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Category: Uncategorized

RTD’s Light Rail Ramp and High Block Policy Change

 

Investigation date: March 23, 2021. The CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program wants to hear from you regarding whether you have had problems boarding or getting off of light rail trains because people other than those who use wheelchairs and mobility devices are using the ramp and high block to enter and exit the accessible light rail lead train. RTD has had a policy for a long time that requires that the ramp and high block be used only by people who have in their words “legitimate mobility devices and mobility impairments.” See RTD Light Rail High Block Access policy posted on its website which currently reads:

Light Rail High Block Access

The RTD Light Rail high block is a ramp structured for accessibility. The purpose of the high block is to create access to the train for people with mobility devices – mainly wheelchairs. High block use is also for individuals whose physical mobility impairment(s) make it difficult to use the stairs to access RTD’s light rail trains.

The high block is not required to accommodate devices that are not primarily designed or intended to assist persons with mobility disabilities. Devices such as: bicycles, skateboards, shopping carts, two wheeled scooters, luggage, strollers etc., are not designed nor intended to be used as a mobility devices based on a disability. Therefore, these types of items are not allowed on the RTD Light Rail high blocks. RTD Light Rail riders are also not allowed to use the high block for items they have difficulty getting on the train e.g. luggage, strollers, bikes etc.

In order to maintain our accessibility features (Light Rail high block), and for riders safety,RTD will take steps to ensure unobstructed access to the Light Rail high blocks for people with legitimate mobility devices and mobility impairments.

CCDC has reason to believe that RTD now intends to change this long-standing policy as set forth in a document RTD has circulated to the Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities that signals a great shift from this former policy. See Highblock Usage Whitepaper.

If RTD follows through or already has followed through with this policy change, this could very well mean that people who use bicycles, people with very large objects unrelated to mobility impairments, people with strollers and people with grocery carts and more would be allowed on the ramp and high block. If that is the case, CCDC is concerned that individuals who have legitimate mobility impairments and who use legitimate mobility devices (in RTD’s words) could be blocked from boarding a light rail vehicle. Moreover, it is unclear from the whitepaper where RTD intends for these individuals to place themselves once they board the lead vehicle using the ramp and high block. It seems the only available space would be the designated wheelchair-accessible areas which are required to be maintained as accessible and usable by people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices.

CCDC and 17 CCDC members who use wheelchairs and mobility devices reached a settlement agreement with RTD in a lawsuit specifically addressing the accessibility of the designated required wheelchair seating areas. The settlement agreement required RTD to increase the size of the wheelchair-accessible areas on all of its existing trains and 129 new vehicles it was in the process of purchasing. See RTD Settlement Agreement and Light Rail Lawsuit. Feedback from CCDC members has been very positive about the changes made to the wheelchair seating areas.

 

 

CCDC is confused as to why RTD would suddenly change its long-standing policy that predated the lawsuit and settlement regarding wheelchair accessible seating to allow any person who does not use a wheelchair or other mobility device to block access to the ramp and high block and to sit in the only available seating section designated by the ADA for people who use wheelchairs and mobility devices. See Light Rail Lawsuit and Class Action Settlement. This policy change points light rail operators in an untenable position in trying to moderate who should be using the ramp and high block and sitting in what locations on the light rail vehicles. Light rail operators do not assist with seating in this area as a general matter. As CCDC understands it, light rail vehicle operators generally board passengers who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices by lowering the ramp at the high block, letting the person on, raising the ramp and reentering the operator cabin. RTD used to post signs on its light rail vehicles telling people with bicycles they could bring them on light rail vehicles, but they were specifically prohibited from having them behind the driver cabin or entering the trains using high block and ramp. CCDC would much prefer RTD maintain its long-standing policy barring individuals other than those with the legitimate need from using those areas.

If you have had or have any difficulties boarding a train because you are blocked by people on the ramp and the high block who are using the ramp in high block but do not have a mobility impairment or wheelchair, or if you have been prevented from accessing the required designated wheelchair seating area because people who are not using wheelchairs or mobility devices are occupying those spaces, we want to hear from you. The settlement agreement regarding designated wheelchair seating areas on light rail trains and other accessibility issues is still monitored by the CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program, and we want to hear from you.

