The Sound Off! blog is a place for CCDC members to share their experience of living with a disability from the perspective of a disability rights activist. Express opinions on disability issues or other issues that relate to disability. Share their feelings about the issues of the day.
Social Security is actually comprised of two trusts:
When the Trustees examine the long-term outlook for Social Security, they hypothetically combine the financials of these two trusts into one (known as the OASDI). But if these two trusts were examined individually, the OASI is in far greater danger of exhausting its asset reserves sooner. Based on the latest report, the OASI is expected to deplete its asset reserves by 2034, at which point benefit cuts would become necessary to sustain solvency.
The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition stands with the Black Lives Matters movement to bear witness to the pain of centuries of racial oppression, inequity and white supremacy intensified by recent brutal actions including but not limited to the murder of George Floyd, the flaunting of white privilege by Amy Cooper, and the recent executions of Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. The anger is righteous and fueled by the exacerbation of racial disparities played out in the lacking response to the novel Coronavirus and some of the racist “dog whistle” rhetoric that goes with how we talk about “underlying conditions” which often involves victim-blaming rather than calling out oppressive policies of racism that permeates our health care systems.
This is not to disregard all of the cumulative behaviors/actions of the past. The oppressive policies of racism (both their design and how we carry them out explicitly and implicitly) permeate life in America and around the world, including the disability community. All of us who have benefited from our whiteness has a responsibility to actively engage in dismantling those systems. There are things white people can do and we must do so without making it about us. We must work together with our brothers and sisters in communities of color. Organizations led by marginalized communities must work against systemic racism. This is true for us even when disability is not the main issue.
So, why is CCDC saying anything? Because race and disability work together. People of color, particularly Black, Latino, and Indigenous people are more likely to have disabilities. Every factual indicator of disparity including health outcomes, education, employment, accumulation of wealth, the likelihood of being in a congregate setting including prison, jail, nursing facility, or homeless shelter, rises when you mix race and disability. People of color live with the constant stress of racism. This “toxic stress” causes many health conditions that can lead to disability. While there are no publicly know indications that the recent murder victims had disabilities many previous well-known victims did including Freddie Gray and Eric Garner. Moreover, Black people and other people of color are an important part of our organization. But this must go beyond disability. Our mission is to advocate for social justice and that includes being an ally even when disability is not part of the picture and even when it is not on the front pages. We must support organizations led by people of color and show up when invited and make offers to assist when we know of a need or understand the issues. It is up to all of us to dismantle the societal structures that got us to this place. We must do our own internal work as an organization and community to build a culture of equity, diversity, inclusiveness, and belonging, and at the same time work on systems issues. We need to increase the numbers of people of color throughout our organization and movement, especially in leadership positions. We must do this work every day and honor the goals set out in our strategic plan that integrate racial equity into all of our work.
Dear CCDC Members:
I have long admired the work of the National Federation of the Blind. I have been at a loss for words and thinking about what to say that is meaningful in light of all that is going on. I still have not found the right words, but the message from the president of NFB is important and I think this is relevant for all disability groups.
Julie Reiskin, CCDC Executive Director
From Mark A. Riccobono, President, National Federation of the Blind
I write this message to you as the elected President of the National Federation of the Blind. I also write it to you as an American who is struggling this week. I call upon members of our organization to recognize the solidarity we share as blind people and that the value we place on love within our movement is needed more today than at any other time in our history.
I watched the horrific video shot by a brave seventeen-year-old of the killing of George Floyd, a citizen of our great nation. Before I watched the video, I wondered what I could do and how I could contribute to healing the pain. I had no answers. After I watched the video, I realized I still did not have the answers and I was sad, angry, scared, frustrated, and without hope. Then I realized that we share tools in the National Federation of the Blind that can help. We can not look away and we need to share what we know from our experience in this people’s movement.
