International Disability Rights News Service
Your quick, once-a-day look at disability rights, self-determination
and the movement toward full community inclusion around the world.

Friday, May 14, 2004
Year V, Edition 934

Today's front section features 8 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Click on the"Below the Fold" link at the bottom of this section for 30 more news items.

"What I'm doing touches every button -- I'm naked, disabled and pregnant. Those three issues touch an awful lot of sensitive areas -- sexuality, normality, you name it. It's all there."

--London artist Alison Lapper, talking about a statue of her that will be displayed in Trafalgar Square next year (Fifth story)

"It is ironic that the centennial celebration at the [North Dakota] Developmental Center is being held at the same time that we are celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education. "
--North Dakota community advocates Jim Berglie and Dianne Sheppard, commenting on the segregation that still exists for people with developmental disabilities (First story)



Segregation Still Common, Despite 1954 Brown Decision

May 14, 2004

UNITED STATES--On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, that schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution when they segregated students based on race.

This weekend, as the 50th anniversary of this landmark decision is celebrated, many in the disability rights movement are aware that segregation based on disability is still with us.

In an informational bulletin distributed Friday, disability rights attorney Steve Gold cited the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education regarding public education for students with disabilities. The Department found that 22 percent of all children with disabilities are in segregated settings, meaning that they either attend entirely separate schools and facilities, or spend more than 60 percent of their time in separate classrooms from children that do not have disabilities. Of students classified as having "mental retardation", the number rises to 53.7 percent in segregated settings.

Community advocates in North Dakota found it ironic that the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education is being recognized at the same time as their state is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the State Developmental Center in Grafton.

Jim Berglie and Dianne Sheppard, who represent The Arc in North Dakota, wrote in an opinion piece for Friday's Grand Forks Herald that the Supreme Court understood segregation in itself was harmful.

"It was because of this harm that segregation on the basis of race was found unconstitutional in Brown," they wrote. "Segregating people on the basis of a disability is just as harmful."

"We believe that people with disabilities should not be compelled to trade their human and civil rights for services; that people with disabilities should not be required to abandon friends and family to receive services; and that the harm to black children caused by segregation and recognized in Brown has been equally harmful to people with disabilities."

According to a Department of Human Services website, the former North Dakota Institution for the Feeble-Minded still houses between 140 and 160 people with developmental disabilities.

"Brown v. Board of Education - Information Bulletin" (Steve Gold)
"Viewpoint: Stop segregating people with disabilities in Grafton" (Grand Forks Herald)



Appeals Court Wants Schiavo Case On Fast Track To Supreme Court;
Police Find No Criminal Intent Behind Puncture Marks

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 14, 2004

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA--There were two major developments in the case of Terri Schiavo, during the week that followed a local court's decision to toss out the law which has kept her alive since October.

On Wednesday, the 2nd District Court of Appeal indicated that it wants the state's challenge to a May 6 Pinellas Circuit Court decision moved quickly to the state Supreme Court. It gave Governor Jeb Bush and Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, 10 days to explain why the ruling that overturned "Terri's Law" should not bypass the appeals court and be sent directly to the high court as "a matter of great importance requiring immediate resolution."

On Friday, Clearwater police said that puncture marks discovered on Terri's arm on March 29 were not caused deliberately and that a device found in her bed was actually a connector for medical feeding and irrigation tubes.

Michael Schiavo restricted visits to his wife when he suspected that Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, used a hypodermic needle to inject something into her.

Police Chief Sid Klein said their investigation found no evidence of harm, injury or violation from a criminal act. Toxicology tests found nothing unusual in Terri's blood. Klein said it was likely that the marks came from a lift used to transport Terri at the nursing home.

Disability rights advocates have been watching the legal battle over Terri's life for several years. Terri, 40, breathes on her own, but is given food and water through a tube installed through the wall of her stomach.

Her husband and several doctors claim that she has been in a "persistent vegetative state" since she collapsed and her brain was without oxygen for several minutes in February 1990. The courts have consistently supported Mr. Schiavo's claims that Terri cannot recover from her brain injury, that she does not feel pain, and that she would not have wanted to live "by artificial means".

Terri's parents believe that she is alert and responsive and that she could improve through therapies which Mr. Schiavo has denied her for at least the past 10 years. They have claimed that Terri's husband wants her to die so that he can marry a woman with whom he has fathered two children. The Schindlers want him removed as Terri's guardian and have pushed for an investigation into their allegations that he has abused, neglected and financially exploited her. They also suspect that Michael may have caused Terri's initial collapse.

The Schindlers and advocates have defended Terri's right to live, noting that allowing her to die by starvation would reinforce the message that the lives of people with certain disabilities are not worth living. Under pressure from disability rights and right-to-life advocates, Governor Bush championed "Terri's Law" rapidly through the Legislature, giving him permission to order Terri's feeding tube reinserted six days after it had been removed on October 16, 2003.

