebody who was there with Mark Johnson and Jessica and Diane when the Organizer’s Forum and National Disability Leadership Alliance was birthed at the leadership institute in Boston, I’m glad we have from Boston center of independent living, I’m impressed that it has continued for, I guess it has been eight years at least.  So Kudos to everybody involved in keeping it going.

And, you know, I think, you know, the reason that the leadership institute was important from my perspective, it kind of reminded all of us of the importance of continuing to come together across all of our disability labels to try to build community, build an agenda that’s inclusive and, you know, make it happen on the ground and at the state level and at the national level.  So as the speaker who is based in DC and is mostly involved in federal issues, I just wanted to touch briefly on some of the national developments that I think created organizing opportunities at the state and local level and the first one I wanted to touch on is kind of a cluster of issues around people having better services and supports in the community.  We got a rule from the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services that’s defining what we mean by home and community based services and asking the states to develop plans, talking about how they are going to bring themselves in compliance with this new rule, which is asking questions about the kind of choices and self-determination that people have in their lives who are being supported by Medicaid, community based services under waivers or other Medicaid volunteer services and support programs.

And, you know, these questions are all fundamentally about people being able to decide things like what they eat, when they eat, you know, when they go to bed, who can come to their home and visit them, whether they can lock their door, these are kind of basic questions that haven’t always been asked by CMS and things have been paid for in the context of home and community based services.  Historically, where people built housing on the grounds of former institutions and call it home and community based services.  So we got this rule that the Obama administration issued and the states are now in the process of developing transition plans and trying to get CMS to approve their transition plans and required to work with stakeholders in their local disability community on these plans and that creates an organizing opportunity, you know, and interestingly a lot of the issues are life-span issues so it is an organizing opportunities, for adults with disabilities and for elders who are using long-term services and supports.  You can couple that rule with more aggressive enforcement of the homestead Supreme Court by Obama justice department, now the new disability integration act introduced by senator Schumer from New York, just very recently.  I think all of these kind of federal leadership, create an opportunity at the local level and the state level to really look at what’s happening and not happening, who the winners and losers are and long-term services and supports and really trying to get another state to another level in terms of giving people the kind of services they need to live with dignity and have a full life in the community.  I think it also creates across disability organizing opportunity in a sense it affects people with mental health disabilities, like me I have bipolar disorder, it affects people with intellectual disabilities, affects people with physical disabilities.  So, you know, it does create an opportunity broader coalition at the state level.  Another thing that happened at the Obama, was the creation of administration for community living at HHS, which brought together the administration on aging now with the workforce innovation opportunity act we have independent living program over there.  We got the developmental disabilities funded programs, authorized programs like University centers of excellence in developmental disabilities, which is a network that I’m representing.

And I think, you know, historically, HHS has encouraged the DD programs to collaborate at the state level, the agencies, the council and University centers for excellence.  Now we are starting to get encouraged to collaborate across this new administration on disabilities, which includes independent living and assistive technology and then the broader administration for community living, which includes all the federally funded aging programs.  So I think, you know, all of this creates opportunities for organizers to work to push for better services supports at the state level.  Other federal Bill I want to mention briefly was the Able Act, a bipartisan Bill, which was designed to help folks save money that can be used to pay for disability related expenses that won’t count against them in their eligibility for federal disability benefits like SSI and Medicaid.

And that, that Bill gives states opportunity to then pass state bills to implement the law, the savings account are like the savings account, I think the organizing opportunity I see there beyond simply passing state legislation, is using the Bill to have a conversation at the state level about all of the rules that circumscribe what people with disabilities are able to do in the work environment and in terms of saving money and the need for us to modernize our entitlement programs so that people have full lives in the community, can work and save money and not be punished for it.  So I feel like the Able Ability is a chance not just to pass state implementing information, but to talk about the Able Act as kind of a building block that we can build on to make sure all the programs that we have that support people with disabilities in the community are encouraging folks to be able to save money and work and don’t have kind of the built in poverty orientation and centers that the programs continue to have.  So I’ll stop there, appreciate the opportunity, Jessica, and if people want to learn more about AUCD, I encourage people to visit

>> Jessica: Thank you so much Andy, that was really great, some issues that you raise.  I’m hoping we can have [speaker off mic] go next, Rahnee Patric, please hit star 6 to unmute yourself.  Did Rahnee make it on the call?

