I must’ve forgot to read the paper or watch the news that day. What day, you ask? The day the universe decided that if an adult has a disability he or she reverts to age three and, on top of that, morphs into a liar and because of this, forfeits their rights be treated with respect. Not surprisingly, the loss of respect translates into another loss, our rights, including our right to live in the most integrated setting.
One again, people are fighting against segregation and the dehumanization of people – like me – who live with a disability.
Right now, for instance, people with disabilities are under assault in Monroe County New York because a county executive named Maggie Brooks issued a rather sleazy and disingenuous directive that ends a contract with the prestigious non-profit Center for Disability Rights and, as a result, creates carnage in the lives of people with disabilities and, coincidentally (not!), looks to add money to the coffers of for-profit companies.
On the individual and community fronts, people with disabilities are almost habitually treated as if they are dishonest little children who barely have the right to call themselves human beings.
The assault on our right to respect and equality is both global and individual. As the several thousand regular readers of this blog know, I have to move to a new home. There is a subsidy in place that helps me with rent. It will transfer to my new home (once it is found) but, were there to be a gap between my leaving this home and finding a new one, I would not be able to retain the subsidy. Recently my current landlord called me to tell me someone from the New York State Department of Health had called them to ask when I was moving.
First, the person from the DOH does not have a signed release from me and may well have violated the HIPPA law by talking to my landlord in the first place. Second, I am being treated as if I am a liar. Not good. This incident with me is simply a small appendage of the kind of abuse people with disabilities in this country endure day in and day out.
We are all responsible for supporting each others equal rights. I would urge you to visit the CDR site and do all you can to support them. By supporting their rights, you support your own.
Oh, it should not surprise you to learn I’ve filed a complaint in response to the call made to my landlord. However, it would be both wrong and highly inaccurate to condemn the NY DOH as a whole for the actions of one person. There are some remarkably wonderful and dedicated people in the DOH.