If you have experienced either of these problems, please contact CCDC’s Legal Program Assistant at ccdclpa@ccdconline.org. You will want to leave your name, the best contact information in time to reach you and best method. It is also very important that you keep track of the light rail line you are using when the incident happens, the exact time of day, what direction you are headed on that light rail line and whether you have already complained to RTD or anyone else. It is very important that individuals who experience the problem report the problem themselves rather than having someone else report it for them.

Thank you for your assistance as we continue to monitor the required accessibility of light rail vehicles for people who use wheelchairs and mobility devices. Remember, although RTD may use a slogan that states, “the ADA is everyone’s responsibility,” it is actually RTD’s responsibility under the ADA to make sure the designated wheelchair seating area is maintained so that it is accessible to those who need it.

Transit News Updates

Written and compiled by Jaime Lewis, CCDC Transit Advisor
September 2020
  • Bustang (Trinidad)
  • Layfayette Free Ride
  • RTD Summary
  • RTD Elections
  • Business Highlight

Bustang service is adding new connections in 2021. 

In January, the service will extend from Pueblo to Trinidad.  Bustang is an over the highway bus that is fully accessible.  The service connects people to rural parts of the state.  Other routes to be established in 2021 include Sterling to Greely, Telluride to Grand Junction, and Craig to Denver.  For more information and fares see www.ridebustang.com


Ride Free Layfayette

Boulder County Transit is now offering Ride Free Layfayette, a free on-demand, door-to-door bus service that connects people to places within the City of Lafayette.

  • This service will connect to the Kresnal Community in Louisville.
  • The service is open to all and there are no limits to how often you can ride.

“ A friend told me about the service when it premiered early this summer. I dismissed it. I was sure there was a catch and I wouldn’t be able to ride…because of my chair or some other reason. I was leaving work a few days later when a driver for the service asked if I was the person who requested a ride. So excited, he told me how it all worked. I smiled, thanked him and thought to myself, this is too good to be true. Then… last month another friend curious about the service challenged me to ride. She saw someone step off of a Via bus for happy hour at a local bar and asked what are you doing on Access-a – ride. He said I’m not and explained it’s a new transportation service. At first, I said no to the challenge dreading what the possibility would entail to then be denied. After thinking about it for a few minutes I decided to try. From Googling the number, calling dispatch and boarding the bus was less than 20 minutes. I felt the usual fight and pride I feel every time I roll onto an RTD bus plus something unexpected… VALUED!”

App services Uber and Lyft upgraded decades-old transportation opportunities for many but not people with disabilities … And a discount program for low-income individuals excluded access-a-ride passengers. Unlike that. Lafayette Free Ride is a model transportation service and a helpful cog for public transportation.

Dawn Russell,
Lafayette Resident, ADAPT Activist

For more information on Ride Free Layfayette go to www.cityoflayfayette.com


RTD ELECTIONS

There are three competitive races for the RTD Board of Directors. They include:

  • District G:  Julien Bouquet vs. Ken Mihalik (incumbent)
  • District H: Roger Edwards vs. Ragan Byrd vs. Doug Tisdale (incumbent)
  • District E: Uncontested: Paul Rosenthal (seat is open)
  • District A:  Kyle Bradell vs. Kate Williams (incumbent)

    CCDC requested each candidate to provide their platform or efforts in addressing accessibility for the elderly and disabled through transit.
    (DNR) = Did not Response


DISTRICT G – 2 Candidates

Ken Mihalik

Currently, RTD has two resident committees that aid and guide policies related to disabled passengers.

Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities

Access-a-Ride Paratransit Advisory committee

I am entirely supportive of elevating the attention given to these two groups by having more direct participation with the Board.

I opposed the increase to Access-a-Ride fares in 2018. I have and will continue, to support the addition of new technologies and services like 3rd party providers and the use of travel vouchers that give more flexibility and options to riders.

