Category Archives: ADA

disability etiquette and full inclusion!

to assure a dis-ability affirmative space for all events, avail yourself of this important leaflet, (download link below)  and then do the outreach. people with dis-abilities don’t show up to events in l.a. because events are dis-ability hostile and indifferent.

make sure all venues (including the bathroom and the stage) are accessible (a temporary ramp is very inexpensive!)

choose an identified monitor to assure continued accessibility and to resolve problems as they arrise through out the program.

and most importantly, add the following statement to all publicity for your events:

this event is wheelchair accessible and dis-ability affirmative. if you need additional accommodations please contact us 72 hours prior to the event.

(and then be ready to provide sign language interpretation and other accommodations as needed.)

this isn’t just the responsibility of government and business entities.

lack of inclusion is a violation of the human rights the left and community organizations claim to support.

we need to take the responsibility to find the resources so that we are true allies building full and complete movements for social justice.

For more information on accessible event planning:


Guide to Accessible Event Planning


The issue of disability rights is often either ignored within the larger human rights dialogue or treated with outright hostility. Too often events are either held in inaccessible locations, or the way space is used, in otherwise accessible locations, rendered inaccessible. Additionally, often individual attempts at participation are greeted with out right hostility and ridicule by many individuals who consider themselves to be advocates of (more worthy?) human rights causes. If we are to build a strong movement that is truly democratic, truly representative and truly uses all the resources, skills and expertise of our community, it must be fully inclusive. if inclusion is not a collective responsibility it is delegated to the individual to assure her own participation, to adjust to the larger constructs, rather than have the community make the adjustments and accommodations. Often participation is totally impossible. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW IF YOUR EVENT IS DIS-ABILITY FRIENDLY AND ACCESSIBLE– IF WE AREN’T THERE, IT ISN’T!!!! Conversely, just because a few of us ARE there, doesn’t mean the event is accessible or safe or inclusive. It just means a few of us found a way to access a portion of the event, on their own.  Some wheelchair users for example, are very athletic and can climb stairs. Their presence at an event doesn’t mean we’re all welcome, safe or included.

Attached is a guide book, published by the City of Los Angeles, for making events accessible. I would add that

1. Progressive communities need to begin (BEGIN!!!) the dialogue on inclusion.

2.All events have a designated accessibility coordinator to make sure aisles remain clear and unblocked and to support people with dis-abilities, should problems arise.

3. Ridicule and humiliation of people with dis-abilities be treated like all hate speech, and that appropriate action be taken to assure events are not hostile environments.

4. Where “special” entrances are necessary, specific signage and staffing must be provided so that people with dis-abilities have the agency to come and go with the same liberty as all other participants, not having to wait until someone becomes available to assist them.

5. Add the following statement to all publicity for your events:

this event is wheelchair accessible and dis-ability affirmative. if you need additional accommodations please contact us 72 hours prior to the event.

(and then be ready to provide sign language interpretation and other accommodations as needed.)

6. My biggest pet peeve, are otherwise accessible venues where the stage is not accessible. IT IS A VERY STRONG REMINDER– “YOU ARE WELCOME TO BE HERE, BUT WE DON’T FEEL THAT YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY!”


A TAste of LiFe- no criPples- AniMal FriEndly!!!!

looking for a vegan restaurant for dinner with friends. called “a taste of life” and asked about wheelchair access. they said “sorry, the best we can do is bring it to your car.” their web page says “animal cruelty free.” how kind: concerned for animals rights and discriminate against people! sadly typical. remember disability access is a positive thought!! so send them positive energy at: 323-669-0784. 🙂

Man with service dog arrested after refusing to leave courthouse

-Good idea to follow the link, watch the video, and read the horridly bigoted comments. Experiences like this are common place for pwds. I have to limit the number of errands I do in a day to what i can handle without losing my temper. I have to assume that there will be at least one indignity per location. More, if it’s some new age, think positive type of place, like Whole Foods or the Silverlake (dogs, not cripples allowed access!) dog park, or if it’s a human rights event or gathering, like the no bathroom for gimps, Country Federation of Labor (do they hire pwds?) or the UTLA Human Rights Committee (up the stairs) retreat, or the NEA Human Rights Awards Dinner, or an anti-war  demonstration . -Emma