>>Andy: Jessica, I know we have Karen on the phone, I haven’t heard Rahnee or Allie’s voices yet.

>> Jessica: I muted everyone, but yeah, let’s go ahead with Karen if you are ready.

>>Karen: Karen it is star 6 to unmute yourself.  Can you hear me?  Okay, great.  So I’m the commissioner with Mayor’s office for people with disabilities for the city of Chicago, in my role we advise the mayor and city department and work on various initiatives to promote accessibility and opportunities for people with disabilities within the city of Chicago.  Before this I have had a long history working both for 14 years at independent living and community organizing, [speaker off mic] others and with also very honored to be at the forum that Andy mentioned.  So I’m very excited to see this Organizer’s Forum continuing.  So thanks for having me.  I wanted to just say a couple things, because the issues that I’m working on are very local to the city, but I think have application nationally and I just kind of wanted to mention a couple of the major projects that we will be working on this year.  I would say, for me, just being in local government, you know, obviously, is an adjustment from being on the outside and the way that, you know, you don’t have always the tools that you have on the outside and in order to achieve change, but I, I do have to say that the one thing I’ve learned really is the power of the disability community and the voice of the disability community.  As well as, the media, and how that can really help shape and impact local policy, that is something that has been a very powerful tool, I believe, in pushing issues forward.  So just, some of the things, this has been a really big year for us, coming off of the 25th anniversary of the ADA, we had a really big major ADA 25 Chicago operation that was funded with a million dollar grant from the Chicago community trust, which is a local foundation and we were able to talk on a lot of projects that will really help move the needle forward for people with disabilities in the Chicago region.  A couple of, either though the year is concluded there is a couple of the projects that I’m going to be really continuing in the coming year.  One is one thing that we launched this year a literacy task force, looking at where we need to go, in the disability community.  Employment obviously is a huge issue and a need for focus, but so too is the area of education and its role and linkage to employment.

And locally here one of the things that we really looked at was a huge gap in literacy proficiency between students with IEPs and students without and we saw 43 percentage, achievement gap and it is not to say that literacy proficiency, for some students it is unacceptable.  We worked with the mayor to launch task force, we are currently in month three of a six month task force where we pulled together literacy experts in the disability community, parents and service organizations all focused on this issue, to develop some recommendations about where we need to go forward to address this gap.  Because I think it is directly related to employment and many other issues in our community and so this is one thing locally that we are really trying to shine a light on.  Other local, public school system is also very much of a financial crisis and so it is going to be really tough this year, but there is certainly a lot of organizing opportunities locally around this issue.  The other ADA 25-ish, we launched this year is leadership institute for people with disabilities, and this is something that a group of us had been talking about for many years, wanting to do more to elevate and support emerging leaders in the Chicago Region into more decision making tables, to become more specifically engaged as a way to increase our political power, our voice, and increase diversity.

And quite frankly when we look at a lot of the civic boards we don’t see representation from people with disabilities, when I get asked to recommend names of individuals I feel like, unfortunately, I’m recommending the same people and we just really felt like we needed to do more to elevate opportunities for emerging leaders.  So we kicked off with some major funding from local companies, a three-day leadership institute, we got 58 applicants for 16 slots.

And so it was, it was very successful, we are still evaluating it, but this is something that we are hoping to kind of take more broadly in the Chicago Region, for sure this year and we are also looking at developing a project where we can begin to pull people in and build relations with entities, government, non-profit and other decision makers so that we can work to connect people with disabilities on decision making boards and commissions.  So that was a really big thing that, you know, I think is really going to hopefully launch in 2016 beyond just a pilot program.  In terms of other emerging issues, and I think this is something that’s happening nationally, is the issue of police and community relations and, you know, Chicago like many cities is getting a lot of national attention around police shoots and there’s more and more conversations about people with disabilities and what we need to do as a community to really address this.

