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Category: Press Releases

Guía de Votación 2020 –CCDC

INTRODUCCIÓN

 

Las personas con discapacidad (PWD por sus siglas en Inglés) somos votantes importantes. Nuestros votos ayudan a decidir asuntos vitales como la “Ley de los Americanos con Discapacidades” (Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA), atención médica, incluyendo Medicaid, para mencionar algunas cosas.  En las elecciones del 2020 las PWD tendremos que elegir entre candidatos para Presidente y decidir sobre temas como por ejemplo asegurar que Colorado tenga suficientes fondos para programas de servicio comunitario.  Las personas con discapacidades deberíamos tratar de responder todas las preguntas en la boleta.  Esperamos que la presente guía ayude a las personas con discapacidades, a planear cómo van a votar y a devolver sus boletas.  Si tiene más preguntas acerca de las votaciones visite la página “Just Vote Colorado, Preguntas Frecuentes” ó llame al 1-866-687-8683.  Just Vote Colorado (Simplemente Vote Colorado) no es partidista, y ofrece información completa para los votantes de Colorado. En Español: 1-888-839-8682.

Esta guía está escrita en lenguaje simple, pero para quienes quieran información más detallada, contiene enlaces que les permiten encontrarla.  La guía cubre:

  • Derecho al voto y responsabilidad de las personas con discapacidad
  • Cómo ayudar a las personas con discapacidad que desean ó necesitan ayuda
  • Los candidato (quiénes están compitiendo, no apoyamos ni nos oponemos)
  • Propuestas de la boleta

Las Personas con Discapacidades Deberían Votar

Las personas con discapacidades deseamos ser incluidas.  Parte de esta inclusión es hacer que nuestras voces sean escuchadas por medio del voto.

Votar es un derecho importante para todo americano mayor de 18 años, especialmente para las personas con discapacidades, sus familias, amigos y aquellos que ganan dinero en la industria de la discapacidad.  Cuando suficientes personas con un interés común, como la discapacidad, votan, a esto se le llama un bloque de votos. Personas con discapacidades, sus familias, amigos y aquellos que sirven a las personas con discapacidades, podrían reunirse para formar un bloque de votos.

Cuando la esta comunidad vota como un bloque:

– Le dice a los políticos que nuestros asuntos como la Ley de los Americanos con Discapacidades (ADA) son importantes.

– Le dice a nuestras comunidades que no somos invisibles y que necesitamos fondos para nuestros servicios, para vivir independientemente, trabajar y obtener educación.

– Le dice al Presidente, al Senado que nombra jueces a la Corte Suprema y a las cortes federales que las personas con discapacidades necesitamos justicia.

– Las propuestas de la boleta electoral le dicen a nuestro estado, condados y pueblos que nosotros somos ciudadanos importantes que merecemos que nuestras voces sean escuchadas.

 

Derecho al Voto de las Personas con Discapacidades

En Colorado las personas con discapacidades se pueden registrar para votar:

  • En línea antes del 26 de octubre en la página del Secretario de Estado (si quiere votar por correo) visite el sitio web del Secretario de Estado.
  • Descargando é imprimiendo la solicitud de registro de votante llenándola y devolviéndola por correo, fax ó correo electrónico antes del 26 de octubre.
  • Visitando un centro de votación entre el 26 de octubre y el día de las elecciones, 3 de noviembre.

En Colorado las personas con discapacidad pueden votar:

  • En su casa ó en la comunidad llenando la boleta que reciben por correo y devolviendo la boleta llena por correo, usando dos estampillas, ó depositarla en un centro de recolección de votos.
  • En un centro de votación, usando las máquinas de votar.
  • Usando la boleta electrónica. Esta es una opción nueva para las personas que tienen problemas con materiales impresos, incluyendo, pero no limitada a las personas no videntes. Estas personas con discapacidades pueden enviar una solicitud para llenar una boleta electrónica, votar en línea, imprimir la boleta y enviarla por correo usando 2 estampillas, ó llevarla a un centro de recolección de votos. El sitio web “https://myballot.sos.colorado.gov/app/home” le guiará atravez el proceso de llenar su boleta, si tiene problemas con este proceso, el Colorado Center for the Blind, CCDC ó Disability Law Colorado, le pueden ayudar.

Cuando las personas con discapacidad van a votar:

  • Tienen derecho a privacidad
  • Tienen derecho a un centro de votaciones accesible. Pueden pedir ayuda (de un juez de elecciones ó de alguien ellos elijan en las organizaciones para gente con discapacidad en todo el estado, como Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition.

Las elecciones en Colorado son ACCESIBLES, CONFIABLES Y SEGURAS, sin embargo, si tiene problemas para votar, si alguien trata de presionarlo acerca de cómo votar ó usted observa que otra persona con discapacidad está siendo presionada acerca del voto, llame a “Disability Law Colorado”  al 303-722-0300, ó gratuitamente al 1-800-238-1376, Disability Law Colorado puede ayudar, porque tiene personal especializado en derechos de voto para personas discapacitadas.  Si su discapacidad es auditiva, puede hacer una video llamada al 711.

Nuestro Secretario de Estado tiene también esta información sobre los derechos de voto para personas con discapacidad.

 

Ayudando a Votar a Personas con Discapacidades.

Esta guía podría ser útil y estén leyéndola a quienes ayuden a emitir su voto a personas con discapacidades ya sean familiares, personal de servicio ó un juez de elecciones.  Hay muchas maneras aceptables de ayudar a una persona con discapacidades a emitir su voto:

  • Pregúntele a la persona con discapacidades, en qué necesita ayuda, si leyendo la boleta en voz alta, ayudándole a llenar la boleta, etc.
  • Pregúntele a la persona con discapacidades, si prefiere que le ayude un juez de elecciones ó un defensor profesional en vez de un asistente personal. Explíquele que está bien de la forma que prefiera.
  • Anime a las personas con discapacidades a que, si va a usar su boleta que vino por correo, a hacerlo pronto.
  • Ayude a la persona a enviar ó depositar su boleta con suficiente tiempo.
  • Ayude a la persona a asegurarse que su voto fue recibido, configurar y usar el Sistema de Rastreo de Boletas de Colorado (Colorado’s Ballot Tracing System)
  • Ayudar a las personas con discapacidades a que se registren si es su primera vez votando.
  • Ayudar a la persona a llamar al Disability Law Colorado, si tiene alguna pregunta.
  • Explique en términos neutrales, lo que algunas iniciativas significan, ó los historiales de votos de los candidatos, si la persona tiene preguntas, sea lo más honesto posible.

Nunca:

  • Diga a la persona con discapacidad cómo debe votar
  • Permitirle a alguien que depende de su apoyo, pensar que su apoyo disminuirá si esta no vota igual que usted.
  • Ser impaciente con la persona con discapacidad si se demora mucho en responder a las preguntas ó si tiene muchas preguntas sobre la boleta. Si es necesario, puede ayudarla en 2 sesiones separadas.

 

 

Votos y Boletas

Si una persona con discapacidad se registró para votar antes del 26 de octubre, la oficina del condado le enviará la boleta por correo a su casa.  Si la persona se registró después del 26  de octubre, será muy tarde para recibir la boleta por correo y tendrá que votar en un centro de votación en su condado.

Todas las personas recibirán las boletas por correo del 10 al 15 de octubre, pues son enviadas el 9 de octubre.

Las personas con discapacidades no tienen que llenar toda la boleta para firmarla y devolverla,  Puede devolver la boleta de 2 formas:

  • Depositarla en un centro de recolección de votos ó centros de votación localizados por todo Colorado. Estas se pueden encontrar contactando a la oficina de su condado (haz click aquí, este sitio web esta disponible solo en Ingles).  Si una persona con discapacidades necesita que recojan su boleta, puede contactar a CCDC ó un partido político, normalmente los Demócratas y los Republicanos, tienen personal que recoge las boletas cuando es necesario.
  • Enviarla por correo antes ó el mismo 26 de octubre, usando 2 estampillas en el sobre. Las boletas deben recibirse el 3 de noviembre del 2020 (las boletas post fechadas pero que no se reciban antes ó el 3 de noviembre, no cuentan)

Las personas con discapacidades deben saber que no pueden contagiarse de COVID-19 por tocar la caja de depositar la boleta (Aunque la precaución de lavarse las manos siempre que se vuelve a la casa es necesaria).  También es seguro ir a un centro de votación usando mascarilla y manteniendo 6 pies de distancia de los demás.

 

CANDIDATOS

Presidente: Los Estados Unidos estará eligiendo presidente este año 2020.  Todos los votantes deberán elegir un candidato presidencial.  El presidente es muy importante para las personas con discapacidades porque:

  • Ayuda a dirigir las políticas del país, lo que incluye mantener protegidos los derechos de las personas con discapacidades y asegurarse que hay fondos para Medicaid.
  • Contrata personas que dirigirán agencias del gobierno que ayudan a las personas con discapacidades a vivir en la comunidad
  • Nombra jueces en la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos y otras cortes que ayudan a interpretar y aplicar las leyes que protegen a las personas con discapacidades.
  • Firma ó veta leyes que pasa el congreso, para ayudar a que las personas con discapacidades obtengan los beneficios que necesitan.
  • Es responsable de coordinar las acciones que se tomen a nivel federal contra el COVID-19.

El candidato Demócrata es Joe Biden

El candidato Republicano es Donald Trump

Hay otros candidatos de otros partidos, pero no tienen posibilidad de ganar, puede ver a estos candidatos en sus páginas de internet cuando reciba su boleta.

Senado: Colorado va a elegir un Senador para Estados Unidos este año.  Los electores tendrán que elegir a un Senador.

Los senadores son importantes para las personas con discapacidades, porque crean y aprueban leyes importantes para nosotros como leyes acerca de los derechos para las personas con discapacidades, y de fondos para Medicaid.

El candidato Republicano es Cory Gardner

El candidato Demócrata es John Hickenlooper

Hay otros candidatos de otros partidos, pero no tienen posibilidades de ganar, Puede ver estos candidatos en sus páginas de internet, cuando reciba su boleta.