Our movement has been sustained for the purpose of serving as a vehicle for collective action by the blind of the nation to promote the vocational, cultural, and social advancement of the blind; to achieve the integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality with the sighted; and to take any other action which will improve the overall condition and standard of living of the blind. While racial equality in our nation is not within our mission, we also recognize that blindness affects all races and that the society we live within has an impact on our membership.
The Federation’s Code of Conduct specifically emphasizes our commitments to diversity. In short “We respect differences of opinion, beliefs, identities, and other characteristics that demonstrate that blind people are a diverse cross-section of society…In promoting a diverse and growing organization, we expect integrity and honesty in our relationships with each other and openness to learning about and experiencing cultural diversity. We believe that these qualities are crucial to fostering social and intellectual maturity. Intellectual maturity also requires the individual to struggle with unfamiliar ideas.” This week, I have been struggling to comprehend the fear and anger that black members of my Federation family are experiencing. I do not, and never can have the authentic lived experience that you have, but yet I am also completely outraged by the hate and injustice that fell upon George Floyd on Monday. I recognize there are many centuries of painful layers wrapped up in that moment. I recognize that George is neither the first nor the last in a chain of injustices that need to be addressed. I want you to know I stand with you in facing the injustice that persists against you because of the color of your skin. I want you to know that I love you and I struggle with not being able to fully know your pain and fear. I want you to know I am prepared to be guided by you as to how I can make a difference. I cannot say that I have not become desensitized in times past, but I can tell you I will never turn away again.
While our organization is dedicated to advancing the rights of blind people, we should not act as though race does not exist. As our chapters attempt to do business, as we urge our members to take up our priorities, we should recognize that thousands of our members are impacted by the painful realizations of this week. As a people’s movement, we cannot pretend that our people only have one characteristic. Now is the time to let each member know we love them and we recognize their hurt. Now is also the time for us to recognize, as individuals, that we carry implicit bias learned from the society around us, and to seek the training that will enhance our awareness. Now is the time to give love to our black members so that we might learn how we can do better in building the understanding that powers the organized blind movement.
Now is not the time for us to use our organizational communication tools to offer position statements about the activities playing out on the streets of our nation. it is easy to write messages and posts of solidarity without having a true understanding of the issues. It is easy to suggest that we share the concerns of our black members. The harder thing for us to do is to consciously listen and seek understanding while supporting others in their pain and frustration. The Federation has never been known for merely doing what is easy. The priority today is to ensure all of our black members know they are welcomed and loved in this movement. In fact, we should extend that same truth to any others who feel the real pain sweeping our nation. Please do not use organizational assets to enter the dialogue around race. That is not our purpose as an organization and we may unintentionally make it worse. We need to continue to coordinate messaging and to be guided by the wisdom of our diversity and inclusion committee. As leaders of our movement, we should also be conscious that our public posts may be misunderstood as representing the Federation. Our personal feelings and misunderstanding around the death of George Floyd, the protests sweeping our nation, and the underlying systemic discrimination may hurt and divide members of the organization. We cannot let that happen and we must be careful as leaders not to add to the pain our members are experiencing. As it relates to our public messaging, let us stay focused on the priorities of the organized blind movement. As it comes to our cherished friends, let our priority be to reach out personally to listen and offer our hands in support.
I have had the opportunity to gather virtually with some of our top black leadersa group who will continue to guide my actions related to these issues. I asked them for wisdom and love in finding ways that I could guide our membership during this trying time in our nation. Their message was clear. Our movement is built on love and love always conquers hate. The Federation family needs to shine a light for the rest of the nation by continuing to demonstrate that the love, and solidarity, that we share with each other in this movement makes all the difference. They also noted that our organization has always valued civil disobedience and the persistent pursuit of equality. They urged that we continue to pray for peace, justice, and equality. I could not agree more with these friends I have been blessed to learn from in our movement. Furthermore, I am thankful that we have a movement that provides us a meaningful opportunity to know people whose lived experience is so different from our own while sharing a common bond as blind people.
