July 10 – Washington, DC
Press release for DIA Organizational letter
DIA Support letter with 852 Organizations sent to the Hill today – supporting bill and its movement in the 116th Congress
Today ADAPT and National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) in solidarity with 852 civil and human rights, faith based, justice reform, housing advocacy national, state and local organizations sent a letter of support to the House of Representatives leadership. The letter is in support of the Disability Integration Act of 2019 (DIA) (H.R. 555) supporting this historic civil rights bill and its movement in this congress.
In the 116th congress the bipartisan, bicameral DIA civil rights bill was introduced on January 15, 2019, which was the 90th Anniversary of the birthdate of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ADAPT and NCIL celebrated this milestone with a program created and implemented by Black disabled women in the movement. The focus of the event was to honor the memory of King and his fight for civil rights in this country. The event led by Anita Cameron a Black queer disabled woman and longtime ADAPT activist evoked the history of not only the Black civil rights movement but the history of ADAPT and its founders who went to Selma and learned from King and other civil rights leaders.
The DIA (H.R. 555) was introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner in the House with 42 Cosponsors and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) S. 117 with 24 Cosponsors. From the introduction ceremony: “I am proud to re-introduce this bill, because all Americans should share in the American Dream, and that begins in the community in someone’s own home,” said Representative Sensenbrenner.
In the first five months of this year ADAPT and NCIL members worked long and hard to garner 230 bipartisan Cosponsors on H.R. 555, which include the majority of members in all of the committees of jurisdiction for the legislation. DIA is supposed to be worked in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. But ADAPT and NCIL have been told by Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) that this bill will not move in the near future, although the rules presented by Speaker Pelosi clearly state that bills must have at least 218 (approximately half of the 116th Congress) on them before any action takes place. (See ADAPT press release June 19, 2019 – Pallone Obstructing DIA’s Movement: https://adapt.org/pallone-obstructing-dias-movement/ )
On July 26, 2019 we celebrate the 29th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). This is the civil rights law for people with disabilities and the premise of this law is the guarantee of community integration for this community. Last month we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Supreme Court Case titled Olmstead v Lois Curtis. This is the case that recognized the fundamental equality of those with disabilities. It stated that people with disabilities have the right to live in the most integrated setting possible for their needs. This means that they cannot be forced to live in institutions.
The DIA is the next civil rights legislation in this imperative work to ensure that all people with disabilities do in fact get to live in the community. It strengthens Olmstead’s integration mandate and creates a federal civil rights law, which addresses the civil rights issue that people with disabilities who are stuck in institutions cannot benefit from many of the rights established under the ADA.
This important civil rights bill picks up where Olmstead left off. It enshrines in Federal statute the right to live in the community, which Olmstead recognized. It gives people with disabilities and seniors the right to demand that states and insurers remove the obstacles, which stand in the way of their integration. It takes what disability advocates have learned in working for integration in the past eighteen years and gives disability advocates another and a more powerful tool to effect that integration.” This quote is from Steve Gold one of the SCOTUS Olmstead v. Lois Curtis litigators. (written in 2017)
This legislation will protect all the freedom of disabled and elderly Americans and is written with purposeful Intersectionality, the critical race theory that encompasses the fact that people with disabilities are all parts of life. The disabled like many are usually multi-marginalized because they are of all races, religions, non-religious, LGBTQIA, refugees, immigrants, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated. It is in this solidarity that 852 Civil and Human Rights, Faith Based, Justice Reform, housing, national, state and local organizations support of DIA and the movement of the bill in the 116th congress.
The many organizations supporting this bill understand that the communities they advocate for every day include people with disabilities or have family or friends with disabilities and DIA will ensure that they are part of our community in this country as the ADA and Olmstead case intended.
We call on Congress, specifically the House of Representatives to pass this imperative civil rights legislation today!
To find out more on the bill go to: http://www.disabilityintegrationact.org/
To read the full letter go here: DIA Organizations Support Letter July 2019
To see the full list of 851 Organizations supporting DIA go to: http://www.disabilityintegrationact.org/dia-supporter-list/
If your organization would like to join the list of supporters for this bill please go to: http://www.disabilityintegrationact.org/support-the-disability-integration-act/
For more information on this bill or to join in the work please contact Dara Baldwin, Director of National Policy for Center for Disability Rights, Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202 -919-5725