Casa de Representantes: Elegimos representantes a la Casa de Representantes de Los Estados Unidos cada dos años. Los representantes son importantes para las personas con discapacidades porque ellos pueden crear leyes y votar a favor de temas como asegurar que las personas con discapacidades puedan vivir en la comunidad. Su boleta incluye un candidato a la Casa de Representantes.  Su representante depende del lugar donde usted vive.  Puede averiguar cuál es el distrito de congreso en que usted vive, visitando el sitio web de la Casa de Representantes (U.S. House House of Representatives), allí escribe su dirección. Aquí encontrará una lista de representantes y la página de cada uno.

Legisladores del Estado: Colorado elegirá legisladores de estado este año.  Los legisladores del estado son importantes para las personas con discapacidades porque ayudan a decidir las leyes de Colorado y a financiar los servicios que son importantes para nosotros.  Todos tendremos la oportunidad de votar por un representante del estado. Las personas con discapacidades también podrían tener que elegir un legislador dependiendo del lugar donde viven.  Puede encontrar en qué distrito de la casa de representantes y del senado usted vive, en el sitio web oficial de la Asamblea de Colorado “Encontrar a mi Legislador,” (Colorado General Assembly’s, find my legislator) allí escribe su dirección.

Jueces: En Colorado se puede votar para mantener a los jueces ó cambiarlos, los jueces no hacen campañas como otros candidatos.  Si quiere saber cómo ha sido calificado un juez, puede revisar el “Folleto de Información de boleta estatal 2020”. (Este sitio web solo está disponible en Inglés.)

Propuestas en la Boleta.

Las propuestas que aparecen en la boleta de Colorado, son una manera de que la gente de Colorado pueda cambiar leyes, ó elaborar nuevas.  Puede encontrar más información sobre estas propuestas, en el “Folleto de Información de boleta estatal 2020” (Este documento solo está disponible en Inglés). CCDC toma posición en las propuestas que afectan directamente a la comunidad de personas con discapacidades.

CCDC apoya las siguientes propuestas.  Si usted está de acuerdo, entonces vote sí en las siguientes propuestas que aparecen en la boleta:

Enmienda B: Derogar la Enmienda Gallager.   Sí. Al votar “sí” en esta propuesta podrían subir los impuestos a la propiedad, pero Colorado necesita este dinero para mantener los servicios a la comunidad y otros programas importantes para las personas con discapacidades.  Si esta propuesta no gana, podríamos ver recortes en los servicios.

Propuesta 118: permiso de ausencia laboral por asuntos familiares y/o médicos. .  Por esta propuesta se creará un programa dirigido por el estado de Colorado, que proporcionará hasta 12 semanas de permiso pagado a personas de una familia que deban cuidar a otro miembro de la familia que esté enfermo o haya tenido un bebé.  Este dinero será pagado por los empleadores.  Este asunto concierne a las PWD, porque permitirá a las personas con problemas relacionados con la discapacidad, tomar tiempo libre del trabajo para ayudar en el problema.

CCDC se opone a las siguientes propuestas, si usted está de acuerdo, entonces vote NO en las siguientes propuestas:

Iniciativa 76: “Calificación de Ciudadanía para los Electores” (Qualification of Citizenship for Electors, este sitio web solo está disponible en Inglés).  NO.  Aunque no es un asunto específico concerniente a la comunidad de personas con discapacidades, CCDC se opone a toda medida que impida votar a la gente.  Esto provocaría que las personas de 17 años, que cumplan 18 antes de las elecciones, no puedan votar en las elecciones primarias. El estado ya cuenta con un sistema seguro que garantiza que únicamente las personas que cumplan los requisitos legales puedan votar.

Propuesta 116: “Reducción de la Tasa del Impuesto Estatal Sobre la Renta” (State Income Tax Reduction, este sitio web solo está disponible en Inglés). NO. CCDC se opone a esta propuesta porque podría reducir los fondos de impuestos que se usan para apoyar programas para las personas con discapacidades en Colorado.  Para información más detallada (solo disponible en Inglés), visite “Fair Tax Colorado” (Impuestos Justos para Colorado).

Propuesta 117: “Requisito de Aprobación por los Electores para Ciertos Tipos de Empresas Estatales” (Voter Approval for Fee-Based Enterprise, este sitio web solo está disponible en Inglés). NO.  Nos oponemos a esta medida porque podría reducir los fondos de impuestos que se usan para apoyar programas para las personas con discapacidades en Colorado.  Para información más detallada haga click aqui

 

Ninguna Posición,

CCDD no se opone ni apoya algunos asuntos en la boleta, les brindamos la siguiente información para ayudar a entender los temas en los que debemos votar:

Propuesta 115: “Prohibición del Aborto Después de las 22 Semanas” (Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks, este sitio web solo está disponible en Inglés)

CCDC no apoya ni se opone a la propuesta 115 porque la comunidad de personas con discapacidades tiene opiniones muy diversas sobre este asunto.  Esta propuesta limitaría el derecho a realizar un aborto después de 22 semanas de embarazo.

Si usted vota “SÍ” a esta propuesta, no se le permitiría a las mujeres hacerse un aborto después de 22 semanas de embarazo.

Se usted vota “NO”, nada cambiaría en este tema.

Propuesta EE: “Impuesto a los Productos Derivados de la Nicotina” (Tax on Nicotine Products, este sitio web solo está disponible en Inglés)

CCDC no apoya ni se opone a la propuesta EE: Ésta incrementa los impuestos sobre el tabaco y crea un nuevo impuesto sobre la nicotina (cigarrillos electrónicos y vaporizadores). El dinero de estos impuestos sería usado para programas preescolares y algunas iniciativas en el campo de la salud, incluyendo educación anti-vaporizadores.

Si usted vota “SÍ” a esta propuesta, los productos de tabaco, como los cigarrillos y vaporizadores, costarán más por el impuesto adicional.  Los fondos serían utilizados para apoyar a personas que deseen dejar de fumar cigarros de tabaco ú otros productos derivados y para proveer educación en las escuelas para enseñarles a los niños por qué no deben fumar ni utilizar otros productos derivados del tabaco.

Si usted vota “NO” a esta propuesta, nada cambiará en el precio del tabaco y otros productos similares.

Si desea información más detallada, haga click aquí.

Hay otras iniciativas de ley en la boleta, que no se relacionan con la discapacidad, éstas son:

  1. La propuesta 114: Reintroduciría a los lobos grises de regreso al medio ambiente
  2. La enmienda 77: Permitiría a los votantes en Central City, Black Hawk y Cripple Creek, expandir los límites de juego y de apuestas.
  3. La propuesta 113: Incluiría a Colorado en el Acuerdo Nacional Interestatal por el Voto Popular, asignando a Colorado el ganador del voto popular a nivel nacional.
  4. La enmienda C: Requiere que las organizaciones de caridad, si desean realizar juegos de azar, hayan existido por tres años antes de obtener una licencia de juego (actualmente deben existir por 5 años). Para ese fin, deberán contratar personal y pagarles salario mínimo.

Hay otras iniciativas en la boleta que no son temas relacionados con asuntos de discapacidad.

También hay otras preguntas importantes, sin embargo como nosotros somos una organización que opera a nivel estatal, no identificamos esas preguntas en esta guía, pero en algunas de ellas tenemos una postura, por favor contacte a nuestro Defensor Profesional bilingüe José Torres Vega, si tiene dudas en asuntos locales.

En Resumen:

Las personas con discapacidades, nuestras familias, amigos y aliados somos votantes importantes.  Nuestros votos ayudan a decidir cosas fundamentales como el futuro de la “Ley de los Americanos con Discapacidades” (Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA), atención médica incluyendo Medicaid, para mencionar algunos.  En la elección del 2020, las personas con discapacidades votaremos por candidatos a Presidente, y decidiremos en cosas como que Colorado tenga fondos para financiar programas de servicio a la comunidad.  Debemos tratar de responder todas las preguntas en la boleta.  Esperamos que esta guía ayude a las personas con discapacidades a hacer un plan sobre cómo van a votar y regresar la boleta.  Si tiene más preguntas, por favor visite el sitio web “Just vote Colorado”, ó llame a la línea 1-800-238-1376.  Si su discapacidad es auditiva, puede hacer una video llamada al 711.

 

Apéndice

 

Candidatos a la Casa de Representantes de Estados Unidos en Colorado.

 

Distrito Congresional Uno:

 

Distrito Congresional Dos:

Distrito Congresional Tres:

Distrito Congresional Cuatro:

Distrito Congresional Cinco:

Distrito Congresional Seis:

Distrito Congresional Siete:

 

CCDC Se Opone

 

Enmienda 76: Calificación de Ciudadanía para los Electores

Declaración de la Campaña para una Verdadera Protección de las Elecciones:

¿Qué hace la enmienda 76?  Especifica que *sólo los ciudadanos de Estados Unidos que hayan cumplido la edad de 18 años*, en vez de *cada ciudadano de Estados Unidos que haya cumplido 18* es elector por derecho para votar en las elecciones de Colorado. Aunque cambiar una palabra en nuestra constitución puede parecer inofensivo, esta iniciativa, propuesta y financiada por intereses externos a Colorado, significa un paso atrás en la accesibilidad a los electores y abre una puerta para la supresión de los votantes.  El estado ya cuenta con un sistema seguro y confiable de elecciones, que garantiza que únicamente quienes cumplan los requisitos legales puedan votar.  En última instancia la medida busca 1) solucionar un problema que no existe, 2) Podría crear confusión entre los votantes acerca de las elecciones locales y estatales y 3) Podría desanimar y privar a los electores de sus derechos civiles.  Esta propuesta no tiene impacto inmediato en los requisitos para los no-ciudadanos, pero le quitaría la posibilidad a las personas de 17 años de participar en las elecciones primarias, si cumplen 18 años antes de las elecciones generales.  Vote “NO” a la enmienda 76.

 

Propuesta 117: Aprobación de los Votantes para Nuevas Empresas Estatales

Análisis hecho por El Colorado Fiscal Institute (Instituto Fiscal de Colorado)

El Problema con la Propuesta 117

La propuesta 117 requeriría del voto para  la creación de nuevos fondos para empresas que tengan ingresos mayores a $100 millones durante los primeros 5 años fiscales.  Esto constituye un asalto a la capacidad de Colorado de brindar servicios fundamentales a sus residentes.