In the National Federation of the Blind, we know that blindness is not the characteristic that defines us or our future. Blindness is the thing that brings us together but it is not the thing that makes us want to stay together. That, in a word, is love. We have love in our movement and we strengthen it by giving it. We have some wisdom and we strengthen it by continuing to seek greater understanding. We need more of both love and wisdom at every opportunity. Let’s continue to share love, hope, and determination with each other so that together we transform our dreams into reality. One of those dreams still left to be transformed is that of a nation where we can join together regardless of our unique characteristics. That is a dream I am struggling to help my own children understand so they may do better than I in making it come true. I speak for all of our national board members when I say we sincerely believe that the love and togetherness demonstrated in our movement can go a long way in contributing to that dream. It can be hard to remember that in this moment when so many of us are hurting, angry, frustrated, and scared. Let us continue to support each other in the Federation family. Let us avoid the harmful language that will only serve to divide us in this time. Let us go forward together, love one another, and change the world for the better.
Mark A. Riccobono
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As a frequent traveler who uses a power wheelchair I have a different perspective of luck…
On Monday I was in Grand Junction for work with our amazing Rocky Mountain Health Plans Member Advisory Group –Tuesday morning I met with a couple of our CCDC members and was ready for my bus ride home—destined to leave around 1:20 pm. The plan was to get home at reasonable hour as I had to leave early today (Wednesday) to go to Charleston South Carolina for Legal Services Corporation meetings.
I was SO excited because Greyhound finally printed tickets that have a little wheelchair on them when one indicates that they will be traveling with a wheelchair. It took years for busses to be accessible at all, then it was even more years for them allow us cripples to buy tickets on line like everyone else. Until now the tickets would not print in a way that showed wheelchair access was needed. Leaving Denver is never a problem but every time I was to leave Grand Junction I had the same problem—the guy at the station would always tell me I “did it wrong” in terms of buying the ticket, tell me that I may or may not be able to get on the bus—that I would have to see if they had room. This was always a huge stress. When he would “allow” me on the bus it was always the local which stops four times, never the express for which I had bought a ticket.
So—I was thrilled to have an express ticket with a little wheelchair picture –he could not deny me now!!! As I was getting ready to head over I noticed a new feature on the Greyhound website called “track my bus”. I decided to check it out—just for fun. My excitement ended when I saw the bus was 4 hours late.
I remembered there was the local route, the one I am usually forced to ride. I go to the station (after a stop at my favorite candy store—they have a great licorice selection) and ask if I can get on the local. I acknowledge my ticket is for the express and show him the ticket with the wheelchair—to my surprise he is nicer (maybe the letter from our legal program had something to do with it). He says “if the lift works” I can get on the bus that will be on time—that will get me back to Denver at 6:30 instead of 5:40 but well before 11 pm which is when my scheduled bus will arrive.
I bite my tongue and do not say that the lift better be working and that they are supposed to check them regularly whether or not they have a passenger reserved ..and soon he tells me yes, I can get on this bus. I get on and am pleasantly surprised by a wonderful driver who actually tells me that there is a rest stop in Vail and asks me if I will want to get out!!! WOW—that almost never happens. Wheelchair users are not supposed to need to use a bathroom or eat while traveling. I actually do not need to get out but really appreciate the offer. Then to make it even better he takes control of the bus and requires people to be quiet so I can get work done and do not have to listen to other people’s music, children, or cell phone related drama.
Can it get any better????
We cruise along—pick up people in Glenwood, Vail, Frisco, watch a great sunset, mountain scenery, and life is good. Then we get to Georgetown and the bus sputters out. After a few futile tries to get it going again the driver announces that we are having mechanical problems. Immediately some grumbling….”you are not getting my business again” says someone from the back. Really—I think—how many of us who travel Greyhound have a ton of other options? I keep my mouth shut.
The driver tries to tell us that it will take some time but people decide that a bus should arrive in one hour—I knew that was not going to happen and tried to say so. People stay relatively calm—I wonder if they will be able to use the lift to get me out. The driver has to argue with Greyhound management somewhere to send a rescue bus. After several phone calls he succeeds or so we think.