Man says he was kicked out of courthouse because of his service dog 08:16 AM CDT on Friday, March 27, 2009 James Muñoz, KENS 5 Video Visually impaired Richard Pena filed a lawsuit after being denied access to the Bexar County Courthouse in 2007. Richard Pena went to the Bexar County Courthouse in July 2007 to do some research on his adoption. As always, he had Prissy, his service dog with him. He says he was denied access at the metal detector, but soon a supervisor arrived and cleared the way for him to proceed to the third floor. Pena says he even had documents from the Social Security Administration with him detailing his disability and need for a service dog. Pena survived a brain tumor in 1998, but suffered a stroke during surgery. He’s visually impaired and uses Prissy for balance, mobility and direction. To Pena’s surprise, a deputy approached him again and told him to leave the courthouse because of the dog. Pena refused and says he was physically removed, arrested and charged with resisting arrest, criminal trespassing and cruelty to animals. A lawsuit says six deputies were involved in the incident. They’re listed as John Doe 1 thorough 7. Attorney Vincent Lazaro says Bexar County has yet to provide the names of the officers involved. The lawsuit claims the incident caused Pena to suffer acute mental anguish, including extreme emotional distress and mental pain, low self-esteem, humiliation, belittlement and shame. Pena says Prissy is not the same either. He says she is reluctant to go out and somewhat fearful of strangers. Bexar County declined to comment on the lawsuit.

OSCARS: Disability Advocates Protest “Humanitarian” Award Recipient, Jerry Lewis!!!!

 “We experience the side-effects of Lewis’  pity-mongering every day, when people see us as victims rather than as contributors, as recipients of handouts rather than equal citizens Every dime raised has been at cost of our dignity.

                                                                                  – activist Laura Hershey

For Immediate Release:           Contact: Janine Bertram Kemp 503-622-6387

2/17/2009                                                         503-504-9787/


          Anne Finger 510-593-6412


OSCARS: Disability Advocates Protest “Humanitarian”

Award Recipient, Jerry Lewis.  Learn why

Los Angeles, Ca. – Disability community leaders from across disability advocacy will protest the decision of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to grant Jerry Lewis the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at this Sunday’s Oscar Awards ceremony. Lewis has described disabled individual is “half a person” and referred to a wheelchair as “a steel imprisonment.”

For more than two decades, disability rights advocates have objected to Lewis’ portrayal of life with a disability as tragic and pathetic. In response, Lewis snarled, “You don’t want to be pitied because you’re a cripple in a wheelchair? Stay in your house!”

Dismissing the disability community’s objections, the Academy has decided to proceed with the award. In a letter to the activist group The Trouble with Jerry, Academy director Bruce Davis compared Lewis’ insulting, outdated attitudes to “some scratches in the paint job… of a Lamborghini.”  

“To outsiders, Jerry Lewis may be perceived as a humanitarian, but to us Lewis personifies one of the biggest barriers facing people with disabilities: outdated  attitudes,” said author and activist Laura Hershey, a protest organizer. “While the Motion Picture Academy has chosen to award Lewis the Hersholt award due to the  money he has raised on his MDA Telethons, we counter “The cost is too high. Money can’t buy respect,”  said Hershey. “We experience the side-effects of Lewis’  pity-mongering every day, when people see us as victims rather than as contributors, as recipients of handouts rather than equal citizens Every dime raised has been at cost of our dignity.”

Over 30 organizations endorse The Trouble with Jerry campaign, and to date over 2600 individuals have signed a petition protesting the award. The petition states in part, “Rather than working for equality and social inclusion of disabled people, the MDA Telethon portrays us as hopeless, pathetic, eternal children.’”

