Each year, the staff and many of our amazing volunteers at CCDC keep the office doors open and work on this very important holiday, a day dedicated to this true leader in the civil rights movement. Why? This movement has inspired and driven so much of what the disability rights community has done. The author of this blog has devoted a great amount of time studying Dr. King and the civil rights movement and the lawyers who were involved with that movement in order to build CCDC’s Civil Rights Legal Program. To pay tribute to Dr. King, CCDC always works on Martin Luther King Day. We believe the best way to honor this great civil rights hero is to continue championing the causes of people with disabilities by working on this day.
From The King Center website, these words are written:
Martin Luther King, Jr. used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance, such as protests, grassroots organizing, and civil disobedience to achieve seemingly-impossible goals. He went on to lead similar campaigns against poverty and international conflict, always maintaining fidelity to his principles that men and women everywhere, regardless of color or creed, are equal members of the human family.
CCDC works on this holiday because it makes sense to pay homage to this champion of one of the most effective civil rights movements in the history of this country and the world on the one day that honors his legacy. CCDC chooses to work on this day to continue these same strategies and principles and the principle that all human beings, certainly including people with disabilities, are equal members of the human family. As well as using the strategies outlined above, CCDC also uses strategies like legislative advocacy, our extremely powerful individual advocacy program and legal advocacy to perpetuate its goals and maintain fidelity to these principles.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is famously quoted as saying, “It may be true that the law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless.” Other famous quotations of Dr. King focus on the importance of law and its meaning and significance in the life of all Americans and all human beings. Dr. King also said, “One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws . . . .” In fact, if it wasn’t for the remarkable advocacy of Dr. King and his supporters and colleagues, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (banning discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin) and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (designed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented racial discrimination in voting) would never have existed. It is the belief of this author that in the absence of Dr. King’s advocacy in the passage of these laws, laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act would not exist.
On this Martin Luther King Day, and for the rest of the year until the next Martin Luther King Day, CCDC asks you to consider the importance of and reasons for working assiduously and endlessly to ensure that the laws that protect the civil rights of all human beings are not weakened or taken away from us in any way, particularly those that protect the rights of people with disabilities. We are currently living in a country and a world in which a segment of the population would like nothing better than to see civil rights laws and so many other laws and regulations that protect human beings completely dismantled. Rather than attempt to explain the importance of the law in protecting our civil rights and why we must be certain that the gains we have made through extreme sacrifice and struggle are not taken away from us, I believe the words of Dr. King himself at Western Michigan University on December 18 of 1963 which was, in part, regarding the importance of law and legislation in maintaining our fidelity to the equality of all members of the human family serve this purpose. In the words of Dr. King:
Now the other myth that gets around is the idea that legislation cannot really solve the problem and that it has no great role to play in this period of social change because you’ve got to change the heart and you can’t change the heart through legislation. You can’t legislate morals. The job must be done through education and religion.
Well, there’s half-truth involved here.
Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart.
But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated.
It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless.
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also.
So there is a need for executive orders. There is a need for judicial decrees. There is a need for civil rights legislation on the local scale within states and on the national scale from the federal government.
Be sure to contact us on Martin Luther King Day. We will be working.
Kevin W. Williams, CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program Director
January 19, 2020
 Excerpts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Social Injustice” speech at Western Michigan University regarding the need for civil rights legislation. For more information, go to Western Michigan University, University Libraries, MLK at Western.
CCDC is pleased to announce that in July 2020, there will be changes to two of the Single Entry Point Agencies (SEP). The Single Entry Point System is a collection of more than 20 state-wide SEPs that provide eligibility determinations and case management for particular Home and Community Based Services Waiver programs. Continue reading “Changes coming to two of the Single Entry Point Agencies (SEP)”
By Timothy Postlewaite
Healthcare is crucial to prosperity in America, as it assists in the facilitation, participation, and productivity in a multitude of aspects from the standpoint of those whom the rest of society would categorize as “underdogs,” individuals who require more assistance to find their version of “normalcy.” Medicaid is a prime example of a program that attempts to assist with this, as it assists the impoverished and the disabled by allowing them to have the opportunity to live a healthy and productive life. From an early age, I have experienced the pros and cons of Medicaid. The program allocated funds toward my first electric wheelchair, which allowed me to enter Kindergarten with the ability to participate with a diverse group of kids. Moreover, not only did this experience begin the process of acclimating me to social expectations, but it also assisted me in terms of forming my identity, providing me with a steadfast foundation of freedom and independence, two characteristics that have remained with me to this day. Continue reading “Healthcare and Prosperity in America”
Tennessee has submitted an application to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) asking to convert the bulk of funding for its TennCare Medicaid program to a modified block grant, along with numerous other changes that threaten both TennCare and the Medicaid program nationally. Continue reading “Tennessee Set to Become the First State to Adopt Block Grants (TennCare Waiver Amendment 42)”
The mission of the task force is to evaluate and set the roadmap to improve the current behavioral health system in the state. This includes developing Colorado’s “Behavioral Health Blueprint” by June 2020, with the anticipated implementation of recommendations starting in July 2020. Continue reading “Colorado Behavioral Health Task Force”
The Hospital Transformation Program (HTP) aims to improve outcomes and reduce costs by attaching quality and value metrics to the Hospital Provider Fee. For information about the program, its committees, upcoming processes, and sign up for alerts and information, follow this link: Colorado Hospital Transformation Program.
The public comment period closed on December 15, 2019. However, if you would like to read the published summary requesting comments, you can access the Notice of Public Comment Process: Transformation Program: Delivery System Incentive Payment Demonstration pdf for more information.
Some words of appreciation to the New York Times Magazine for recognizing the life of Carrie Ann Lucas are warranted. So thanks from so many of us to The New York Times that had the ken and cognizance to place Carrie Lucas in The New York Times Magazine, “The Lives They Lived, remembering some of the artists, innovators and thinkers we lost in the past year”: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/12/23/magazine/carrie-ann-lucas-death.html. 
Listen to Colorado Public Radio (“CPR”) this afternoon, 12/30/19, at 4:50 PM to hear an interview by CPR’s Andrew Kenney with CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program Director (“LPD”), Kevin Williams, discuss service animals and the addition of miniature horses to the definition. You can find CPR on your FM dial at 90.1 (wait we do it some other way now, don’t we — sorry your Legal Program Director has been around for a while). In any event, the brief interview will air again today at that time. CCDC’s LPD also apologizes for having lost his voice on the very day the interview occurred. His very strange sounding voice is not the fault of the great people at CPR, we assure you. Continue reading “A horse is a sevice animal, of course, of course…”
The New Year brings with it reflections on the past year, hopes for the year to come, resolutions to do better at something or perhaps a resolution to stop making empty promises to oneself. Why do we celebrate the New Year? Have we not had enough time off from work, enough to eat and drink, and enough time with family by now? The reason we celebrate is the passage of time is something to celebrate –as a culture that is a blend of many different cultures, we celebrate survival. Continue reading “The New Year Brings with it Reflections on the Past Year by Julie Reiskin”
By: Stacy Warden/Author of Noah’s Miracle
The legal process isn’t easy for an already struggling family who is overwhelmed with the care of a child or family member. It’s intimidating from the start. When a family is issued a denial they are provided with a notice of the denial and advised of their rights. However, there’s a tiny little clause that says should you lose your appeal that you very well may have to pay the State back in services and legal fees. Which, for most families is an automatic discouragement from pursuing their appellate rights before an Administrative Law Judge. Continue reading “Medicaid’s Appellate Process Gone Wrong”