¿Qué es un fondo para Empresa?

Los fondos para empresas fueron creados, como parte de la Declaración de Derechos de los Contribuyentes (TABOR, por sus siglas en Inglés), en 1992. Se definen por algunos aspectos específicos.

  • Son empresas propiedad del gobierno con sede en una agencia y dirigida por empleados del estado.
  • Únicamente pueden recibir 10% de sus fondos de subsidios del gobierno y la mayoría de sus ingresos proviene de los pagos de sus usuarios/clientes.
  • Tienen autoridad vinculante, lo que significa que pueden contraer deuda en base a la proyección de sus ingresos provenientes de los pagos de usuarios/clientes, no pueden recaudar impuestos.
  • Deben brindar bienes y servicios a cambio de los pagos de los usuarios.
  • Los fondos de empresas estatales reciben auditorías independientes cada año, para asegurar el cumplimiento de los requisitos anteriores.

Un aspecto importante de los fondos de empresa es el uso de pagos en vez de impuestos. Los impuestos se usan para la financiación general, lo cual queda a la discreción de los legisladores.  Los pagos son el costo que paga un individuo a cambio del bien ó servicio que recibe.

La propuesta 117 no se refiere a los pagos, sino a los fondos de empresa.  Los fondos de empresa no están sujetos al ingreso máximo arbitrario de recaudación puesto por nuestro estado. Forzar los fondos de empresa a sujetarse al ingreso máximo de recaudación, desplazaría otras prioridades importantes como educación, salud y otros.  Por ejemplo, la empresa que abarca las matriculas estudiantiles es de $11.5 mil millones, básicamente la misma cantidad que todo el Fondo General (General Fund).  Si las matriculas estuvieran sujetas al ingreso máximo de recaudación, no tendríamos dinero para nada más en Colorado.

Votar NO a la propuesta 117 es bueno para Colorado.

  • Colorado ya tiene problemas proporcionando servicios adecuados a sus residentes. Esta propuesta busca poner aún más obstáculos, para evitar que nuestro estado cumpla sus obligaciones hacia las personas que vivimos aquí.
  • Estas empresas juegan un papel fundamental proporcionando servicios que tienen benefician más directamente a sus usuarios/clientes. También se ocupan de asuntos como multar a otras que contaminan ó realizan otras acciones negativas.
  • Obligar a que se vote para los fondos de empresa, únicamente abre puertas a intereses específicos y a que dinero oscuro fluya en nuestras elecciones, evitando que se proporcionen servicios por pagos.

La propuesta 117 es una solución en busca de un problema.  Sin un sistema justo de impuestos, los fondos de empresa son una parte fundamental para dar servicios a los Coloradenses.

 

CCDC No Toma Posición

Propuesta 115: Prohibición del Aborto Después de las 22 Semanas

Sí a la 115,  Declaración de DueDateTooLate.com

La propuesta 115, protege la vida humana cuando ya el bebé puede sobrevivir fuera del útero, chuparse el dedo, responder a la voz y al toque de su madre y sentir un dolor agudísimo durante el procedimiento del aborto.  La propuesta 115 plantea una restricción razonable al aborto después de las 22 semanas, aunque sí da a la mujer embarazada varios meses para tomar una decisión acerca de su embarazo.  Los abortos en un período avanzado son extremos. Colorado está casi aislado en Estados Unidos y el resto del mundo al permitir abortos en períodos avanzados del embarazo, sin restricciones.  Únicamente  otros 6 estados en Estados Unidos y  otros 4  países (de 198) en el mundo, permiten abortos en períodos avanzados sin restricciones.  La idea de matar violentamente a un bebé completamente vivo y plenamente humano, en la última parte de gestación en Colorado, aún sea por razones de discapacidad, y que no le sean dados los mismos derechos y dignidad que  los demás bebés tienen, es simplemente errónea, cruel é inhumana.  Los coloradenses de todos los bloques (Demócratas, Republicanos, Independientes y No Afiliados) están de acuerdo en la restricción de las 22 semanas.  La propuesta prevé excepciones por embarazos ectópicos, pérdidas y cuando es necesario para salvar la vida de la madre.  Bajo la propuesta 115, una mujer no será penalizada ni criminalizada por buscar un aborto.  El objetivo de la propuesta 115 es proteger a las mujeres y sus bebés, darles mejores opciones y ayudarlos en circunstancias difíciles. Demos a cada uno de nuestros preciosos bebés una oportunidad de vivir y alcanzar el máximo de su potencial.

 

No en la 115, Declaración de No On 115

Cada embararzo  es único y las personas embarazadas son expertas en sus propias vidas.  Como todas las demás decisiones de salud, las decisiones acerca del embarazo deben ser hechas por la persona, con apoyo de su familia y en consulta con su médico, sin interferencia política.  La propuesta 115 es una eliminación del aborto en etapas avanzadas, hecha *talla única*, sin excepciones para los riesgos de salud de la mujer.  La propuesta prohíbe a las personas de hacer sus propias decisiones médicas,  Esta propuesta intencionalmente confusa ha sido presentada y apoyada por los mismos políticos y grupos que han tratado-y fallado- de eliminar el aborto en Colorado más de 10 veces en la última década.  La propuesta 115 impone barreras adicionales al acceso a la salud que afecta desproporcionadamente a la comunidad de personas discapacitadas, la comunidad LGBTQ+, las comunidades de color y la gente joven. Debemos enfocarnos en aprobar leyes que apoyen la dignidad y la autonomía reproductiva de toda la gente, incluyendo gente con discapacidades, sin anteponer la política a las decisiones personales importantes en asuntos de salud.  La propuesta 115  es errónea para Colorado, por favor vote NO en la propuesta 115.

Para mayor información para involucrarse, visite *voteno115.com*

 

Propuesta EE: Impuesto a los Productos Derivados de la Nicotina

Pro: Escrito por la Dra. Kimberly Jackson miembro de la Junta Directiva de CCDC

Aunque éste no es un asunto directamente de discapacidades, los efectos a largo plazo de fumar y fumar vapor, conducen ciertamente a un incremento en la(s) discapacidad(es).  Este asunto puede afectar desproporcionadamente a personas con ciertas discapacidades, como enfermedades mentales (lo que está ligado a mayores tasas de uso de tabaco) y al mismo tiempo sabemos que la enfermedad mental puede llevar a mayores tasas de adicción, incluyendo al tabaco.  El uso contínuo del tabaco disminuye la posibilidad de que el tratamiento para otras adicciones sea efectivo, y por lo tanto, puede incrementar la prevalencia de otras adicciones.  El uso del tabaco tiene un costo para la sociedad porque incrementa la tasa general de muchas enfermedades.  Tampoco  hay conocimiento de algún beneficio médico del uso del tabaco para la sociedad y no tiene ningún beneficio medicinal.

Contra: Escrito por David Henninger, miembro de la Junta Directiva de CCDC

Estoy en contra del incremento al impuesto sobre los productos de nicotina  porque, aunque podría provocar que algunos fumadores dejen de fumar debido al gasto, se trata de una adicción, la población más afectada es la de personas con bajos ingresos y esto crea recaudación a costa de los pobres.

 

 

CCDC quiere agradecer a Arc of Aurora y a Think+Change, por su ayuda con el lenguaje sencillo. A Northwestern Colorado Center for Independence por la traducción al lenguaje de señas y a Rosario Vega por la traducción al Español.

CCDC agradece al comité de guía de la boleta.

  • Hillary Joregensen Presidenta
  • Irene Coleman
  • Kenny Maestas
  • Christiano Sosa

Versión en Lenguage de Señas de la Guía de Votación 2020


 

Descargar la Versión Completa en PDF

 

ENGLISH VERSION

Ballot Guide 2020 –CCDC

INTRODUCTION

People with Disabilities (PWD) are important voters. Our votes help decide vital things like the future of the Americans with Disabilities Act and healthcare, including Medicaid—to name just a few things. In the 2020 election, PWD will be asked to vote on candidates like the President and to decide issues like making sure Colorado has enough money to fund programs like community services. PWD should try to answer all of the questions on their ballot. We hope this guide will help PWD make a plan on how they are going to vote and return their ballot. If you have more questions about voting, visit the Just Vote Colorado website or call their hotline at 1-866-687-8683. Just Vote Colorado is a non-partisan, comprehensive voting resource for all Colorado voters.

This guide is written in plain language, but for the few that want a lot more detail there are links that provide it. This guide covers:

  • Voting rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities;
  • How to help people with disabilities who want or need assistance;
  • Candidates (who is running-we do not endorse or oppose); and
  • Ballot measures.

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES (PWD) SHOULD VOTE!

PWD want to be fully included. Part of how PWD are included is to make their voices heard through voting.

Voting is an important right for every American over the age of 18, and especially for people with disabilities, their families, their friends, and those who make money in the disability industry. When enough people with a specific interest, like disability, vote, it is called a voting bloc. PWD and their family, friends, and those who make money in the disability industry could join together to become a voting bloc.

When the disability community votes as a voting bloc:

  • it tells politicians that our issues like the Americans with Disabilities Act are important;
  • it tells our communities that we are not invisible and we need services funded so that PWD may live independently, work, and get an education;
  • it tells our President and Senate, who appoint and confirm judges to the Supreme Court and all federal courts, that PWD need justice; and
  • on ballot measures it tells our state, counties, and towns that we are important citizens who deserve to have our voices heard.

 

PWD VOTING RIGHTS

In Colorado, PWD can register to vote:

  • online before October 26th (if you want to vote by mail) by going to Secretary of State’s website;
  • by downloading and printing the voter registration application, filling it out and returning it by mail, fax, or email before October 26th (if you want to vote by mail); or
  • by visiting a voter service and polling center in your county between October 26th and Election Day, November 3rd.