Demonstrations will take place during Oscar weekend in Los Angeles and around the US. Local LA protest schedules and locations are as follows:

  ▪Friday, February 20, 12 noon, Motion Picture Academy, 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.

  ▪Saturday, February 21, 12 noon, Kodak Theatre, Highland & Hollywood Blvd.

  ▪Sunday, February 22, 2:00 p.m., near the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Vine

Correspondence between The Trouble with Jerry and the Motion Picture Academy, as well as some history of disability rights protests against Jerry Lewis, and current protest information, can be found at .

Janine Bertram Kemp

Solutions Marketing Group

PO Box 313

23555 Ea.Bailey Rd.

Rhododendron, Or 97049



Additional Information:

Disability Rights and the Jerry Pity-thon

Disability News: Breakthrough on Airline Travel

Airline travel is especially difficult for pwds (people with disabilities.)  Airline staff is routinely rude and hostile to disability access (one exception in my experience was Frontier Airlines, where service and accommodation went well beyond anything required by law or even human decency– on one flight the pilot made sure my chair was secure in cargo, and upon arrival, brought the chair up to the cabin, himself.) But on one flight, United broke both my walker and my wheelchair.  I noticed problems with the chair, right away, and reported them, but didn’t notice problems with the walker until I got home, since I was using the wheelchair.  United staff was impossible to reach, and we spent much of the next week attempting to get some resolution to a drastic loss in ambulatory, medical equipment.  Finally, they did agree to replace both items, but not without the outrageous “you’ll have to bring them in for inspection.”

“Are you listening to yourself?” I asked.  “Your people broke my wheelchair and walker.  How do you suggest I bring them in?”

On another flight “we lost your wheelchair, please stand up and come with me.” The wheelchair did not make the connecting flight, and no one contacted LAX to alert them. Locating the wheelchair took several hours, and special delivery to my home, did not include sending enough staff to actually get the wheelchair out of the van and to my front door.  ” I have your wheelchair outside, will you please come out and get it.”  

(for the full story, go to

On yet another flight, with Jet Blue, I was hideously ridiculed by flight attendants, when I asked for assistance to the onflight restroom and somewhere to sit while waiting; each flight has an aisle width wheelchair for this purpose, but they refused to get it, insisting that I didn’t look disabled and threatening me if I “didn’t behave myself.” Their behavior was so bad, that two other travelers, we didn’t know, came up to us and offered to be witnesses.  We filed a complaint, but never heard back, and with everything happening in our lives, didn’t follow up. –so many indignities, so little time!!!

Airports, because there are so many wheels needed for transporting luggage, are relatively easy to get around by wheelchair, though we’ve experienced revolving doors, and other passageways that are not accessible, and with no signage, at the starting point, had to return to the gate and go around much of the airport to get to baggage.  No one offered to help us, to find a more direct route or even to apologize for the inconvenience.

I find airline security to be extremely problematic, as they insist, if you are traveling in your own wheelchair (imagine that!) on separating you from your luggage; while your luggage goes through the x-ray machines, you, in a wheelchair must go to a different location to be frisked, and the wheelchair checked.  There has to be a way to search the person and the possessions together, but we haven’t found an airport that provides for this.  I always protest, and on one occasion, they did  search my items and then took me and my items to the station where  they searched me and my wheelchair.  Usually they insist that I leave my things with Andy, assuming that I have no privacy issues with the person with whom I am traveling (suppose this were a co-worker, boss, etc. on a business trip, an abusive spouse, or any of a number of scenarios in which I might not want someone else to be in control of my possessions or to have my possessions out of my sight.)


The hostile indifference of airline staff is considerable.  So it is with enthusiasm, as I have yet to travel by air without at least one indignity due to disability discrimination, that I read, and pass on this link to a judicial ruling, long overdue, obliging airlines to adhere to the ADA or face litigation.

