July 2012 marks the 22nd Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by President George H. W. Bush. In recognition of the ground-breaking federal policy milestone, Sunrise is launching our “Crib Notes” Project. Like the crib notes used by most of us during our school days, these are a concise set of notes used for quick reference – written on the margins of small pieces of paper (much like the “margins of citizenship” where many people with disabilities have lived for far too long.) Like a student’s sheet, our crib notes contain answers to important “high-stakes” questions. In this case, the high-stake questions on access to care, funding, services and supports for people with disabilities.
The intent is to share the collection of Crib Notes with our legislators and local leaders helping provide key insights into the impact that policy changes – the good, the bad and the ugly — have on the lives of people with disabilities. As such, we firmly believe this project is aligned with the “original intent” of the ADA as co-conceived by Lex Frieden and Mitchell J. Rappaport.
As you may recall, Frieden and Rappaport wanted to create civil rights law protections for people with disabilities that would be permanent, non-reversible and would prohibit all discrimination. It was also intended that Americans with disabilities would be kept in the mainstream including but not limited to public policy changes, healthcare law and policy changes, and civil rights protections and public law changes for Americans with physical, mental and cognitive disabilities. ADA was intended to be a flexible set of laws that could only be strengthened, not weakened, by future case law.
More than two decades later, it is apparent that more advocacy is needed to accomplish the original intent of ADA. We hope you will join us in this effort by adding your personal “Crib Note.” Contributors are asked to use ONLY SIX WORDS to describe what disability services means to them. (for example, how did it change one’s life, what does it allow a person the freedom to do, how do services impact family members and the general public?, etc…. how far do the “ripples of community inclusion” travel?) The idea is to get the conversation started and to better understand the intangible value of an inclusive life.
Please keep in mind that while these are “crib notes”, there is NO one “right” answer. We expect comments to be as diverse as the people who contribute them. We ask that everyone be respectful of divergent opinions.
R – E – S – P – E – C – T! It’s the new “R-Word” = )