In Colorado, people with disabilities can vote:

  • in their homes or communities by filling out the ballot they get in the mail, and then returning it by US mail with 2 stamps or dropping it off at a ballot collection site;
  • by going to a polling place and using a voting machine; or
  • By using an electronic ballot.  This is a new option for people that have trouble with printed materials, including but not limited to blind people.  They can submit an application to do an online ballot, vote online, then print their ballot and mail it using 2 stamps or drop it off at a ballot box.  You can get all of the information you need on how to get through the process at sos.colorado.gov.  If you are struggling with this the Colorado Center for the Blind, CCDC, or Disability Law Colorado can help.

When people with disabilities vote, they:

  • have the right to vote privately and independently, and
  • have the right to an accessible polling place and ballot. They can ask for help from an election judge or someone they choose. They may choose someone from one of these disability organizations around the state, such as the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition.

Colorado Elections are ACCESSIBLE, SAFE, AND SECURE. However, if you have trouble voting, if someone tries to pressure you about how to vote, or if you see someone pressuring someone else with a disability about how they want to vote, call Disability Law Colorado at 303-722-0300 or toll-free at 1-800-288-1376. Disability Law Colorado can help because they have people trained in disability voting rights. For Relay call 711.

Our Secretary of State has this information answering frequently asked questions about voting rights for people with disabilities.

 

 

HELPING PWD VOTE

Some people reading this guide might be helpers like a family member, staff person, or even an election judge. There are many acceptable ways to help a person with a disability vote.

DO:

  • Ask the PWD what help they want, such as reading the ballot out loud, offering to fill in the ballot, etc.
  • Ask the PWD if they prefer to have an election judge or professional advocate assist them with voting instead of a caregiver.  Let them know either way is perfectly OK.
  • Encourage PWD if they are going to use their mail-in ballot to vote to return it quickly.
  • Assist PWD with getting their ballot properly turned in (dropped off or mailed in plenty of time).
  • Assist PWD with making sure their vote was received by setting up and using Colorado’s ballot tracing system.
  • Assist PWD who are voting for the first-time with registering.
  • Assist PWD with calling Disability Law Colorado or a vote center if they have questions or concerns.
  • Explain in neutral terms, when asked, the meaning of ballot initiatives or voting records of candidates. If the PWD has questions, answer as honestly as possible.

DON’T:

  • Tell PWD how they should vote.
  • Let someone who relies on you for support think your support will lessen if the PWD does not vote the way you are voting.
  • Get impatient with PWD that are having a hard time understanding or asking lots of questions. (It is OK to schedule a time to finish a conversation if you have to do something else and cut the conversation short.)

VOTING AND BALLOTS

If a PWD registered to vote before October 26th, the local county clerk will mail a ballot to their house. If a PWD registered after October 26th, it will be too late to get a ballot mailed and the PWD will need to vote at a Voter Service and Polling Center in their county.

Mail-in ballots should arrive at voters’ homes between October 10-15th (they are mailed on October 9th).

PWD don’t have fill out everything on your ballot to sign and return it. Ballots must be received by November 3, 2020 (ballots postmarked but not received by Nov. 3, 2020, will not count). PWD can return their ballot by:

  • dropping it off at a secure drop box location or Vote Centers located throughout Colorado. Those locations can be found by contacting your county clerk here. If a PWD wants someone to pick up their ballot and turn it in, they can contact either CCDC or a political party. Usually, both the Democrats and Republicans will have people that will pick up ballots.
  • mailing it by at least October 26th using two stamps on the return envelope.

PWD should know that they cannot get COVID from touching a drop box. (Although always wash your hands every time coming home regardless.) It is also very safe to go to a vote center wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others.

CANDIDATES

President – The United States is electing a President in 2020. All voters will be asked to pick a presidential candidate. The President is very important to PWD by:

  • helping direct policies for the country, including keeping PWD rights protected and helping make sure Medicaid is funded;
  • hiring people to run governmental agencies that help PWD live in the community;
  • appointing judges to the Supreme Court of the United States and other courts who help interpret and enforce our laws to protect PWD;
  • signing or vetoing laws that Congress passes that help PWD get the services they need; and
  • being responsible for handling the ongoing federal response to COVID-19.

The Democratic candidate for president is Joe Biden.

The Republican candidate for president is Donald Trump.

There are third-party candidates, but they have no chance of winning. You can look up other candidates on their websites when you get your ballot.

Senate – Colorado is electing a United States Senator this year. All voters will be asked to pick a senatorial candidate.

Senators are important to PWD because they can create laws and vote on things important to PWD like disability rights and Medicaid funding.

The Republican candidate is Cory Gardner.

The Democratic candidate is John Hickenlooper.

There are third party candidates but they have no chance of winning. You can look up other candidates on their websites when you get your ballot.

House of Representatives – We elect representatives to the House of Representatives every two years. Representatives are important to PWD because they can create laws and vote on things like making sure PWD can live in the community.  Your ballot will include a House of Representative candidate.  Your candidate will be based on where you live. You can find out what congressional district you live in by visiting the U.S. House’s find your representative page and entering your address. Click here for a list of candidates and their websites.

State Legislators – Coloradans are electing state legislators this year. State legislators are important for PWD because the help decide Colorado laws and fund important services. Everyone will have a chance to vote for a state representative. PWD may also be asked to vote on a state senator depending where they live. You can find out what state house and senate district you live in by visiting the Colorado General Assembly’s official find my legislator tool and entering your address.

Judges – In Colorado, people are allowed to vote on whether or not they want to keep their judges. Judges don’t run campaigns like most candidates do. If you want to see how a judge is rated their reviews can be found here. You can also look at your “Blue Book,” which might be easier.

BALLOT MEASURES

A ballot measure is a way for the people in Colorado to make or change law. CCDC takes positions on ballot measures that directly affect the disability community. You can learn more about each measure in your “Blue Book.”

CCDC supports the following measures. If you agree, then you should vote YES on these ballot measures.

Amendment B, Repeal Gallagher AmendmentYES – Voting yes on this amendment may increase property taxes, but Colorado needs that money to help keep community services and other programs important to PWD. If this amendment fails we may see services cut.

Proposition 118, Family and Medical LeaveYES – This will create a state-run program to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave for family members who need time off of work to help take care of a family member who is sick or having a baby.  This money will be paid for by employers and employees. This is a disability issue because it will help people with disability-related issues take time off of work.

CCDC opposes the following measures. If you agree, then you should vote NO on these ballot measures.

Amendment 76, Qualification of Citizenship for ElectorsNO – While not a specific disability issue, CCDC opposes anything that has the potential to stop people from voting. This will make it so 17-year-olds who will turn 18 before a general election can no longer vote in the primary election. The state already has a secure election system that ensures only those who meet legal requirements can vote in elections. Click here for more detailed information in opposition to this amendment.

Proposition 116, State Income Tax ReductionNO – CCDC opposes this measure because it could reduce Colorado tax dollars used to support disability programs. Click here for more detailed information in opposition to this proposition from Fair Tax Colorado.

Proposition 117, Voter Approval for Fee-Based EnterpriseNO – CCDC opposes this measure because it could reduce Colorado tax dollars used to support disability programs. Click here for more detailed information in opposition to this proposition.

No Position: CCDC neither supports or opposes the ballot issues and provides the following to help you better understand the questions PWD are asked to decide.

Proposition 115, Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks

CCDC neither supports nor opposes Prop 115 because the disability community has very different opinions on this issue. This proposal would limit the right to get an abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy.  We have provided statements from both the YES and the NO campaigns here with links to their website.

If you vote YES: Prop 115 would not allow a woman to have an abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy.

If you vote NO: Nothing would change on this issue.

Click here for detailed Pro and Con statements from the campaigns.

Proposition EE, Taxes on Nicotine Products

CCDC neither supports nor opposes Proposition EE. This increases taxes on tobacco and creates a new tax on nicotine (e-cigarettes/vaping). That tax money would be used for preschool and initially some other health initiatives such as anti-vaping education.

If you vote YES: Tobacco products like cigarettes and e-cigarettes will cost more money due to additional tax. That tax money will be used to help people quit tobacco products like cigarettes and provide education in schools to help kids understand why they should not use tobacco.

If you vote NO: Nothing will change on how much tobacco products like cigarettes cost.

Click here for arguments supporting and opposing this proposition.

There are other ballot initiatives that are not disability issues. They are:

  1. Proposition 114, Reintroduce gray wolves into the environment.
  2. Amendment 77, Allow voters in Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek to vote to expand allowed gaming and bet limits.
  3. Proposition 113, Join Colorado into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact awarding Colorado’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
  4. Amendment C, Require a charitable organization to have existed for three years before obtaining a charitable gaming license (currently one must exist for 5 years) and allow organizations to hire staff for gaming activities and pay them minimum wage.

There are important local questions as well. Because we are a statewide organization we are not identifying them in this guide, but we do have positions on some of these. Contact Lead Organizer Dawn Howard or Executive Director Julie Reiskin if you have questions on local issues.

 

CLOSING

PWD, our families, friends, and allies are important voters. Our votes help decide vital things like the future of the Americans with Disabilities Act and healthcare, including Medicaid — to name just a few. In the 2020 election PWD will be asked to vote on candidates like the President and to decide issues like making sure Colorado has enough money to fund programs like community services. We should try to answer all of the questions on ballot. We hope this guide will help PWD to make a plan on how they are going to vote and return their ballot. If you have more questions about voting, visit the Just Vote Colorado website or call their hotline at 1-866-687-8683. Just Vote Colorado is a non-partisan comprehensive voting resource for all Colorado voters.   If you experience discrimination based on your disability, please contact Disability Law Colorado at 303-722-0300 or toll-free at 1-800-238-1376.  For Relay call 711.