Greyhound does not send a rescue bus –but instead sends a mechanic who is tasked with trying to fix a bus, in the dark, in the rain, on a highway. Yeah—right. As we get to two hours people begin freaking out. It is not too cold but not warm either—one definitely needs a coat on inside the bus and it gets colder with people going in and out for smoke breaks. Several people start complaining loudly—and a couple start talking about how horrible this is and that “there are two handicapped people on the bus” and it is “negligent” that we are left without heat. I guess I am one of the two –another guy is an amputee who has a manual wheelchair stored below the bus (his choice—there is room for two chairs). I am about to protest but think better of it. I figured that they would not send a new bus but instead have the bus that was four hours later stop and get us—and I knew that bus would be full —so realized maybe a mood on the bus of concern for us would be in our best interest. If they are so concerned that they have to scream about it then they could not possibly justify the replacement bus refusing to allow us on—right?
Keeping my mouth shut in these situations is not a strong point and I am mildly impressed with my restraint. People were resigned to missing their connections—but there were busses leaving at midnight they could catch. A couple poor souls had flights to catch that they were not going to make. I felt badly for them. As people got more worked up—the mechanic worked in futility outside. Our driver was terrific, he remained calm. We all realized it was not his fault. However the complaining continued and people started getting each other escalated. Eventually someone decided they were going to call the police. They did –the cops asked what he wanted them to do—he said he wanted them to bring us a space heater for the bus….right then another bus pulled up. I was correct and it was that other bus that was four hours late. That driver was NOT in a good mood.
Everyone except my fellow cripple, a couple guys and I get on the other bus. One person comes back to tell us the bus is really crowded. I worry…and wonder out loud if I will get on the bus. “They have to let you on—they can’t just leave you” says the able bodied guy who was waiting. I did not respond but thought of a colleague who was left for almost 24 hours in a rural mountain town while several busses went by and claimed to not have room—despite his prepaid ticket. The nice driver finally came to me and said quietly—lets get you off this bus and I will make it work. We get me off—and I wait outside while he goes in and talks to the second driver—they are in there a long time—and finally he comes out with a smile—VICTORY. I get on the bus and we are in business—several hours later but in business. While others are pleased to finally be on a moving bus I am ecstatic.
I guess this means we have not in fact arrived—as a disability rights advocate it should be that exciting that I was not left on a mountain road or on a broken bus. However I am still pleased that the other passengers were at least concerned and not arguing for us to be left or forming a little angry anti cripple mob—something that has happened in the past and that feels awful. So—maybe we have made some progress—others understood we had a right to be on the bus!
In fact, we have made a lot of progress. It was not too long ago when not every bus had a lift and when it would have been impossible for both busses to have a lift at all. In those days there was a strict 48 hour advance notice even for emergencies. People, including me, were regularly stranded in all sorts of places. The bottom line is that stuff happens when one travels. For people with disabilities when all we have to deal with is the “stuff” that happens to everyone it is a wonderful day! The two “handicapped” people on the bus were the two that had the easiest time managing the disruption because to us inclusion—even inclusion in disruption—was wonderful. The ADA does not guarantee us that things will always work—it does not guarantee us jobs, happiness or anything other than a level playing field to have the same experiences as everyone else. When that happen’s it still feels like a stroke of luck.
Denver artist Raverro Stinnett was at Union Station after attending a LoDo art opening, waiting for a train home early on the morning of April 20, 2018, when he was confronted by four security officers who threatened him and challenged him to a fight. Two of the guards, employed by contractor Allied Universal Security Services, led him to a bathroom and brutally assaulted him while another kept watch; all three later pleaded guilty to criminal charges. Stinnett was left with permanent brain injuries that, according to a lawsuit filed last week, “have completely upended his life.”