Despite an upheaval of daily routines this last year, the one thing that hasn’t changed is that we continue to get older as a population.

Currently, seniors have a 50% fare discount. No less important, the facilities and vehicles need to be clean and safe and services need to be reliable in order for people (of all ages) to ride. Older people may also benefit from a voucher program that offers greater flexibility and access.

Julien Bouquet

One of my first initiatives I would like to spearhead as a director would be lowering train and bus fares. This would also include lowering the discounted fares for elderly and disabled riders. We are one of the most expensive transportation networks in the entire country, and I want RTD to match the fare rates of other cities. I want to make sure all our riders do not feel priced out of using our services, especially riders who are reliant on RTD for their daily transportation needs.

I want all our riders to feel that they had a positive experience using RTD. That includes the price of fares, the ease of reaching a train or bus stop, the ease of accessing the vehicle, the cooperation of RTD staff with helping riders, and of course the ride itself. This is crucial for riders who use RTD as their sole means of transportation. As a director, I want riders to feel they have had a positive experience riding for every ride. I want to make sure our trains and buses arrive on time. I want to make sure all our vehicles have accessible features. And I want to make sure we keep RTD routes that people are truly reliant on.

I actually would love to hear from riders with disabilities and/or elderly riders. I want to know specifically how riders feel regarding overall accessibility, how riders feel about the Free Travel Training Program, and how route limitations, due to COVID, has had an effect on overall travel. If you or the CCDC would be interested, I would like to host a virtual listening session to hear from elderly riders and riders with disabilities. I want our riders to feel they have a voice.

If you are interested, let me know and we can begin planning a date. I also understand if there is already too much on your, or CCDC’s calendar. Thank you again for reaching out. I hope to speak with you in the future!


DISTRICT H – 3 Candidates

Roger Edwards

You asked for my platform on accessibility. I don’t have a platform. As you know the office of the Board of Directors is a nonpartisan office. Board members are there to provide governance for the staff. RTD has an internal function that addresses accessibility and I’m sure will advocate for that community.

My goal for RTD is excellence in public policy and that includes accessibility and many other aspects of serving the public.

Ragan Byrd – DNR
Doug Tisdale – DNR

District E – Uncontested

Paul Rosenthal

I’m very much interested in hearing your ideas for RTD. I’ve checked your website, and I agree with your motto of “nothing about us without us”. I read some of your documents, and I know that I can be an advocate for greater access, efficiency, and equity for people with disabilities on the RTD Board. I will be succeeding and speak regularly with Claudia Folska, who is visually impaired.

Even if the issue is more about city council, like not enough room on a sidewalk to get into a bus shelter, I can reach out to the appropriate authorities to advocate for you.

As you may know of my time in the legislature, I did extensive outreach to keep in touch with my constituents and with stakeholders on bills. I also included people and organizations who had never been in the Capitol building. So, I hope we’ll develop a close working relationship when I get on the board in January.


DISTRICT A – 2 Candidates

Kyle Bradell

I am Kyle Bradell and I am a candidate for RTD District A. For whatever reason, RTD appears to make accessibility and quality of service for the elderly and the disabled on the trains, buses, and Access-a-Rides difficult. I am sure it is not done on purpose. However, the decisions that this agency has taken over 30 years along with its slow-moving decision process makes me think they lack an understanding how to manage a transit system. As an example, the past three years I have been a volunteer member of RTD’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities (ACPD). At the August 2019 meeting, RTD wanted the Committee’s input on what to do with the increasing cases of riders using the wheelchair ramps (aka high-blocks) at light rail stations who are not disabled. These riders include people with scooters, luggage, bikes, baby carriages, etc. I provided a few ideas and solutions. One solution I shared was to have a simple sign installed that states: No Bicycles, No Scooters, No Baby Carriages, No Luggage. Nothing fancy, just straight to the point. Sadly, it has been over a year now and RTD has yet to make a decision — on a simple sign that would make it easier for disabled riders using the light rail ramps. I want to make it easier for the disabled and the elderly to use RTD. Here are just a few ideas and solutions I have to make life easier when using RTD:

1. Retrofit the light rail trains and stations similar to Dallas’ rail system. A retrofit will allow wheelchair riders additional access to board light rail trains than the present one door. This stems to the early 1990s when RTD bought the wrong kind of train.