 

Appendix

 

United States House of Representatives candidates in Colorado

Congressional District One:

Congressional District Two:

Congressional District Three:

Congressional District Four:

Congressional District Five:

Congressional District Six:

Congressional District Seven:

 

CCDC Opposes

Amendment 76, Qualification of Citizenship for Electors

 

Statement from the Campaign for Real Election Protection:

What does initiative 76 do? Specify that “only a citizen of the US who has attained the age of 18” rather than “every citizen of the US who has attained the age of 18” is eligible to vote in Colorado Elections. While changing one word in our constitution may seem harmless, this initiative, run and funded by out of state interests, would take Colorado a step back in voter accessibility and open the door for voter suppression. The state already has a secure election system that ensures only those who meet the legal requirements can vote in elections. Ultimately, the measure seeks to 1) solve a problem that does not exist 2) may result in voter confusion about state and local elections, and 3) could discourage and disenfranchise voters measure has no immediate impact on voting requirements for non-citizens but will, however, remove the ability for 17-year-olds to participate in primary elections should they be 18 by the time of the general election. Vote NO on 76.^

 

Proposition 117, Voter Approval for Fee-Based Enterprise

 

Analysis by the Colorado Fiscal Institute.

The Problem with Proposition 117

 

Proposition 117 would mandate a vote on the creation of new enterprise funds that collect revenues above $100 million over the first five fiscal years. This is a direct assault on Colorado’s ability to provide critical services to its residents.

 

What is an Enterprise Fund?

 

Enterprise funds were created as part of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) in 1992. They are defined by a few specific aspects.

 

  • They are government-owned businesses housed in a state agency and run by state employees.
  • They can only receive 10 percent of its funding from government grants, with the vast majority of funding coming from user fees.
  • They have bonding authority, meaning they can take out debt based upon the projected revenue from their user fees, and they cannot levy taxes.
  • They must provide goods and services in exchange for the user fees.
  • Enterprise funds have independent public audits annually to ensure compliance with the above requirements.

An important aspect of enterprise funds is the use of fees, instead of taxes. Taxes are used for general funding that is up to the discretion of lawmakers. Fees are a cost to an individual in exchange for a good or service.

 

Prop 117 is not about fees, however. It is about enterprise funds. Enterprise funds are not subject to our state’s arbitrary revenue cap. Forcing enterprise funds to be subject to the revenue cap will crowd out other important priorities like education, transportation, and health care. For example, the enterprise encompassing student tuition is $11.5 billion, basically the same amount as the entire General Fund. If tuition were subject to the revenue cap, we would not have any money for anything else in Colorado.

 

Voting NO on Proposition 117 is Good for Colorado

  • Colorado already has difficulty providing adequate services to its residents. This proposition seeks to put even more obstacles up to prevent our state from meeting its obligations to the people who live here.
  • Enterprises play a critical role in providing services that have a more direct individual benefit, or to charge industries for pollution or other negative actions.
  • Mandating a vote on enterprise funds only allows more special interest and dark money to flow into our elections to prevent fees from providing services.

 

Proposition 117 is a solution in search of a problem. Without a fair tax system, enterprise funds are a critical part of providing services to Coloradans.

^

CCDC Takes No Position

Proposition 115, Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks

 

Yes on 115, Statement from DueDateTooLate.com

Proposition 115 protects viable human life – after the baby can survive outside the womb, suck her thumb, respond to her mother’s touch and voice, and feel excruciating pain during the abortion procedure. Prop 115 places a reasonable restriction on abortion after 22 weeks while still allowing a pregnant woman several months to make a choice about her pregnancy. Late-term abortions are extreme. Colorado is an outlier in the US and the world by allowing unrestricted late-term abortions. Only 6 other states in the US and 4 other countries (out of 198) in the world permit unrestricted late-term abortions. The notion that a fully alive and fully human late-term baby is killed so violently in Colorado, including for reasons of disability, and is not afforded the same value and dignity that infants enjoy is simply wrong, cruel, and inhumane. Coloradans from every voting block (Democrat, Republican, Independent, and Unaffiliated) find reasonable the 22-week restriction. The measure provides an exception for ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and when necessary to save the life of the mother. Under Prop 115 a woman will not be criminalized or penalized for seeking an abortion. The goal of Proposition 115 is to protect women and their babies, give them better options, and help them in their difficult circumstances. Let’s give every one of our precious babies a chance for life to reach the fullest of their potential.

 

No on 115, Statement from No On 115

Every pregnancy is unique, and pregnant people are experts in their own lives. Like all other health care decisions, decisions around pregnancy should be made by the individual, with support from their family and in consultation with their doctor — without political interference. Proposition 115 is a one-size-fits-all ban on abortion later in pregnancy that includes no exceptions for risks to the pregnant person’s health. It deprives individuals of the self-determination to make personal medical decisions. This intentionally confusing measure is pushed by the same politicians and groups that have tried — and failed — to ban abortion in Colorado more than ten times in the last decade. Prop 115 imposes additional barriers to health care access that disproportionately impact the disability community, LGBTQ+ community, communities of color, and young people. We should focus on enacting laws that support the dignity and reproductive autonomy of all people, including people with disabilities, not putting politics in the middle of important, personal health care decisions. Prop 115 is wrong for Coloradans. Please vote “no” on Proposition 115.

To learn more about Proposition 115 and get involved, please visit voteno115.com.

^

Proposition EE, Taxes on Nicotine Products

PRO: Written by Dr. Kimberley Jackson, CCDC Board Member:

Though not directly a disability issue, the long-term effects of smoking and vaping can certainly lead to an increase in disability. While this issue may disproportionately affect people with some disabilities, such as mental illness (which is linked to higher rates of tobacco use), we know that mental illness can lead to higher rates of addiction, including to tobacco. Continuing to use tobacco decreases the likelihood that treatment of other addiction will be effective, and therefore can increase the prevalence of other addiction. Tobacco use has a cost to society in that it increases the overall rate of many diseases. There is also no known medicinal benefit from tobacco use to society and it doesn’t have any medicinal benefit.

CON: Written by David Henninger, CCDC Board Member:

I am opposed to the nicotine tax increase because even though it may cause some smokers to quit due to expense this is an addiction — the population most impacted are individuals with low incomes and this just creates revenue off the backs of the poor.

^

 

 

Acknowledgments

 

CCDC would like to thank Arc of Aurora and Think+Change for plain language assistance, Northwestern Colorado Center for Independence for ASL translation and Rosario Vega for Spanish translation.

CCDC thanks the ballot guide committee:

  • Hillary Joregensen, Chair
  • Irene Coleman
  • Ian Engle
  • Kenny Maestas
  • Christiano Sosa

ASL Version of the Ballot Guide 2020


 

Download Full PDF Version

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL

Media Release for Kolbe v. Endocrine Services, 17-cv-1871-RM-SKC

See Second Lawsuit Filed Against Facility Recently for Not Allowing Service Animals.

This Media Release was sent when the lawsuit was filed. Additional Media Coverage can be found in the cases file for Kolbe v. Endocrine Services, 17-cv-1871-RM-SKC.

CCDC Statement on Masks and the Americans with Disabilities Act

For Immediate Release
May 27, 2020: 

DENVER, Colorado—The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) is Colorado’s largest statewide, disability-led, disability rights organization. CCDC advocates for social justice on behalf of people with all types of disabilities (cross-disability). This Statement is made jointly by CCDC’s Executive Director, CCDC’s staff, and CCDC’s Civil Rights Legal Program. This Statement is not intended to be construed as legal advice. As set forth below, all information regarding how to proceed under the circumstances is made available by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).

CCDC was founded 30 years ago to make sure that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became real in Colorado. To that end, we have been involved in both education and enforcement regarding the ADA. CCDC has been aggressive about requiring governments and businesses to make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures when necessary to enable people with disabilities to have equal access to any public accommodation. A public accommodation is any place where the public can engage in activities such as stores, hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, golf courses, etc. Non-profits like CCDC’s office and meeting areas are public accommodations. (All information about what the ADA says is publicly available on the DOJ website www.ada.gov.) The ADA also applies to state and local governments (including special districts), transportation, and employment. 

We have learned that people who object to requirements to wear masks or face coverings are advising followers to state that they have a disability and that it is a violation of the ADA to require that individuals wear a mask. There are individuals with disabilities who cannot use masks at all or who can but only with great difficulty. Securing a mask may be difficult to impossible for individuals who may not be able to get a mask on and off independently and lack constant support from a caregiver or other person and for individuals with facial anomalies. However, we are aware there are others invoking this rule without cause.

It is our position that businesses and governments ARE allowed to deny entrance to people who are not wearing masks. In fact, we encourage it.

Public accommodations must also protect their employees and other customers. In fact, the DOJ already has spoken on the issue of the fraudulent claims by people who simply do not want to wear a mask and claim they have a disability as the reason why. The DOJ position states the following: “The Department urges the public not to rely on the information contained in these postings and to visit ADA.gov for ADA information issued by the Department.” See *COVID-19 ALERT: Fraudulent Facemask Flyers* (DOJ COVID-19 ALERT). Furthermore, the ADA regulations in the section that governs public accommodations speak to this issue:

Sec. 36.208 Direct threat.

(a) This part [Title III of the ADA] does not require a public accommodation to permit an individual to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of that public accommodation when that individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

(b) Direct threat means a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services.

(c) In determining whether an individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, a public accommodation must make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain: the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk.

If a person claims that they are unable to use a mask, the public accommodation must make reasonable efforts to accommodate the customer in a different way. This must not involve requiring staff to take unsafe risks. A reasonable person can conclude that behaviors that are contrary to local health department guidelines are unreasonable and unsafe. Some examples of accommodations or modifications might include:

  • Telephone or video chat services
  • Curbside delivery
  • Allowing a substitute person to pick up and item with proper permission. This may include taking a credit or debit card number by phone and then allowing someone else to pick up the item with a special code
  • When possible and in some unique situations, delivering the good to the person outside of curbside delivery

CCDC recommends that businesses post a sign outside that says “Masks Required” and also provides a phone number and email address for someone to contact should they be unable to use a mask. Doing this will eliminate the need for an employee to have to debate the situation with an un-masked person.


“We want you to protect your employees. Some may have disabilities themselves, but more importantly, they are our neighbors, friends, and the essential workers that keep our community going. Why would anyone want to risk harming the people that they want to provide service to them?” Julie Reiskin, Executive Director 


Common Questions:

Can I ask the person what their disability is?

No, you cannot. You can ask why they cannot wear a mask, but it is irrelevant. You do not need to let them in.

Can I ask for proof of disability?