From Julie Reiskin, Executive Director, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition
To ensure better outcomes for our community during this unprecedented time, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition is being proactive, compassionate, and conscious in our response to COVID-19.
Please review the following related to our business operations effective immediately and ways you can support our community:
NOTE: If you encounter inaccessible documents, videos without captions, no ASL interpreters, or any other form of disability discrimination in relation to COVID-19, please send us an email at COVID@ccdconline.org. We will take action if necessary.
If you have any other questions or concerns regarding CCDC’s response to COVID-19, email us at COVID@ccdconline.org and a staff member will reply as quickly as possible.
Stay well and remember nothing about us, without us.
Your Friends at CCDC
Nothing About Us Without Us…Ever!
CCDC is a member of OneStrongVoice.org
The Distinctions between Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals and Pets
Written by Andrew Montoya
Most people like animals of all sorts. I mean, what’s not to like about their furry faces, precocious personalities, and constant companionship? People love their animals so much, in fact, that Colorado has become increasingly “pet-friendly,” with restaurants placing water bowls in patio areas and carrying menu items intended for pets, and other establishments like stores and office buildings permitting animals where they once were forbidden. Usually, those animals are dogs, but there has been a marked increase in recent years of other types of animals accompanying folks in public, including snakes and lizards, birds both large and small, and other mammals more often seen at the Stock Show or Denver Zoo. Although there are some safety and sanitary guidelines that prohibit pet-friendly policies, generally restaurants, stores, and other such spots are permitted to allow animals if they so desire. Nevertheless, for some folks, that’s just not good enough. Some of those people have discovered that claiming a disability and purchasing a cute little vest or tag with words like “service animal” or “assistance dog” can not only get their four-legged friends in the door but also can save on things like fees and deposits. Meanwhile, websites boast that, for a low, one-time fee, people can purchase vests, tags, and even letters from medical professionals substantiating the claimed disability. That is, of course, not to say there aren’t legitimate service animal and emotional support animal users who also might have such vests, tags and documentation (even though vests, tags and documentation aren’t required under the law), but the proliferation of online shops has caused many to begin to question service animal users, especially those with invisible disabilities, and has led to conflict between inadequately trained pets and highly trained service animals. That conflict, coupled with the rise of news reports of atypical emotional support animals (or ESAs), such as peacocks and squirrels, being taken on airplanes, has even led to proposals for new laws and new rules at both the state and federal levels.
Under the ADA, a service animal is a dog—and only a dog—that is specially trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability. The ADA regulations also permit miniature horses as a reasonable modification, but dogs are the only specifically identified service animals. Under the ADA, service dogs are permitted to accompany individuals with disabilities in most situations with very limited exceptions, such as sterile operating rooms in hospitals, and are exempt from many fees often associated with pets, such as hotel fees and deposits. In addition, under the ADA, a public entity under Title II and an operator of the place of public accommodation under Title III are only permitted to ask two questions about an animal: (a) whether the animal is a service animal and (b) what tasks the animal performs for the person with a disability. If the answers to both of those questions are yes, then the service animal must be permitted. Moreover, those public entities and places of public accommodation are prohibited from asking for proof of the person’s disability or proof of the animal’s status or training. Although an individual with a disability may have to prove disability if the individual brings a claim or lawsuit later alleging discrimination because of the denial of a service animal, at the time the individual with a disability visits a place of public accommodation or public building operated by a public entity, the ADA only requires answers to these two questions.
Both the FHAA and ACAA, on the other hand, recognize the right of an individual with a disability to have ESAs, and both laws permit a much greater variety of animals than just dogs (or miniature horses). ESAs provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, and neither of these two laws requires the animal to have specialized training. Both laws also often exempt individuals with disabilities with ESAs from many fees associated with pets. To take a slightly deeper dive, much like how the ADA recognizes miniature horses as reasonable modifications, the FHAA also views service animals and emotional support animals as reasonable accommodations. That is, housing providers are required to modify their “no animals” policies to permit both service and emotional support animals for people with disabilities. Although such housing providers may request evidence of the claimed disability if it is not obvious, there are not many regulations or requirements related to animals under the FHAA.