2. RTD and the City of Denver need to include “heated sidewalks” the entire length of 16th Street Mall as part of the renovation project. “Heated sidewalks” would be a tremendous benefit to everyone strolling along 16th Street when there is snow. The elderly would be able to walk safely on dry sidewalks and the disabled, such as people in wheelchairs, would not be blocked by huge piles of snow and ice.

3. For bus stop improvements, I would like to see a sign installed at each stop informing riders who is responsible for the maintenance of the bus stop during snow storms, for example. Presently, one must call RTD and inform them the bus stop is inaccessible. RTD, then, contacts the respective government jurisdiction responsible for the bus stop and tells them to shovel the snow. I recommend for better operations of RTD that signs be posted saying which government jurisdiction is responsible for the bus stop along with a phone number. Thereby, one can bypass RTD completely and tell the city or county that the bus stop cannot be accessed.

These are just three solutions to make RTD more accessible for everyone while planning for the future. I have travelled to 56 countries around the world and, most of the time, I use public transportation. I have experienced and observed metro systems and I know what works and what doesn’t work. It’s time to tweak and streamline RTD so that everyone gets the most bang for their buck! Sincerely, Kyle Bradell Candidate for RTD District A www.kyleforrtd.com.

Kate Willaims

I am Kate Williams – I am the incumbent Director, District A, which basically geographically is Colfax south to Yale and I25 East to Yosemite- and this is a nonpartisan position that I have held for almost four years now. My predecessors are Bill James and Bill Elfenbein; I still meet with them both often and have learned how RTD became what it is today.
My first big news – RTD is in the process of hiring the first black female GM in our 50-year history –there were great candidates, and it was a very hard decision – with many hours of work.

I am a longtime advocate for older adults & those with disabilities – some of my prior positions include being a Resource Coordinator for the Blind (I made actual house calls); acting as the Executive Director of the largest provider of transit in Douglas County, which still is the Castle Rock Senior Center; and running a sports center for persons with disabilities in Florida, Shake A Leg Miami.

Now – I run RTD, and I run DRMAC, the Denver Regional Mobility & Access Council. You can read more on our website: https://www.drmac-co.org/about/our-vision/. For 15 years DRMAC has been helping older adults and persons with disabilities with transportation options; it is my “dream job”. It is what I do all day, every day; I live, work, use, and am dedicated to transit and to riders.

I am a Certified Community Transit Manager; I am a graduate of the Transit Alliance Citizen’s Academy; I run the CDOT Regional Coordinating Council for this area; I have chaired the RTD Operations and Customer Service committee for 3 years. I am on RTD’s ACPD (Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities); I serve on many other related committees, boards, advisory councils, and task forces. I have shared my office with a disability transit advocate who uses a wheelchair.
Some quick RTD facts – RTD covers 2,700 square miles, we have over 1,000 buses, and two types of trains. Do you know the difference between light rail and commuter rail, and which of our lines are which? (Everything north is commuter rail and all south is light rail- and they are very different). Pre COVID, we averaged 365,000 riders daily; now we are averaging 150,000 riders across the network.

I was asked to run based on my work in the community in transit and advocacy; I spend a lot of time in my District and throughout the larger RTD footprint – out in front of my local grocery I hear over and over that older adults who may someday not be able to drive need good transit services; essential workers need to be able to get to work; kids need to get to school. I believe that transit is a social determinate of health, and statistics show that those who depend on public transportation use it for access to health care, food sources, schools, social services, and more. My platform started with and still includes the need for more smaller shorter cheaper local circulators, with lots of mid-day runs. We want all of our public transportation to be different). Pre COVID, we averaged 365,000 riders daily; now we are averaging 150,000 riders across the network.