  Federal judge: Airports, airlines subject to ADA rules

  Paul Egan / The Detroit News

National Coalition for Disability Rights

OPINION: As the ADA Amendments Act Passes In the House…

While the recent legislation passed by the House, is a marked 
improvement on limits imposed upon previous legislation by rigid and 
reactionary Supreme Court rulings, the current legislation still 
provides business and public services huge leeway in denying access to 
people with disabilities, and of particular concern are the limits 
imposed on acceptable service animals.

Emma Rosenthal
National Coalition for Disability Rights
OPINION: As the ADA Amendments Act Passes In the House…
The ADA Watch/NCDR Board and State Steering Committee has announced, in 
a show of unity with other disability organizations, its support of the 
ADA Amendments Act.
This is not, however, the ADA Restoration Act we all worked so hard on 
and it is quickly moving forward without the support of key disability 
rights organizations and leaders. The concerns being voiced come from 
many who were vital in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities 
Act in 1990. The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund 
for example, as part of an analysis posted on their website, states that:
"Passage of the current deal will improve the status quo for many, but 
it will also mean that the opportunity to correct the paradigm to remove 
severity as a factor of coverage and include many more who are currently 
unable to use the ADA because they are not considered "disabled enough" 
will be lost or indefinitely delayed as the new provisions are 
interpreted up the judicial ladder."
[The medical severity test evokes eligibility criteria for benefits 
programs, an area of law that the courts encounter more frequently, 
rather than supporting a civil rights interpretation. The severity of 
disability should be irrelevant to whether the plaintiff's impairment 
resulted in discrimination. The ADA Restoration Act, unlike the ADA 
Amendments Act, would remove a medical severity test, allowing any 
person with an actual or perceived impairment the opportunity to show 
that he or she was subjected to an adverse action on the basis of that 
As you might have noticed, ADA Watch has been publicly quiet for some 
time now. Spending 18 months on the Road To Freedom bus traveling the 
United States to promote the original ADA Restoration Act certainly has 
left us in a prolonged period of reentry both organizationally and 
personally. [See below for what we have been cooking up] But we also we 
also held our public tongue at the request of disability negotiators who 
were in "delicate" negotiations with the business community.
Well now those negotiations are over, there is a deal that does not 
allow for any strengthening of the bill by our supporters in Congress, 
and there is little time to use this process to build community or 
change public consciousness about disability rights. There also seems to 
be, in this process, a missed opportunity.
As this process unfolded, ADA Watch/NCDR was at the table and, like 
others, expressed our concerns regarding content, process and timing. 
While many say that this is the best deal that could be had in the 
current environment, and while the Congressional leadership forced us 
into negotiations with business lobbying groups before it went to the 
floor, it seems that we, as a community, could have done more to soften 
the ground leading to these negotiations. A more cohesive and inclusive 
campaign, much like the one that led to the initial passage of the ADA, 
could have produced greater unity in our community and capitalized on 
all of our strengths -- from the grassroots advocates to the legal 
teams, from our lobbyists to our media experts, and more.
ADA Watch/NCDR was praised by the disability negotiators for the 
extensive media we received in publicly making the case for ADA 
Restoration on the Road To Freedom bus tour. While we appreciate the 
praise, the reality is that we have one of the smallest budgets of any 
national organization - less than the yearly CEO salaries of some of the 
larger organizations. The fact that we received the bulk of media 
coverage in the year prior to this deal leaves us wondering what might 
have been had there been the will to fund either our campaign or another 
centralized effort to compete against the well-organized campaign of our 
opponents. While we often say that we are a poor community and that we 
can never compete with the well-funded corporate lobbyists, the reality 
is that - while our constituency is poor - there are billions of dollars 
being raised annually in the name of disability. Isn't it time that a 
larger share of those funds went to publically promote the ADA and 
disability rights - not as charity, not as sympathy, not just as 
research or cure - but as fundamental civil and human rights.
As we learned in traveling around the country, and as you surely know, 