The ACAA, by contrast, has some hoops for travelers to jump through, including requirements that the passenger provide very specific documentation related to the disability and the animal. The ACAA also specifically permits air carriers from prohibiting snakes, ferrets, rodents and spiders, and other animals that are too large to fit safely in the cabin.
Now get ready for the twists and turns, as we walk through a hypothetical scenario. A college student, let’s call him Michael, has an emotional support dog, Rex, that lives with him in his apartment. Michael travels to another city for a vacation. Michael is permitted to keep Rex in his apartment pursuant to the FHAA, but Michael has to put Rex in a crate in order to travel in a cab to Union Station in Denver because Rex isn’t a service animal and that cab is covered by Title III of the ADA. Michael can take Rex out of the crate once at Union Station, however, because Union Station is “pet-friendly.” Once the A Line train arrives to take Michael and Rex to DIA, Michael again has to put Rex back in the crate for the trip. DIA, however, is also “pet-friendly,” so once at the airport, Michael frees Rex again and stops at one of the airport’s new $100,000+ pet relief areas to give Rex a much-needed pit stop. After washing up, Michael decides to stop off at one of DIA’s many restaurants for a quick bite to eat. Unfortunately, though, that restaurant doesn’t permit non-service animals, so it’s back in the crate for poor Rex. After packing up a doggy bag, it’s off to the terminal for Michael and out of the crate once again for Rex.
Rex can stay out of the crate while on the plane because Rex is a documented ESA and is neither an unusual type of animal nor too large. However, once in the air, Rex begins to get a bit jumpy and starts barking at another passenger’s emotional support rabbit, so the flight crew asks Michael to crate Rex until he calms down, which, fortunately, doesn’t take long. A short while later, Michael and Rex land in their destination city and head off to rent a car to drive to their hotel. The rental car company, however, has a sign on the door that reads “service animals only,” so Michael puts Rex back in the crate while he goes inside. The desk agent, however, says that she is allergic to dogs and requires Michael to leave Rex outside entirely, commenting that there will be a significant cleaning fee when Michael returns the car if there is any dog hair left inside as well. Suffice it to say, Michael and Rex leave pretty quickly, without renting a car. Michael then pulls up a rideshare app and orders a vehicle. The driver shows up but, upon seeing Rex, says “no dogs” and drives away. A kind passerby who saw what happened informs Michael that there is a city bus that goes within a couple of blocks of his hotel, so Michael sticks Rex back in the crate and hops on board. Michael is able to uncrate Rex for the walk to the hotel but puts him back in the crate to check in. Unfortunately, Michael didn’t realize that the hotel charged an extra $50 per night as a pet deposit, which renders him broke for the remainder of his trip.
As that hypothetical illustrates, the patchwork of legal obligations from place to place varies a lot, making it pretty difficult to determine what animals are permitted where (and why). It’s easy to see, though, why some people try to pass off their pets as ESAs. Even though ESAs aren’t permitted everywhere, they are permitted in more places than pets (despite the current “pet-friendly” trend) and sometimes without a fee. Contrasting poor Michael’s and Rex’s experiences with those of a service dog user, who is permitted to keep the dog in all of these places Michael and Rex visited (and without being subject to any additional fees), it’s also easy to see why some people claim untrained animals and ESAs as actual service dogs. Although it is easy to understand why folks do this, it’s equally important to understand why doing so is harmful to real service animals and ESAs.