And so, this is going to be a big priority for our department, both engaging the disability community as well as local government and the police department about what we can be doing more to address police issues and community relations.  Generally, but also in ways that include the disability community.  We also, we already do trainings for police recruits in the academy and we have done that for many years, but I think there needs to be a lot more done on this front and address a broader breath of folks in various communities around this issue.  So I think this is a national issue, it is something that if anyone on this call is working on, I’d be really interested in talking to you about what you have done, any trainings, any ways that you have collected data or complaints and ways that you have been able to affect change.  So I think this is a really big issue for 2016.

And then lastly, I’m just feeling more and more of a need to stay on top of things that are going on with both shared mobility and different kind of new urban planning as it relay to people with disabilities.  We talked about ride share a lot and Uber and its accessibility and inclusion of individuals with disabilities, we talk about use of technology and how people with disabilities are using technology or excluded because of technology, from things like ride share or other transportation opportunities.  We’re seeing a lot of impact on people with disabilities in general around issues like protected bike lanes and bus transit, micro transit, so I think that there is a lot of things happening in urban settings that impact our community, that it is really important that we stay on top of to make sure that accessibility issues are addressed, both accessibility, anti-discrimination and the fact that we can get around our public rights just like anybody else.  So this is, it is really been difficult to kind of keep up with a lot of the changes that are going on, with a lot of these things.  But I think it is something that we really, really need to stay on top of as a community.  So that would be kind of my top list that I think has some national impact as well and, you know, if Rahnee was on the call, I hope she joined, seven months into the year and our state still doesn’t have a budget yet, that’s a really major issue we are dealing with as well that presents tremendous organizer opportunities.

>> Jessica: Thank you so much Karen, you brought up a lot of issues that I’m sure we will have some good discussion about.  So do we have Allie Cannington on the call?  Allie if you are there hit star 6 to unmute yourself.

>>Allie: Can you hear me?

>> Jessica: Yes, now we can hear you, wonderful.

>>Allie: Okay, wonderful.  Hey so my name is Allie Cannington, I really appreciate you having me today, thank you so much Jessica and Diane and other organizers for the Organizer’s Forum.  I want to first acknowledge the legacy that exists within our movement and all that I have learned and have yet to learn as a young person in the movement.

And just to name just all of the leadership that is on this call and those who are not present today that have made 2016 even possibly to be a pivot point for our movement.

And so with that being said, I also want to name that, you know, that the thoughts that I will share are, you know, from my perspective and obviously and that and with that being said like there’s always more for me to learn and more for me to challenge myself on as a young person in the movement.  So when I would ask this question about opportunities, challenges, vision for 2016, I pretty much ended up with pages and pages of notes about issues that came to my mind and heart and it just I think important to bring up that there is so many issues that I will not bring up and that doesn’t mean that they are not important or relevant, it just means that our time is so short and yeah so I, I’m going to bring up three points that really stuck out to me as I was prepping for our conversation today and the first is, Karen you really brought these up before, so I thank you.  So looking internally at our movement um I myself um see a huge opportunity within our community as particularly in regards to young people with disabilities and more importantly young people of color with disabilities and I say this as a young white person with multiple disabilities, is that as our population becomes more and more diverse I am concerned about um a lack of, I’m concerned about enough, having enough organize pipelines and entry points for young people of color with disabilities to engage and gain leadership in our movement.

And I think that there’s so much robust crucial knowledge from the, and wisdom, from our leadership and I’m wanting to think more critically and creatively about how we can engage more people at a higher rate, particularly young people.

And because of our population and because of our population being so diverse, having those young people be a majority young people of color and, you know, I think that we have really beautiful models across the country in terms of youth engagement and in terms of pipelines for leadership development, particularly of multiple marginalized use of disabilities, but I am concerned of the silos that exist.

And again there is such opportunity and looking at, you know, thinking about how we can be even more intentional about passing along the wisdom that does exist to the diversity of young people that are evolving in our community and in our movement.

And in addition to thinking about the, as our population becomes more and more diverse and as we’re needing to elevate the voices of multiply marginalized people with disabilities, I also asked myself and our movement as a whole, what does it mean for our community to show up and build relationships with ally movement?    And last year um, in 2014 when everything happened in Ferguson, we, my friend and I started to have a conversation about what does disability solidarity look like, what does it mean when the disability community, what does it mean when we don’t show up for black lives matter events or we don’t talk about, we don’t send out, you know, letters of solidarity to, when, you know, black lives, black lives are cut short by police brutality.  I’m wondering what this concept of disability solidarity can look at in 2016 as we continue to have high, high rates of disproportionately high rates of black and brown lives, disabled lives being cut short due to incarceration and police brutality and what does it mean for our disability community to show up for our ally movements as well as center those issues as our, as a collective multiple social justice movement issue.