we are not winning in the media. More times than not, the ADA is covered 
as "big government putting "Mom and Pop" stores out of business." (Never 
mind that this is fiction and that, more times than not, we are talking 
about multinational corporations!) These stories are generated directly 
from the news releases from corporate lobbying groups and associations. 
When the original ADA Restoration Act was introduced these groups took 
aim, even declaring that individuals with a "hangnail" were now going to 
be covered by the ADA! Outrageous as they sound, they have been very 
So we are left to guess how the negotiations might have been influenced 
were there an organized effort that matched or even exceeded that which 
led to the passage of the ADA in 1990. A campaign that drew fairly on 
the resources in our community. A campaign with earned and unearned 
media portraying the struggle for equal opportunity nearly 20 years 
after passage of the world's first civil rights law for people with 
disabilities. Community organizing efforts to teach and build coalition 
in support of restoration. Maybe even an ADAPT action at the Chamber of 
Commerce after the "hangnail" remarks. A united community pushing for 
full restoration of the ADA.
While, as an organization, we are not second-guessing our colleagues and 
have expressed support for the ADA Amendments Act, it is difficult not 
to imagine the results of a more unified effort. One that, in addition 
to the considerable legal drafting and negotiations, put similar 
emphasis - and funding - on the other "prongs" of the social change 
"pitchfork." That we could have gotten more seems evident in the now 
public sentiment of at least one of the business lobbyists involved in 
the negotiations. Randel Johnson, a vice president at the U.S. Chamber 
of Commerce, referring to the original ADA Restoration Act, was quoted 
in the Wall Street Journal as saying, "We couldn't beat this bill so 
there was a need for a compromise…"
Concerns about timing have also been raised in regard to sending this 
bill to President Bush, as the Administration responded to passage of 
the Act in the House with criticism that it "could unduly expand" 
coverage and significantly increase litigation. This criticism follows 
the Bush Administration's release of federal regulations that many 
disability rights experts declare will further weaken the Americans with 
Disabilities Act. As disability rights attorney, Steve Gold reports, "On 
June 17, 2008, the Department of Justice issued proposed rules to the 
ADA's federal regulations which, if adopted, will significantly undercut 
the original 1990 compromises and will impose numerous regressive 
restrictions. Many of the proposed rules will ensure that full 
accessibility will be, at best, postponed indefinitely."
The process leading to passage of the ADA Amendments Act has undeniably 
taken a toll on our community. There are many divisions, many bruised 
egos, many damaged relationships. When the smoke clears, we hope there 
is an awareness that there remains a need for a unified campaign to 
change the "hearts and minds" of Americans regarding the ADA and 
disability rights. We don't claim that our coalition alone is the answer 
to fill that need, but we hope that we can be a part of such an effort. 
And as we assess what happened, we should avoid the polarizing - and 
often self-serving - characterizations highlighting supposed dichotomies 
in our community such as disabled/nondisabled, lawyers/lay-advocates, 
Inside/Outside the Beltway, physical/mental disabilities, 
rights/research, and the like. This is not a time for further 
segregation but for greater unity.
This certainly is not our last legislative battle and many in our 
community have said that laws alone will not lead to the kind of social 
change we are seeking. The "missed opportunity" that many are seeing in 
this process will present itself again. Perhaps, however, we should not 
wait for the next battle and can commit now to greater unity and the 
fostering of a stronger disability community. Now, more than ever it 
seems, we need to join together behind a common agenda and we need to 
unite all aspects of what we call the "disability community." We need to 
work together as national, state and local organizations; legal, 
non-legal and self-advocacy organizations; advocates and academics; 
youth organizations; rights and research organizations; student and 
educator organizations; parent and family organizations; aging 
organizations; as well as associated non-disability led civil rights and 
social justice organizations.
We can't afford to exclude anybody who wants to get behind our vision of 
equality and opportunity for people with disabilities in America.
See below for what the National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR) 
has in the works for fostering "unity in the community" and changing 
public consciousness about disability rights. New membership information 
for NCDR has just been posted at: 