No. Generally, requiring an individual to prove a disability does not occur a complaint is filed and you are in court for an ADA lawsuit or before the DOJ for an administrative complaint. Remember, the person claiming a disability has the burden of proving their disability meets the strict definitions of the ADA to the court. If the individual who does not want to wear a mask does not have a disability but claims that they do and if the claim is fraudulent, the individual will lose in court. It is a risk. Fraudulent lawsuits have consequences. If someone asks for a modification of policy that is significant or maybe an undue burden, the public accommodation could ask for proof, but we recommend you avoid this and consult with an attorney before doing so. Having a condition or diagnosis does not necessarily mean that the person has a disability under the ADA. What meets the ADA definition of an individual with a disability is complicated and requires proof of a substantial limitation of a major life activity and more. All of this can be found on the DOJ website referenced above.

 What if the person has a note from their doctor?

That is irrelevant. Whether an individual is an individual with a disability is a legal definition, not a medical diagnosis.

How far must I go to provide services to this person?

A public accommodation must make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, and procedures. You need not fundamentally alter your business model or go to such extreme expense that it would cause your business undue hardship. A large business with branches would need to consider the entire company’s, not just one location’s, resources. Under no circumstances must you ever put your employees or customers in danger under the direct threat analysis.

What if my employee says they do not want to work near anyone who does not have a mask?

This is a reasonable request, and you should support this. Check with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for employee safety requirements. Also, you must follow state, city, or county orders that govern wearing a mask in a public location. You might violate the law by not wearing a mask. See also the DOJ COVID-19 ALERT referenced above.

What if the customer has a mask but it is hanging from their neck?

Instruct your staff to request that the customer secure the mask appropriately or leave. Confirm your staff knows to maintain appropriate social distancing restrictions of 6-feet as recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and other health authorities.

What if someone has a visible disability and their mask falls off? Are you obligated to help the person put it on?

No, you are not required to provide personal services like this. If you or your staff want to do so you may offer and then listen to the individual as they instruct you on how to do this. However, any staff person who feels compromised or uncomfortable must be permitted to not provide this level of assistance. 

Specific disability issues:

While there appear to be people blithely making up disabilities, there are people with real disabilities, and the rule of reasonable modification of policies always applies with the caveats set forth above. 

Deaf/Hard of Hearing:

Very few Deaf people read lips as it is rare but sometimes effective. However, some people who are hard of hearing do use a combination of lip-reading and hearing aids to understand others. If you can have at least some employees use a mask with a clear plastic panel to make the mouth visible, that will be appreciated. A face shield might be appropriate under the circumstances. You should conduct research regarding available types of masks and face coverings to ensure they are effective for the purpose of preventing the spread of the virus.

Blind:

If you have signage, please have Braille underneath.* Also, have available paper flyers in very large print (20 point font or higher) with the phone number to call for assistance. (Dial 711 for a Relay Operator)

Mental Health/Cognitive:

While some individuals may not be able to understand why they have to wear a mask or have extreme discomfort when something is over their mouth, the health risks of allowing people in who are not masked outweighs the benefit. Make sure not to challenge their experience or act like you do not believe them if they say they cannot wear a mask.

Physical:

Some people have facial structures that make mask-wearing impossible or may be unable to secure a mask if it falls off. For most of these individuals, the risk of serious illness or death from contracting COVID-19 is quite high, particularly for employees or other customers who already have respiratory problems and/or other disabilities that compromise their immune systems and are likely to understand mask policies.

Speech:

People with speech disabilities may be a bit harder to understand when wearing a mask. Feel free to ask them to repeat themselves if you do not understand. Most people with speech disabilities will be happy to repeat themselves. If they are unwilling to do so, they are not assisting you in the process of facilitating communication. Therefore, they should not be permitted to enter.

Perspectives from CCDC Staff with Disabilities


Michelle McHenry-Edrington Advocacy Coordinator and Air Force Veteran and her service dog Edgar
Michelle McHenry-Edrington Advocacy Coordinator and Air Force Veteran and her service dog Edgar

“I went into service because I wanted to protect my country and help others. I would never want to risk un-knowingly spreading this disease now even if my PTSD makes it harder to wear a mask. The mask makes me feel as though I am deployed again and in my decontamination suit.”

Michelle McHenry-Edrington Advocacy Coordinator and Air Force Veteran and her service dog, Edgar

 

 


Kevin Williams, Civil Rights Legal Program Director.
Kevin Williams, Civil Rights Legal Program Director

“As a quadriplegic with limited hand function, I cannot re-secure most masks if it slips off. I understand I may need to leave a store or find another way to shop. That is an inconvenience. However, as a quadriplegic with reduced breathing capacity and a compromised immune system, I believe it is very likely I would not survive if infected with COVID. As a result, I will do everything in my power to ensure that I have a mask on so I do not infect you.  It is a matter of simple respect and kindness for other people and should not be made a political issue or an issue of faking disability for getting an accommodation.”

Kevin Williams, Civil Rights Legal Program Director


Dawn Howard, Director of Community Organizing.
Dawn Howard, Director of Community Organizing.

“I know I am hard to understand sometimes. I am never offended if you ask me to repeat myself.”  

Dawn Howard, Director of Community Organizing

Letter to the Governor, RE: Survival of People with Disabilities during COVID-19 Pandemic

Read our letter crafted by our Executive Director and several partner organizations to Governor Polis regarding the Survival of People with Disabilities during COVID-19 Pandemic.

Download the fully accessible PDF Version

Blue line with three diamond shapes in the middle

CCDC Logo blue and black with the letters CCDC and the words Colorado Cross-disability Coalition

 

 

1385 S. Colorado Blvd., #610-A
Denver, CO 80222
303-839-1775

Julie Reiskin
Executive Director
jreiskin@ccdconline.org
720.961.4261 (Direct)
303.648.6262 (Fax)

March 25, 2020, via Electronic Mail

The Honorable Jared Polis
Colorado State Capitol
200 East Colfax Room 136
Denver, CO 80203

Re: Survival of People with Disabilities during COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear Governor Polis,

We want to start this letter by thanking you for your extraordinary leadership during this crisis. Unlike our peers in other states, we are being included in policy decisions and working closely with members of your team (like Elisabeth Arenales) and your cabinet (Kim Bimestefer, Michelle Barnes, Jill Hunsaker-Ryan, and others). We appreciate being involved and allowed to help your administration make the best possible decisions in a horrible situation.

People with disabilities and chronic health conditions are doubly vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis: they are vulnerable to acquiring the virus and to suffering more severe effects, and they are vulnerable to healthcare discrimination that may deny them necessary care. As a result, Coloradans with disabilities and chronic health conditions are experiencing escalating fear and anxiety, on top of any physical effects of the viral illness. We need your continued leadership to communicate and ensure that Colorado will protect
the rights and access to care of disabled people of all ages.

Colorado has a strong and united disability community that includes ADAPT, Centers for Independent Living, Arc Chapters, Disability Law Colorado, numerous organizations representing specific disability groups such as the Colorado Metal Wellness Network, the National Federation of the Blind Colorado chapter, and the Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind. The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) is the largest statewide organization run by and for people with all types of disabilities and we are working to coordinate with this amazing community to help with ongoing information dissemination and input to your team on policy issues. We are lucky to have such a strong and united community. This letter is written on behalf of many of these organizations, we wanted to get it out quickly so did not put extended time into sign-ons, but please note the organizations signed on below.

CCDC and others thank you for the swift and decisive actions that you have taken to protect the people of Colorado from COVID-19, reduce community spread, and flatten the curve. Your leadership will protect people with disabilities and their families from the virus’s accelerating spread, including daily increases in the deaths. Our community now asks that you take the following actions to ensure that people with disabilities receive equitable and effective healthcare in Colorado which will, in turn, help maintain the health of all Coloradans.

Prevent and Prohibit Medical “Rationing” Based on Disability

The prospect of shortages of medical staff and equipment for treating those made severely ill by COVID-19 has triggered a discussion of “rationing” medical care.

While the coronavirus crisis poses serious challenges to our social and health care systems, federal laws including the ADA, Section 504, Section 1557 of the ACA, and the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) prohibit any “rationing” measures by public or private entities which discriminate on the basis of disability. Denying care to disabled individuals who are likely to benefit from care is unlawful.

Moreover, swift and efficient action now may prevent or ameliorate the need for untenable rationing decisions. There are additional reserves of ventilators and other medical equipment and supplies maintained by hospitals and the U.S. Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.¹ Colorado must follow its own policy statements to ensure that these stockpiles are allocated based on objective need – and distributed throughout the state of Colorado so that health care workers have them on-site.² If existing numbers are projected to be insufficient, Colorado must procure additional equipment and supplies.

People are looking for factual information, honestly, and assurances. As Governor, you are the best person to speak out about the state’s efforts to alleviate widespread fear and anxiety among vulnerable populations, including Coloradans with disabilities.

We further urge the Governor and state agencies to swiftly issue a directive to health plans and insurers, hospitals, and other medical providers on maintaining their obligations under state and federal disability nondiscrimination laws during the coronavirus crisis, including in the allocation of scarce medical resources. Such guidance should include the following basic principles:

  • The presence of a disability, including a significant disability, is not a
    permissible basis for denying people access to care or giving them a lower
    priority for care.
  • The fact that a disabled person may have a lower likelihood of survival is not a
    permissible basis for denying care or allocating the person a lower priority for
    care. If the person will benefit from care, then they are entitled to access care on an equal basis as others.
  • The fact that a person with a disability may require reasonable accommodations during treatment, or more intensive treatment, is not a permissible basis for denying care or allocating the person a lower priority for care.
  • All medical decisions about providing care must be based on current objective
    medical evidence, and not based on generalized assumptions about a person’s
    disability. Treatment decisions shall not be made based on misguided assumptions that people with disabilities experience a lower quality of life.

Covered entities should be permitted to prioritize those with a greater urgency of need, and delay non-urgent care. They need not allocate scarce resources to individuals with no reasonable chance of survival. But people with disabilities should not face discrimination in seeking life-sustaining care that they will benefit from. The lives of people with disabilities are equally valuable to those without disabilities, and healthcare decisions based on devaluing the lives of people with disabilities are discriminatory. Benefit should be derived solely based on medical evidence, not a belief about the life of the patient.