And that’s going to look very different, it can take form in a lot of different ways, but I see that as a huge issue and something to consider as we move into this year.

And the last thing is I just want to share that over the past three years I seen a vast shift in language, and I know this is a nuance, but I’m bringing it up because I think that there is still this mainstream assumption outside of our, you know, insular community, disability is an individualized issue, it is not an issue of the, it is not an issue of oppression, it is not an issue um of civil rights and I have seen a huge increase on, when I look on Google search and I type in ableism I see so many more articles being written through blogs, through different sources of media around this word and elevating this word and I would like to kind of have an internal conversation within the movement about our disability organizations maybe using this word, what’s interesting when I look up ableism on Google search I don’t see a lot of disability rights organizations, I see a lot of individual blogs.

And so I’m wondering, you know, the power that isms give, what if civil rights organizations didn’t use the word racism, what detriment that would be to communities of color.  So I’d like to have, I want to, my perspective is how can we as a movement further mainstream the word ableism so that we can be more visible at the mainstream table when it, when we are thinking about naming the oppressor and saying that, you know, and ensuring that (static) [speaker off mic] [speaker off mic]

>> Allie, you just got really fuzzy, I have no idea why, I’m very sorry.

>>Allie: (static) [indiscernible]

>> Hello.

>> Jessica: Trying to figure out what to do, hold on.

>>Allie: Can you hear me?

>> Jessica: Your comments one more time, I wonder if we can hear you.

>>Allie: Can you hear me now?  (static)

>> Jessica: Oh goodness this isn’t, Allie, can you try — hello?

>>Allie: Can you hear me now?

>> Jessica: Yes, suddenly it got better.

>>Allie: That’s so better, could you hear me at all when I was talking?

>> Jessica: I couldn’t hear the last minute, I’m not sure about everybody else, the last thing you were saying.

>>Allie: No worries, no worries.  I’m done though.

>> Jessica: But thank you for listening.  Thank you so much Allie those are some really great challenges, a lot of things for us to think about and talk about.  Rahnee, are you on the call?  Can you hit star 6 to unmute yourself if you made it on?  Okay.  Well I’m not sure about Rahnee, if she does join we will have her speak when she gets on.  So about 15 minutes for questions and dialogue.

And I’m going to keep everyone on mute for the integrity of the call, so please hit star 6 to unmute your phone if you have a question or a comment.

>> Can you guys hear me?

>> This is we met up in conference last summer, we talked about action and stuff like that, you remember me?

>> Yeah, hey, what’s up?

>> Nothing I sent you an e-mail a long time ago and you totally blew me off.  (static)

>> You know what —

>> Is it okay if I send you another e-mail Allie?

>>Allie: Yes you can send me another (static) [indiscernible] — but I’m, sorry about that.

>> Gotcha, I will send you an e-mail and touch base with you again.

>>Allie: Great, thank you.

>> Jessica: Who has a question or a comment on the topic?  (static) Will go ahead as well, again star 6 to unmute your phone.

>> This is Jeff, can you hear me?  (static)

>> Jessica: Sort of, I really apologize for the static — I, the know in Pennsylvania we have an able coalition working with disability and I think it is important for folks to work on that in different states because it is another school, we are supposed to keep folks in the community (static) housing, transportation, employment, education, services.

>> Jessica: Thank you.

>> Can you hear me?

>> Jessica: Yes, go ahead.  (static)

>> Can you hear me?

>> Jessica: Yes, go ahead.

>> I think, this is Helen, with the comment of mine trying to understand this ableism thing coming from the perspective of I look at diversity and I do follow a lot of the broad on ableism and what not, but I do have to question the use of that word.  I don’t necessarily think it is helpful and I think it sort of separates the disability community from working together because there are different types of disabilities and basically it is not really including persons with disabilities when we talk about ableism.  (static)

>>Allie: Can you hear me?

>> Jessica: We can sort of hear you Allie, you sound a little faint through the static.