What do you think? Contact ADA Watch/NCDR's president, Jim Ward, 
directly and share your thoughts. He can be reached by email at <> and our mailing address is:
ADA Watch/National Coalition for Disability Rights
ATTN: Jim Ward
601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 900S
Washington, DC 20004
The National Coalition for Disability Rights Looks Ahead…
Here is a look at what we are working on to do our part in community 
organizing, coalition-building and public awareness. As always, we are 
seeking individual and organizational support to fulfill our mission. 
Please contact us if you have time and skills - or a financial 
contribution - that you would like to contribute to our effort. Along 
with organizers, media experts, writers and graphic designers, we are 
especially looking for technicians with experience in Joomla to put the 
finishing touches on our new online community news and action center.
Road To Freedom: Our "mobile marketing" bus continues to roll across 
America, spreading the message of disability rights as essential civil 
rights. We have traveled nearly 40,000 miles to every state. More than 
100 bus stop media events have been produced in partnership with state 
and local disability organizations. These events have attracted 
extensive media attention and included Members of Congress, Governors, 
Mayors and other state and local policymakers. We are currently editing 
both a documentary film and book of the first year of this journey and 
disability rights history. Look for the Road To Freedom bus at the 
National Council on Independent Living conference in Washington, DC next 
month, where we will lead a convoy of vehicles to the National Forum on 
Disability Issues with the presidential candidates on July 26, the 18th 
anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To view photos from 
the road, go to: 
National Agenda for Disability Rights: While some might define their 
coalition based on disability, NCDR seeks to build unity around pressing 
issues of common concern. In this spirit, NCDR will be launching a drive 
to promote a National Agenda for Disability Rights - a declaration of 
values and goals to advance equity and opportunity for people with 
disabilities. This document, which is being vetted at the national, 
state and local levels, seeks to build unity and broadly focuses on 
civil rights, housing, government services, transportation, education, 
healthcare, assistive technology and more. We will need your help to get 
national, state and local organizations to sign-on in support of the 
vetted Agenda. At this early stage, it should not be assumed that each 
organization associated with our Board of Directors, National Advisory 
Committee, or State Coalition Steering Committee necessarily supports 
this document. This document has just been posted for comments at: 
Community Organizing: NCDR seeks to place a vetted National Agenda for 
Disability Rights at the center of an intensive community organizing 
project to build coalition within the disability community at the 
national, state and local levels. NCDR has been in the process of 
reaching out to leading community organization educators with the help 
of the Association for Community Organization & Social Administration. 
ACOSA is a membership organization for community organizers, activists, 
nonprofit administrators, community builders, policy practitioners, 
students and educators. Wikipedia explains that,while "organizing 
describes any activity involving people interacting with one another in 
a formal manner, much community organizing is in the pursuit of a common 
agenda. Community organizers create social movements by building a base 
of concerned people, mobilizing these community members to act, and 
developing leadership from and relationships among the people involved."
Issue Areas: NCDR has identified key areas of focus for our educational 
and advocacy efforts. These areas correspond with leadership committees 
to be comprised of leaders in respective areas as well as associated 
online content areas of the new website and Action Center. 
Contact us if you are interested in serving on one of these committees 
and/or writing for a website topic area. These areas are:
1. Civil Rights & Discrimination
2. Poverty & Social Justice
3. Healthcare & Public Policy
4. Community Organizing & Coalition-Building
5. Media & Public Outreach
6. Disability Rights History
New Website and Action Center: NCDR has been putting extensive work into 
rebuilding our online community news and action center that will reside 
Launching prior to the anniversary of the ADA on July 26th, the new 
website will:
· highlight news and coalition activities in our key areas of focus
· provide breaking news and action alerts impacting the disability community
· incorporate online advocacy tools from Democracy In Action
· provide state pages and action tools to build the capacity of state 
cross-disability coalitions
· highlight community leaders, academics and writers by way of opinion 
columns and articles
· promote "town hall" forums to increase community influence on national 
organizations and public policy
NCDR looks forward to working with you build a united disability 
community to create a more equitable and just Nation. As always, let us 
know what you think.
National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR)
601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 900S
Washington, DC 20004