Ensure Access to Home-and Community-Based Services and Related Services

Individuals with various disabilities who rely on personal care assistance face a dilemma during the COVID-19 crisis. No person with a disability should have to choose between catching a potentially deadly new virus and receiving the assistance needed to perform critical activities of daily living such as toileting, eating, dressing, etc. Personal care assistants whether paid or unpaid, should not be required to perform their duties without proper protective equipment to ensure both their own well-being as well as the continued well-being of their own families and other clients with disabilities or face the ethical dilemma of rendering necessary duties while beginning to feel sick.

The following measures are needed to preserve the well-being of people with disabilities while they shelter in place:

  • Fund paid sick leave for any personal care worker unable to work regularly
    scheduled shifts because of illness or the need to quarantine due to exposure. This must also cover any Medicaid consumer-directed or private pay client. Grants to small home health agencies should be made available to allow them to pay their workers. Larger agencies should be required to do the same.
  • Fund and establish backup personal care assistant (PCA) registries, for both
    public and private pay PCAs, and establish streamlined on-call emergency backup alternatives to ensure PCA services when scheduled PCAs are unavailable.
  • Place a moratorium on Medicaid LTSS reassessments that could lead to service hour reductions and consider revising overtime rules.
  • Provide and efficiently distribute protective gear for paid and unpaid PCAs,
    including family, friends, and volunteers who are providing personal attendant
    services. To the extent that shortages make this impossible, provide funding
    for substitute items such as cleaning gloves, industrial respirators, scrubs,
    garbage bags, etc.
  • Continue to include disability-specific providers (whether formal or not, paid or
    not) within the guidance on categories of “essential business” and “essential personnel,” such as public and private personal care attendants, public transit and paratransit, privately contracted Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) providers, durable medical equipment providers/repairers, and veterinarians.

Even short gaps in coverage of personal care attendants and related services can lead to worsened health and unnecessary hospitalization or institutionalization, contrary to the integration principles adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999). These risks are sharply heightened by the dangers posed by the coronavirus.

CCDC and the signatories below urge the following additional steps to ensure that disabled Coloradans are safe in their homes and communities with supports during the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Ensure that accurate and up-to-date information about the progression of COVID-19 within Colorado is fully accessible in alternative print and online formats.
    • We appreciate seeing the sign language interpreters at all of your press conferences. Please make sure videos are always captioned properly (just turning on YouTube captioning does not work). We appreciate the remarkable responsiveness of your staff, especially the Lt. Governor’s Chief of Staff, Crestina Martinez, Maria De Cambra on your Communications team and Theresa Montano in OIT when there has been an error in document accessibility. We hope that process improvements to assure no document goes up that is not fully accessible to people that use screen reading technology are prioritized.
    • We also urge that essential documents are quickly translated into threshold languages, adapted for people with lower reading abilities, and made available in American Sign Language and captioned videos. This must apply not only to Executive Orders but to instructions that are important including how to apply for unemployment, testing protocols, prevention protocols, etc.
  • Require all private insurers operating in Colorado to provide fully accessible, current, clear, and readily available information about in-network and out-of-network coverage of COVID-19 testing and treatment.
  • Require public utilities and internet providers to maintain gas, electricity, water, telephone, and internet services for seniors and people with disabilities sheltering in place.
  • Ensure that public and private insurance prioritization of healthcare procedures consider not only the category of procedure before canceling or delaying it as “elective/non-urgent,” but also the underlying conditions and cross-disability needs of the person who will be undergoing a scheduled procedure.
  • Continue provision of ADA paratransit, NEMT, and accessible on-demand service for passengers, including trips to the grocery store, medical facilities, and COVID-19 testing sites. Maintain ADA paratransit service areas even where bus routes are cut or reduced like areas such as Summit and Gunnison.
  • Protect passengers and workers by ensuring the provision of adequate protective gear and cleaning supplies for transit workers, including NEMT providers and janitorial support staff.
  • Place a comprehensive state-wide moratorium on evictions and a hold on termination of public benefits, including all administrative actions that result in individuals being cut off from public benefits. We also ask that any fraud investigations be suspended as this is not a good use of money or resources and could endanger the at-risk individuals.
Ensure Legal Services and Prompt Affirmative Responses to the Potential Violations of Rights of Disabled Coloradans.

We ask that Colorado take steps to bolster financial and human resources in Colorado’s legal service organizations to ensure that they have – the capacity to provide timely representation for individuals who face unlawful medical “rationing” based on disability, any unnecessary and involuntary institutionalization, evictions, benefits issues and other forms of discrimination in COVID-19 treatment and testing.

From past disasters, we know that legal services needs tend to peak 2-12 months after the disaster “ends”. Additional legal services support will be required for the next year. Specifically, Disability Law Colorado, Colorado Legal Services, Colorado CrossDisability Coalition, Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, and The Colorado Center for Law and Policy will need support to meet the legal needs of low-income Coloradans with Disabilities.

We further ask that you ensure that Colorado and its agencies respond immediately and effectively to any reports or complaints indicating that the rights of people with disabilities are being violated. While this must include prioritization and streamlining of administrative complaint procedures at all relevant agencies to respond affirmatively and forcefully to any formal or informal report.

Our state has long been a leader in many aspects of healthcare, accessibility, and civil rights protections for people with disabilities. Colorado, as the home of the Atlantis Community, the organization that created ADAPT is the birthplace of the internationally known disability rights movement. Help us to maintain our reputation as a leader in preserving the rights of people with disabilities. We would welcome the opportunity to continue to work with your administration on ensuring that people with disabilities in our state receive equal and effective healthcare during the COVID-19 crisis under the priorities detailed above.

Sincerely,
Julie Reiskin, Executive Director, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition

Ailsa Wonnacott, Association for Community Living, Boulder and Broomfield Counties

Martha Mason, Executive Director, Southwest Center for Independence

Wilfred Romero, The Arc – Pikes Peak Region

Darla Stuart, Executive Director, The Arc of Aurora

Larry McDermott,  The Arc of Weld County

Timothy Fox, Attorney at Law, Senior Partner, Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center

Sara Froelich, Chronic Care Collaborative

Lisa Franklin, Executive Director, Parent to Parent

Candie Burnham, Executive Director, Atlantis Community, Inc.

Robert A. Lawhead, Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council

Christiano Sosa, Executive Director, The Arc of Colorado

Hope Hyatt, Colorado Mental Wellness Network

Christine Fallebell, The American Diabetes Association

Ian Engle, Executive Director, Northwest Colorado Center for Independence

Jessalyn Hampton, National MS Society

Judith I. Ham, Ability Connection Colorado

Eileen Doherty, Colorado Gerontological Society

Barbara Henry, Domino Service Dogs

Linda Skaflen, Executive Director, The Arc of Adams County



¹ Dan Lamothe, “Pentagon offers respirators, ventilators and labs in expanding coronavirus response,” Washington Post (Mar. 17, 2020) (describing the release of 5 million masks and 2,000 ventilators from military stockpile), https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2020/03/17/pentagon-offersrespirators-ventilators-labs-expanding-coronavirus-response/;

² Surge Standards, Foundational Knowledge, § 8.4.3, Allocation of Ventilators for Pandemic Influenza, http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/sites/default/files/public/php/258/258_foundation.pdf (“[T]he allocation of ventilators from State and federal stockpiles must take into account the ratio of local populations to available resources, designating appropriate resources for the most vulnerable who are most likely to suffer the greatest impact in any disaster.”).

 

Denver Police Apparently Don’t Think Accessible Parking Laws Apply to Them

On February 24, 2020, at the office building of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (“CCDC), Colorado’s only statewide organization run by and for people with disabilities, including its Civil Rights Legal Program, a Denver Police Department vehicle parked illegally in an access aisle. CCDC is located at Empire Park at 1385 Colorado Boulevard, Denver, Colorado. Kevin Williams who is an attorney and who uses a wheelchair and drives the blue van with a side-loading wheelchair ramp that is pictured above has practiced in the area of civil rights law for people with disabilities for 22 years.

The Current Cases and Past Cases that have been brought by the Civil Rights Legal Program during this time can be found on CCDC’s website. He and his legal team have brought numerous civil rights cases against government entities, private businesses of all kinds such as restaurants, sports venues, shopping malls and many more, housing providers and other entities covered by civil rights laws to help enforce the law for people with disabilities who cannot afford attorneys.

Many of these cases have been brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The Legal Program has been involved in and remains involved in numerous civil rights investigations on behalf of its members throughout Colorado and works with attorneys both in the state and nationwide to end discrimination against people with disabilities. The Legal Program has received numerous awards for its work helping people with disabilities achieve the objectives of the ADA which is now almost 30 years old.

See Full Press Release: Denver Police Apparently Don’t Think Accessible Parking Laws Apply to Them

Media Update on 3/5/2020 at 10:12.

Fox 31 KDVR:

The Denver Police Department has issued an apology after an officer was photographed parking in a handicap spot during an emergency call.

That handicap-accessible spot happened to be in front of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, which specializes in advocating for those with disabilities.

Photos show the officer taking up a portion of the handicap spot as well as the majority of the “access aisle,” used by many at the building to get in and out of vehicles.

“The law says you can’t stop, stand, or park in the access aisle,” said Legal Program Director Kevin Williams. “Nevertheless, the Denver police vehicle was parked in that access aisle.”

Williams says he frequently receives complaints regarding police vehicles parking in accessible spots.

His van, parked next to the police vehicle shown in the photo, is specially equipped with a ramp to get in and out of the passenger door.

Read the entire article and watch the video here:

Denver officer photographed blocking handicap spot at disability advocates’ headquarters

Our Friend, Colleague and Teacher, Sheryle Hutter

Picture of Sheryle Hutter

CCDC is saddened to announce the passing of disability rights all-star Sheryle Hutter.   Sheryle was a CCDC staff member until last year, before that she was a Board Member, and dedicated volunteer advocate.  Among her many significant accomplishments was the development of our current advocacy training program.  Her efforts made it a professional level class, eligible for continuing education units from the University of Denver.  Sheryle developed the curriculum in partnership with the University College at DU and created enough evidence-based curricula with a robust evaluation to qualify it for a college-level class.

