By Ed Sandoval
On September 8 the disability community lost an important leader. Marca Bristo was the founder of Access Living, a Center for Independent Living in Chicago. Before she died of cancer, Bristo had a call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who asked if there was anything she could do. Bristo told her to push for the Disability Integration Act and get it to a floor vote.
The House has a majority of co-sponsors for the DIA, but Democratic Leadership, including Pelosi and Frank Pallone, the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is blocking it. Pelosi has a chance to change that. If she honors Bristo’s deathbed wish, she can give us disabled people constitutional freedoms that we are currently denied.
Every person who is unable to live independently at home without assistance, has a federally mandated right to a bed in a nursing home. But in many states disabled people don’t have the right to have the same services at home, which costs considerably less. The DIA would give us a choice.
We don’t think that we should be locked up in nursing homes because we are too disabled. The Constitution does not exclude us. We need this bill passed into law to give us the right to live in our own homes.
Information on the Disability Integration Act: www.disabilityintegrationact.org
Contact Speaker Pelosi by email here. https://pelosi.house.gov/contact-me/email-me, or her Washington office (202) 225-4965, or her San Francisco office (415) 556-4862.