>>Allie: Okay (static) [indiscernible] to learn more about what —

>> Jessica: Allie, I’m sorry, but I don’t think we can hear you.

>> You wanted to hear more about my perception yes, I take it, it would be a dialogue to have, the persons with disabilities and —

>> Jessica: Helen and Allie, I think this is a great and very important conversation on the use of the word ableism and what could be important about it, I want to suggest that we have a separate organizer forum call just on that topic.

>> I think that’s a good idea —

>> Jessica: (static)

>> So people can feel included.

>> Jessica: I’m going to ask everybody to go ahead and mute themselves and let’s see if that helps our static at all.  —

>> Can you hear me?

>> Jessica: Okay.

>> I just wanted to say I really appreciated Allie’s comment, especially on the importance of the solidarity between the civil rights movement and other overlapping social justice movements and on the importance of raising up young leaders of color and other people who have disabilities who are also marginalized in other ways and I’d love to talk more about that, you know, on the Yahoo group and separately, however we can continue that conversation because I think it is challenging as me as a young organizer in Massachusetts, considers it very important to find other people in the local disability community who share that perspective so we can start having the conversations with people in the disability communities who may not see it as obvious, but that’s the crucial at the moment.  So I’d love to keep talking about how we can lift up those conversations in disability communities where that isn’t the conversation already happening.

>> Jessica: Absolutely, thank you.  Any comments or —

>>Rahnee: It is Rahnee.

>> Jessica: You made it, we have about nine minutes left on the call you want to speak for about five minutes.

>>Rahnee: Sure, I’m Director of Independent Living and access living, I just wanted to talk about, wanted to thank everybody for the opportunity.  I wanted to just talk generally about home and community base services and really the deep need that we need to focus in on here on the nation, just given that we need more senators to be signing on to the disability integration act.  But in addition to that I didn’t want to override and ignore what other topic was about making sure that we have um include people across all communities into this fight.

And what we, just to answer what Elegra is saying, sometimes you may seem you are a turncoat to the disability community when you are trying to include other communities that have intersections, they have disabilities and they may be from other races, may be young, they may be older, they may have different kinds of disabilities and they may be part of LGBTQ community and you may need to lift up the perspectives that’s not disability only oriented so that, so that inclusion can happen.  It takes a lot of hard work.  So um that, that piece of that played a really important part plus for us to have some sort of power, that’s hard to hear, I think what I have seen is that we feel very vulnerable, the disability community and if we are not able to talk and hold each other accountable with including other folks that are in our community, that are disabled and that where we are not only disabled but we are queer or we are Asian or black and we have to be silent about those parts of ourselves, it marginal catalyzes us within a community that talks very, very strongly about inclusion.

And so for us this inclusion piece is super, super powerful.  We need to lean on that, but we may come across though as if we are turning our backs on the principles of the disability community and I just hope that we can acknowledge it that this is part of the hard work to build power.  So our power is really important because we do need more home and community based services.  So we have disability integration act but also there are threats to the independent living movement in that we are now part of centers for Medicaid and Medicare services and when we’re in that, in that field, the developmental disability organizations as well as the aging, aging communities have been, really have built a lot, strong foundation in that agency.

And what has happened is that they are requiring some certifications and also some, there’s also going to be a threat to consumer control.  So in terms of regulations that have come down from independent living centers, there is a question right now in the regulations about what defines a new center for independent living and, you know, consumer control has been most powerful, most important for the independent living movement is that people with disabilities are in charge.

And that’s traditionally not been a model as much as, more like self-determination, having, you know, circles of support to help you make, to bring voice and help you make decisions.

And so there again is this work we need to do in Independent Living, where we need to be able to maintain our identity and also be able to culturally connect up with our new House, which is at center for Medicare and Medicaid services.  So those are just some, you know, short bits that I wanted to talk about today.

>> Jessica: Thank you so much Rahnee, I’m really glad you are here and you raised some really important points.  We probably have time for two or three more questions or comments.

>> This is Diane.  This is Diane, there are some chat comments that I’d like to share.  —

>> Jessica: Thanks Diane.

>> One is wondering if relations with police would be a good topic for a forum, if it hasn’t already been done, especially would like to learn from groups that have been working on this.  So that’s a good suggestion for future topic, we are always looking for those ideas and that sounds really good.