Sheryle was born on September 26, 1944 and died October 13, 2019.   She was married to the love of her life Don Hutter on January 27, 1962.  They renewed their vows this past January.  She leaves behind two sons, Don Jr, and Ron Hutter.  Ron works as the CCDC event assistant and is on the Arc of Aurora Board of Directors.  He followed in his mother’s advocacy footsteps, something that made Sheryle very proud.    Sheryle is also survived by all five siblings:  Vicki Shultz, Pam Farnoik, Tommy Collins, Scott Collins and Brent Collins.  She leaves behind many nieces and nephews, colleagues, friends and admirers.

Sheryle’s professional history began when she owned and operated a square dance shop, then had an interior design business and finally became a grants manager for the Cherry Creek School district where she worked for more than 30 years.    Sheryle poured her significant talents into several organizations as a volunteer.  She was involved with Special Olympics for more than 30 years.  She started the program in the Cherry Creek District and there are now over 10,000 athletes participating across the state.   Her son Ron is an athlete and coach with Special Olympics.    Sheryle was a leader in the all-volunteer organization PADCO (Parents of Adults with Disabilities of Colorado).  PADCO takes strong unapologetic advocacy positions.   Sheryle and founder Dr. Denver Fox uncovered fraud in the intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) system that was later verified by government auditors.  She found a glaring error in legislation missed by several professional lobbyists that took needed services away from hundreds of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and she forced a correction to maintain needed services.

Sheryle was involved in many capacities with the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition.   She joined as a volunteer in the late 90’s, later she served on the Board of Directors and acted as Treasurer for several years.  After her retirement from the Cherry Creek School district, she threw herself into advocacy, lobbying on behalf of CCDC, and creating the advocacy training program that is in place today.    Sheryle was also involved in local Arapahoe County and City of Aurora politics.  Sheryle has mentored and encouraged many people with disabilities and parents of people with disabilities.  Sheryle had a strong sense of disability pride, and that is evident in the work of her son Ron.   Sheryle was passionate about improving the quality and accessibility of health care, enforcement of the American’s Disabilities Act, and ethical and transparent behavior of nonprofits that are funded to support people with disabilities.

Sheryle has received several awards for her work in the disability community including the Dan Davidson Award given by the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council and the Lucile Weiss Memorial Award for Education from CCDC.  Sheryle will be dearly missed.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people honor Sheryle by voting, becoming active and involved with your community and doing something to improve health care and access for people with disabilities and/or senior citizens in your communities.

Investigative Report on Immigration Detention Released Today, Sept. 18, 2019

CCDC wants to thank the ACLU of Colorado for your groundbreaking (and heart breaking) expose.   We are proud to partner with this great organization and with CREEC who is also doing this work and look forward to working with anyone interested to assure that immigrants and asylum seekers with disabilities are treated fairly and humanely.

Rise Up fist, it reads: Nothing About Us, Without Us, EVER!!
Rise Up fist, it reads: Nothing About Us, Without Us, EVER!!

 

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Rachel Pryor-Lease <rpryor-lease@aclu-co.org>
Date: Wed, Sep 18, 2019 at 10:52 AM
Subject: Investigative report on immigration detention released today
To: Julie Reiskin <jreiskin@ccdconline.org>

Today marks the release of our investigative report about the GEO immigration detention facility in Aurora: Cashing in on Cruelty: Stories of Death, Abuse and Neglect at the GEO Immigration Detention Facility in Aurora.

The report is based on a nine-month ACLU of Colorado investigation, which included a lawsuit against ICE under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for records about Mr. Samimi’s death and interviews with dozens of victims of mistreatment. The investigation revealed numerous stories of medical incompetence, dental neglect, inadequate mental healthcare, lack of accommodations for detainees with disabilities, as well as substandard care that contributed to the suffering and death of Kamyar Samimi, a Lawful Permanent Resident for more than 40 years.

Cashing in on Cruelty provides a set of recommendations to improve state and local policy, including increased oversight and accountability of ACDF, divesting from investments in private detention operators like GEO, funding for legal counsel and bond money for detainees and limiting local cooperation with ICE. The policy brief enumerates ways that Colorado cities, counties and the state should respond to the expansion of private immigration detention centers to improve conditions of confinement and reduce the number of people who end up separated from their families and communities or worse — dead.

Read the report and learn more, including actions to take and know your rights information at: https://www.allarewelcomeco.org/.

 

As a reminder, we are having an informal breakfast this Friday, September 20th from 8:30-10am to hear from the staff that worked on the report, as well as learn more about our next steps. Please let me know if you would like to join us.

Thank you for your support, so that we can continue to do this critical work.

Best,

Rachel

Rachel Pryor-Lease

(Pronouns: she/her/hers)

Director of Philanthropy

American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado

303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 350

Denver, CO  80203-1256

(720) 402-3105

rpryor-lease@aclu-co.org

 

Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself

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Sign up for e-alerts and support our work at www.aclu-co.org

 

P.S. Please join us at our annual Bill of Rights Dinner on Thursday, September 26th at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Denver. For tickets and more information, visit: https://aclu-co.org/events/bill-of-rights-dinner/.

Press Release: President Trump’s Statement Blaming Gun Violence on People with Mental Health Conditions Is Outrageous, Says National Organization of Mental Health Advocates with “Lived Experience”

For Immediate Release

President Trump’s Statement Blaming Gun Violence on People with Mental Health Conditions Is Outrageous, Says National Organization of Mental Health Advocates with “Lived Experience”

WASHINGTON (August 7, 2019)—The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR), which advocates to improve policies affecting individuals with mental health conditions nationwide, offers its sincere condolences to all those affected by the tragedies in El Paso and Dayton.

At the same time, the NCMHR is disgusted by President Trump’s recent statement in which he conflated perpetrators of violence and people with psychiatric diagnoses.

“As a national organization representing persons with mental health issues—many of whom are trauma survivors—the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery condemns President Trump’s statement blaming people with mental health conditions for gun violence,” said NCMHR co-founder and board president Daniel B. Fisher, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist with lived experience of a mental health condition.

“As the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and numerous studies have reported, people with mental health conditions are the wrong scapegoat after mass shootings,” Dr. Fisher continued. “Instead, frequently the shooter in these tragedies is an isolated, angry white male with an automatic weapon.

“But the President refuses to take responsibility for his central role in ginning up racism and anti-immigrant hatred in countless statements and at numerous rallies over a period of years.
“Economic and social oppression have alienated and disempowered people, putting the American Dream out of reach for many. We need a more economically and socially equitable society to address the roots of society’s anger. It is crucial that we hear, and respect, the voices of people angered by these economic factors, because so many feel unheard and unrespected.

“And we must immediately pass and implement effective gun control laws. When economist Richard Florida examined gun deaths and other social indicators, he found that higher populations, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness didn’t correlate with more gun deaths. But he did find one telling correlation: States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths.

“After a mass shooting in 1996, Australia adopted tougher gun control laws—and this resulted in a huge decrease in gun violence.

“Unfortunately, many of our legislators feel obligated to the National Rifle Association. Republicans received nearly $6 million in the 2016 election cycle; Democrats received $106,000. President Trump received at least $21 million from the gun lobby. At the same time, 90% of Americans support background checks for all gun sales.

“We can do this. At long last, we just need to summon the political will.”
The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) works to ensure that people with psychiatric diagnoses have a major voice in the development and implementation of health care, mental health, and social policies at the state and national levels, empowering people to recover and lead full lives in the community.

CONTACT: Daniel Fisher, MD, PhD, NCMHR board president, info@ncmhr.org; 202-642-4480

No to Oppression Olympics

Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition Logo
1385 S. Colorado Blvd.  Bldg. A, Ste. 610
Denver, Colorado 80222
303.839.1775
www.ccdconline.org

Julie Reiskin
Executive Director
jreiskin@ccdconline.org
720.961.4261 (Direct)
303.648.6262 (Fax)

 

CCDC was made aware that yesterday an ADAPT leader Bruce Darling made an inappropriate comment saying that Democrats cared more about immigrants than people with disabilities.  Mr. Darling has apologized in writing for these comments and has acknowledged that this is inappropriate, divisive and that “oppression Olympics” serves no one.   We agree.

CCDC is proud of our long affiliation with ADAPT. Many of us at CCDC are ADAPT members and participate in ADAPT actions.   CCDC understands the frustration when politicians that use us to get elected ignore us.  This frustration is something communities of color have dealt with for decades and continue to deal with throughout the country.

The situation for immigrants in this country has reached a crisis point.  National “leaders” are bullying, threatening, belittling, and intimidating immigrants.  People who even have family members who are immigrants are being intimidated into not using services that they need.  This hostile climate is antithetical to what America is….after all, we are a nation of immigrants.  Only those who are Native American/Indigenous People are not from another country.  CCDC appreciates the lawmakers that are speaking out against the abhorrent conditions at the border, and fighting back against the mistreatment of immigrants around the country.    CCDC believes there is bandwidth for our elected officials to deal with more than one issue and that ignoring disability issues is due to ableism, nothing more and nothing less.

As a social justice organization, CCDC must speak out –otherwise we are complicit.  More than ever, we must be vigilant to not fall into the trap of frustration of blaming and othering. The current hostile and divisive political climate can and should be blamed, but it is because of this climate that we all must take extra care to be personally responsible and avoid these comparisons.   We must stand with our brothers and sisters (with and without disabilities) who are new arrivals as a matter of social justice and mutual commitment to a more equitable society.

We will not comment or opine on the intent of Mr. Darling.  It is never acceptable to pit oppressed groups against each other. We hope that the larger social justice community will not see these comments as reflective of the disability community. Our community is diverse and includes many people who have intersectional identities as immigrants, migrants, new arrivals and people with disabilities.   We are not immune to the racism and xenophobia that permeate our organizations and all American communities, but we are responsible to address it inside and outside of our organizations.


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