I was asked to run based on my work in the community in transit and advocacy; I spend a lot of time in my District and throughout the larger RTD footprint – out in front of my local grocery I hear over and over that older adults who may someday not be able to drive need good transit services; essential workers need to be able to get to work; kids need to get to school. I believe that transit is a social determinate of health, and statistics show that those who depend on public transportation use it for access to health care, food sources, schools, social services, and more. My platform started with and still includes the need for more smaller shorter cheaper local circulators, with lots of mid-day runs. We want all of our public transportation to be accessible, safe, clean, available, and dependable.

That is who I am, and this is what I do – transit, 24/7. I have spent 4 years learning the RTD system and finding out how to be effective for issues that affect all riders. It takes time to figure out what works and what does not – what is good for the people in my community – and what can be changed. I would like to have another 4 years to continue that work – I would like to see RTD move out of the current morass that we are in and into what we all envision it could and should be.


RTD SUMMARY (opinion by Jaime Lewis)

RTD’s efficiency and ability to increase ridership has been a challenge for them for the last five years. Rising cost, lower than expected ridership on new light rail trains, and of course COVID, has put this essential infrastructure for citizens mobility in dire straits.

In 2019, RTD established a Reimagine project. It was an effort to gather input from all corners of business, government, and stakeholders to imagine what RTD could look like in 2040. Unfortunately, as RTD’s financial problems started mounting, including a driver shortage and COVID the group’s focus was re-directed to what would it take to ensure RTD could survive the perfect storm.

Overwhelmingly, the needle starts pointing to a smaller operating area, lower frequency in outlying areas, and an assertive effort to increase the quality of service in high use areas.

A majority of these areas include low-income neighborhoods and communities that depend on RTD to get them to work. As you imagine, most of these areas are in urban areas of the district.

Current conditions will remain in place through the first two quarters of 2021. The run board, as they refer to it, will not change until RTD’s records increase in ridership. This is where RTD fails to serve its customers. How and why would a person want to return to RTD services if there is no improvement to service quality?

Ridership will not increase until RTD improves service in urban areas, though that action will cut deeper into their finances.

It’s the old adage, what came first, the chicken or the egg.

RTD, take care of your customers first.


Jaime’s Business Highlight

One of the things that drive me to be an advocate is to see the freedom and opportunities that people can take advantage of. The activities and access that seem so easy for people without a disability is often a challenge for our community members.

I’ve started highlighting places that have done an exceptional job preparing and making their business accessible. Not only complying with the law but fulfilling the spirit of the law. I will also report on places that are not in compliance.

Each entity I identify will be judged by basic criteria like:

  • Accessible entrance (power door)
  • Are their obstacles in the way?
  • Variety of table heights
  • Accessible restrooms
  • Staff attitudes

Of course, this list cannot be totally comprehensive because every business is different. However, we will apply a grade to each business visited to provide you with information on how accessible they are.

  • Level One Certification – There are no obvious obstacles or violations in the business. Employees are helpful and make every effort to make visitors welcome.
  • Level Two Certification – There are one or two issues that should be addressed but would not prevent a person from enjoying business.
  • Level Three – There are several violations that may impede a person from enjoying business.
  • Level Four – Not recommended for use.

URBAN PUTT

There is this outrageous show on Thursday nights called Holy Moly. It’s an over the top display of miniature golf. The program brought back such fond memories of the game, it prompted me to google “wheelchair accessible mini golf Denver”. To my surprise, there was a hit – Urban Putt.

Urban Putt is a restaurant/mini-golf course located at the Old Spaghetti Factory located at 1201 18th St. Denver, CO 80202.

Alex Lane, course manager, and Kete Blonigen were kind enough to talk to me after my first round. They were open to suggestions and changes that I presented to them that would make the experience enjoyable for people using mobility devices.

I was able to maneuver with my power chair about 85% of the course. Alex and Kete are currently making the changes that will make the course 100% accessible.