>> Jessica: Yeah can I make a quick comment on that Diane, we’ve actually been trying to put together a call on that topic for a while and we were going to and then something happened, so anyone who is interested in helping me put that together, please let me know.  This is Jessica again.

>> Jessica, this is Colleen, can I throw in a comment?

>> Jessica: I think Diane has a couple more questions from the chat in the captioning —

>> This is Laura, with the Dear Juliana campaign, I wanted to make sure everybody knew about the disability integration where they can learn about the bill that Bonnie has been talking about, the support tab on the website as a supporter of the bill.  Those are the comments I had in chat so far.

>> Jessica: Thanks Diane.  Now to Colleen.

>> Colleen: Can you hear me?  , this is Colleen.

>> Jessica: Yes, go ahead.

>> Colleen: I’m very concerned about the lack of mention of people with disabilities, the latest example was in the senate, in the President’s State of the Union speech and I’d like to, I know our time is running short, so I’d just like to suggest maybe a call about that.  When he listed the various civil rights groups that we need to care about, he didn’t mention people with disabilities.  But he did call out other of the social justice groups.  So I don’t know if you had a call on that, but if you haven’t, maybe we need to do some strategy around that.

>> Jessica: Yeah why don’t you and I e-mail about what that might look like, what we might —

>> Sounds great, sounds great, do you have my e-mail?

>> Jessica: I believe so.

>> Okay, thanks.

>> Say Jessica —

>> Jessica: Yes?

>>Rahnee: So this is Rahnee again, I would just caution us as a disability community though and we’re talking about, you know, um like not being included when we have like statements like this, is not to say oh they’re going to, if it had to do with, you know, black folks or African-American folks, they would do that but they wouldn’t do disability community, or if it had to do with queer folks it would be all over the news, but wouldn’t be if it was disability.  I hope that conversation would not go down that direction um before, if we have a conversation we should talk about why is our impulse to do that, because I think that diminishes the oppression that other folks um in other communities are experiencing in tandem with the oppression we are experiencing as disabled people.

>> Thank you Rahnee, I would also add, you know, I think we can always figure out how to tie some of these things into future calls, how do we really recognize and honor all of the diversity within the disability community that we can’t look at, people talking about the black community or the LGBT community as separate from the disability community when they very much overlap.

>> Hey Jessica, this is Allie.

>> Jessica: Yes we can hear you, last comment then I’m going to wrap us up.

>>Allie: Okay, I just wanted to put it out there if the [speaker off mic] we are pretty active and built a pretty robust um, you know, small but strong network of young organizers across the country and I just want to put it out there that if anyone has any way that um whether that be, you know, issues that the Nickel Use can look at, also particularly with Elegra’s comment and models of leadership development for young people and organizing of young people.  I would love to hear those experiences and best practices, especially programs that, I’m just putting that out there that I would love to continue to conversation and I know the Nickel Use would love to do that as well.  So thank you.

>> Jessica: Thank you Allie.

>>Andy: I need your new e-mail address because we have some exciting —

>> Jessica: I’m going to have to wrap-up so any questions about the speakers, you can always e-mail me, Jessica, you should have my e-mail on the announcement and I will also include contact information for the speakers, if they can e-mail what is okay to send out and we will make sure people have that so you can contact them individually.  Probably the best thing to do, actually now that I think of it, go on FaceBook page or Yahoo group like I mentioned, if you have questions or other comments about today, please go ahead and put them on those.  Even if there is a comment that somebody made, something that you are thinking about, for the people who didn’t make it on the call, please go ahead and make that on to continue the dialogue.  So a huge thank you to our excellent speakers, we really appreciate your time and your expertise and thank you to National Disability Leadership Alliance and to Diane’s work funding and handling the captioning and thanks to our captioner, of course.  I’m trying to think if there is anyone else I’m supposed to thank, I think I covered it.  Our calls are always on the third Tuesday of the Montana at the same time, I think our next call is mental health and gun violence, what we can do about it in the disability community so mark your calendars for that.  Am I missing anything before we close?

>> I think we are fine.

>> Jessica: Thank you Diane and thank you everybody, have a wonderful day.  Bye.