Service animals are critical supports for people with disabilities, allowing for greater independence with an awesome companion in tow. True service animals are generally very well-trained and very well-behaved, so much so that you might not even notice that the dog is there unless it is needed. A guide dog for an individual who is blind and a dog trained to assist an individual who uses a wheelchair to pick things up and assist with opening doors are examples of commonly used service animals. ESAs and pets, on the other hand, often do not receive the level of training that service animals do, and can exhibit less than appropriate behaviors. Things like excessive barking or jumping up (unless these are signals the dog uses to alert their handlers) and attempting to eat from a table can be enough to give the general public pause and put questions in their minds about other ESAs and service animals they may encounter in the future. Inadequately trained animals also can cause significant harm to service animals by interfering with, distracting, or even attacking trained animals. Although there is liability under Colorado state law for attacks on service animals, those sorts of attacks have caused some people with disabilities to have to retire their service animals early, costing them thousands of dollars and potentially months of independence until a different animal is located. And even then, the service animal user is left hoping that the same fate doesn’t befall the new dog. Because of all of the potential harms that can occur to true service animals, even by inadequately trained ESAs, the “pet-friendly” trend can be somewhat alarming. What’s more alarming, though, is the proliferation of websites offering certifications, credentials, letters from medical professionals (who have never personally interacted with the “patient”), and vests for a modest one-time fee. Despite efforts at both the state and federal levels to curb such abuses, these efforts have yet to produce results. It appears inevitable that more restrictions are coming for air carriers, as the Department of Transportation issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on February 5, 2020, related to animals on airplanes. The Colorado Legislature was also considering additional protections for people with disabilities and their service animals and ESAs, but it is unclear whether those efforts will gain traction. Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon all of us pet owners, ESA companions and service animal users to keep all of our fuzzy friends safe and happy. As much as your own Rex might give you those infamous puppy dog eyes, unless Rex is an adequately trained pup, it might be best to just leave him home because failing to do so could result in thousands of dollars in liability, but more importantly, in a person with a disability losing their best friend and their independence.
The Colorado Trust is pleased to share a landscape assessment of community organizing in Colorado. The assessment was conducted to better understand the priority issues of community organizing groups or organizations, their approaches to community organizing, and the unique challenges they face.
This report provides information on where organizing is taking place across the state, who is being organized and around what issues. Characteristics of groups and organizations engaged in community organizing are shared, as well as information on tactics and strategies used, and leadership and governance structures. It also highlights the perspectives and expressed needs of community organizers across Colorado, as well as their successes and challenges in doing this work.
The assessment was conducted by AMGB Consulting from September to November of 2019. Three hundred and thirty community organizing groups or organizations were identified, 181 completed a survey and 40 staff members or organizers participated in an interview or focus group. While the assessment was successful in identifying organizing efforts in urban and rural areas across Colorado, it should be noted that it does not include data from all community organizing groups that are active in the state.
Please contact Abby Bohannan or Mayra Gonzales of AMBG Consulting with any questions about the landscape assessment. For information on advocacy grantmaking at The Colorado Trust, including our new Building and Bridging Power strategy—which will support the work of organizing people and building policy infrastructure (letters of intent are being accepted through Feb. 7, 2020)—please contact Noelle Dorward, advocacy and policy partner at The Colorado Trust.
“Our goal is to provide safe, efficient and comfortable service to all of our passengers. We are pleased to provide additional services to passengers with disabilities, and we have worked to make our facilities more accessible to customers with disabilities.”
The above is a direct quote from the Amtrack website on the Accessible Travel Services page.
The following article is what that reality looked like for two passengers are reported on January 17, 2020, by Joseph Shapiro, Correspondent, NPR Investigations.
“It costs just $16 to buy a one-way ticket on the Amtrak train from Chicago to Bloomington, Ill., unless you’re the two people who use wheelchairs and tried to buy tickets recently. They were told their tickets will cost not $16 — but $25,000.” (Click to read the full NPR article.)
CCDC is pleased to announce that in July 2020, there will be changes to two of the Single Entry Point Agencies (SEP). The Single Entry Point System is a collection of more than 20 state-wide SEPs that provide eligibility determinations and case management for particular Home and Community Based Services Waiver programs. Continue reading “Changes coming to two of the Single Entry Point Agencies (SEP)”