Urban Putt is following State guidelines for COVID prevention providing sanitized putters and balls. The staff wears masks and are constantly cleaning.
They offer a grabber stick for those who would have difficulty picking up the ball from the hole or floor. Some of the holes are quite adventurous and some are dark for special effects. For those with sight issues, bringing a small flashlight may not be a bad idea.

Urban Putt also has a full bar and an Americana food menu.

RATING 3

Note: Urban Putt passed most of the criteria that we expect from a fully accessible venue. However, there is no power door opener in the front. Each time that I have attended the staff was ready and willing to have the second door open for you as you enter.

www.Urbanputt.com/location/Denver

History Colorado Guest Blog — 30th ADA Anniversary

To Live as Full and Equal Participants: Thirty Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Kevin W. Williams
Guest Blog Contributor, Civil Rights Legal Program Director, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition

appeared July 20, 2020 History, Colorado

 

 

 

Colorado Statewide Primary Election – Computer Assistance with Your Ballot

On June 30, Colorado will be holding a statewide primary election. The printed ballots for this election are scheduled to be mailed out on Monday, June 8. Starting on that day, any registered voter in Colorado who has a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (blindness qualifies) will be able to retrieve a ballot, mark the ballot online, print both the ballot and the ballot application, and sign the ballot application. The ballot and signed application are then mailed together to the voter’s county clerk or dropped off at an authorized dropbox or polling facility. You will need a computer, tablet, or smartphone; access to the Internet; and a printer that can be reached from the computer, tablet, or smartphone.

You should point your browser to https://myballot.sos.colorado.gov. From this page, you can choose to vote a ballot or view your sample ballot. If you are an uncommitted voter (i.e., no party affiliation), you will be able to choose a Democratic, Republican, or Libertarian ballot.

  • To vote a ballot, you need to supply the following verification information:
    • Your first and last name,
    • Your date of birth,
    • Your county, and
    • Your State ID number or the last four digits of your Social Security Number.
  • Immediately after you have been verified, the ballot is presented on screen. You can then mark the ballot and ensure that all of the choices are correct using your screen reader.
  • Once the ballot has been marked and verified, the system will prompt you to print both the ballot and a ballot application form. The application form will already have been filled out by the system prior to printing. You must sign the application in the blank area at the bottom of the application page. If you forget this important step, your ballot will be rejected. If you cannot see the print on the page at all, you can be assured that the bottom half of the application page is blank. This is where you can place your signature.
  • You should place both the ballot and the printed application in an envelope, write “Official Ballot enclosed” on the envelope beneath the delivery address, and return the envelope to your county clerk either at a dropbox, voter service and polling center or through the mail. It is important that you include the signed application with your ballot; this is the only way that your county clerk will be able to validate your ballot.
  • You can insert the ballot and ballot application into the return envelope that you received in the mail as a part of the regular ballot mailing process, but if you do this, you must be sure to sign your name on the left side of the back of the ballot return envelope.
  • You can visit the website www.govotecolorado.com to update your voter registration information; this information needs to be current in order to access the online ballot marking system. You can also visit this website to find the nearest voter service and polling center and dropbox or to check on the status of your ballot.

Finally, if you want to know how to get in touch with your county clerk, you can download a PDF file containing the complete Roster of County Clerks and Recorders at this link: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Resources/files/CountyClerkRosterWebsite.pdf.

This file is accessible to screen reading technology for the blind.

Discover What’s Possible When Information and Technology are Accessible

For six months; at no cost, we are sharing a tool designed to make information and technology more accessible. The tool, an Emergency Response Desktop Suite is available to 500 Colorado adults with developmental disabilities.

The ERDS:

  • Provides accessible information about the coronavirus and how to stay well
  • Empowers people with new ways to stay in touch with others
  • Encourages people to connect with the community

The ERDS makes information more accessible and computers easier to use by:

  • Simplifying navigation of a computer
  • Providing pictures or videos to inform, teach tasks, and support independence
  • Making email accessible with a text reader and audio recording feature
  • Including video conferencing through Skype
  • Sharing ways to relax and to have fun from home

The ERDS is available to Colorado adults with developmental disabilities who:

  • Participate in advocacy with Speaking For Ourselves of Colorado, or who
  • Do not live with family, or who
  • Are living with family temporarily because of the coronavirus, and
  • Have an email address and an internet connection, and also
  • Have a desktop, laptop, or tablet computer with Windows 10, or an Apple computer with a Windows compatibility layer

To get the Emergency Response Desktop Suite visit https://www.colemaninstitute.org/covid-19/and complete the engagement form. If you have questions please contact Joelle Brouner at joelle.brouner@state.co.us or Shea Tanis at Shea.Tanis@cu.edu.