Mr. Schiavo immediately challenged the law, claiming it violated Terri's right to privacy and the Florida Constitution's separation of powers provisions. Last week, Pinellas Circuit Court Judge W. Douglas Baird sided with Mr. Schiavo.

"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation



Some Disability Groups See Ally In Alioto-Pier

May 14, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA--Friday's Los Angeles Times ran a story about Michela Alioto-Pier, who is the first district supervisor in city history to use a wheelchair.

Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Michela Alioto-Pier to replace him as District 2 supervisor in January. Alioto-Pier uses a wheelchair because she is paralyzed below her waist.

Alioto-Pier makes it clear that, while she is perhaps more sensitive to disability issues than her predecessors, she represents a district in which most residents do not have disabilities.

In spite of this, some disability rights groups in the area feel they now have an ally at City Hall.

According to the L.A. Times, Alioto-Pier was the disabilities constituency coordinator for the Clinton-Gore campaign, a participant in a United States-Japan summit on disability and was appointed by President Reagan to the National Council on Disabilities advisory board.

"It would be nice if the concerns of the disabled community weren't separate but part of everything," she said.

Five months after her appointment to the board, Alioto-Pier does not yet have access to the president's dais in the Board of Supervisors chamber, which can only be reached by climbing a set of five stairs.

New Post for Heir to S.F. Dynasty (Los Angeles Times -- free registration required),1,5066986.story



Justice Department Joins Trujillos In Suit Against Condo Complex

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 14, 2004

GLENVIEW, ILLINOIS--The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that it has joined a federal anti-discrimination suit against a condominium complex for forcing a boy who uses a wheelchair to enter through a rear service entrance.

The family of 9-year-old Jaime Trujillo filed the suit in U.S. District Court against the president and board of directors of the Triumvera Tower Condominium Association on March 15. Claudio and Luz Trujillo accused the association of violating their son's rights under 1998 amendments to the federal Fair Housing Act.

According to Access Living, which represents the Trujillos, the family was told before they moved into the condominium last September that condo policy does not allow furniture, strollers or wheelchairs to enter through the front entrance because they might damage the doors. The Trujillos said that they did not openly protest the rule at first for fear of being denied a home.

The family said they tried to follow the policy, which directed them to use a rear entrance, until they found the route was barely wide enough for Jaime's wheelchair.

The Trujillos decided to use the front entrance, with the hopes that board members and other residents would see that Jaime's wheelchair does not cause damage to doors. This was met, however, with a letter from the association directing them again to use the rear entrance. On another occasion, the board president allegedly ordered a building maintenance worker to physically block the front door to keep Jaime and his nurse from entering, then threatened to fine the Trujillos $50 each time the boy came through the front entrance.

"My son is not a piece of furniture. He is a human," Claudio Trujillo told the Chicago Tribune in March. "He is entitled to every right."

The suit seeks a change in the policy, along with unspecified monetary damages for the Trujillos and anyone else who was harmed by it.

According to a DOJ statement, the condo association has agreed to suspend the policy while the lawsuit is pending in District Court.

"The law demands fair treatment in housing for individuals with disabilities," R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, said in the statement. "Forcing residents who use wheelchairs to enter their home through the back door is demeaning and far less than they deserve."



"Lapper Opens London Show"

May 14, 2004

LONDON, ENGLAND--The following five paragraphs are excerpts from a story by BBC News Online disability affairs reporter Geoff Adams-Spink

Disabled artist, Alison Lapper - whose naked, pregnant form will occupy the vacant plinth in London's Trafalgar Square - has just opened an exhibition of her own work in the capital.

She is showing a series of self-portrait photographs in which she explores questions of normality and beauty in a society which, she says, considers her deformed.

Lapper was born almost without arms and very short legs - disabilities similar to those caused by Thalidomide.

"I was told I used to paint beautiful bodies because I felt bad about my own - I was outraged by this and needed to examine it in more detail."

"What I'm doing touches every button - I'm naked, disabled and pregnant. Those three issues touch an awful lot of sensitive areas - sexuality, normality, you name it. It's all there."

Entire article:
"Lapper opens London show" (BBC News)
The Fourth Plinth -- Alison Lapper pregnant
Alison Lapper @ (Virtual Gallery)



A Chronology of the Disability Rights Movements (1817-1996)


# EXPRESS EXTRA!!! From the Inclusion Daily Express Archives (Three years ago)


Workers With Disabilities Break Down Barriers to Inclusion

May 15, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA--Sonia Jackson knows why the Hayward Safeway store recently promoted her.

"I'm a people person," she explained with a smile.

Jackson, 31, is one of thousands of people with developmental disabilities in the San Francisco Bay area who are successfully working in the business community, many receiving full benefits.

"In employment policy, we are embracing inclusion, and the strengths of the workers are key," says Michael Bernick, director of the California Employment Development Department.

"Do not think of this as charity. These workers have strengths."

"Breaking down barriers; Developmentally disabled are quietly joining working world" (San Francisco Chronicle)


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