“I still have not found the right words.”

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


Please see and share our website on disability-specific issues related to COVID 19 in Colorado
Sincerely,
Julie Reiskin,  Executive Director
Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition
1385 S. Colorado Blvd. Suite 610-A   Denver*, CO 80222
Organizational Line 303-839-1775
If you do not have a seat at the table it is likely you are on the menu Elizabeth Warren (D).
Get involved in politics as if your life depends on it because it does!  Justin Dart (R)
*Denver is on the occupied land of the Ute, Arapaho, and Cheyenne people
NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US — EVER

Cómo Improvisar PPE (siglas en Inglés) Equipo de Protección Personal en una emergencia.

English/Español

Los hospitales y los médicos no son los únicos con escasez de equipo de protección personal.  Los miembros de la comunidad con discapacidades que dependen de cuidado en casa, también utilizan este equipo.

  1. Utilice bolsas de basura cortando un hoyo para la cabeza para batas de un solo uso y luego tírelas.
  2. Si tiene lavadora de ropa, compre unos pares de ropa de enfermero (scrubs) y pida a su asistente que se cambie en cuanto llegue y lave esta ropa en cuanto la asistente se vaya.
  3. Compre o cosa una mascarilla, corte una playera o una bandana (pañuelo de algodón para el cuello), esto no da suficiente protección contra el COVID-19, pero el CDC (Centro de Control de Enfermedades), dice que estos pañuelos son mejor que nada para ayudar a reducir la dispersión del virus debido a tos o partículas volátiles de un asistente a un cliente. Si un Asistente tiene tos, no debe estar trabajando.
  4. Sustituya los guantes lavables por guantes médicos.  Además de lavarlos por dentro y por fuera, riéguelos con una mezcla de 10 a 12 partes de agua por una parte de cloro.
  5. En cuanto llegue y antes de ponerse los guantes, pídale a su asistente que se lave las manos a fondo, incluyendo las yemas, bajo las uñas y las muñecas. Y antes de lavarse, debe limpiar todas las superficies que haya  tocado, si no tiene otro desinfectante, pídale que use jabón antibacterial con agua caliente.  Si tiene que usar toallas, éstas deben lavarse después de cada uso.

Servicios de Emergencia para personas con discapacidades.

English/Español

La División de Derechos de Personas con discapacidad de Denver, le anima a tomar las medidas necesarias para estar preparado para las emergencias, mientras se mantiene calmado.

Aunque los restaurantes y bares se les ha pedido cerrar el servicio interior por 8 semanas, muchos restaurantes se mantienen abiertos con comida para llevar, para entrega a domicilio y para auto servicio.  Además permanecen abiertos negocios que prestan servicios esenciales como farmacias, tiendas de comida, hospitales y clínicas, bancos, estaciones de gasolina y el transporte público. 

Suministros y Planificación

Es bueno mantener en la casa suficientes suministros para 3 a 5 días, algunas sugerencias son:

  • Equipo de primeros auxilios
  • Comida enlatada
  • Comida para su mascota
  • Productos d higiene
  • Comida que dure
  • Medicinas de venta libre
  • Agua
  • Comida seca y/o deshidratada
  • Desinfectantes
  • Linterna/lámpara de mano
  • Papel higiénico
  • Baterías y cargadores

Además, las recomendaciones básicas (lavarse las manos con frecuencia, no tocarse los ojos, la nariz o la boca, permanecer en casa si está enfermo) también recomendamos lo siguiente:

  • Prepare un plan en su casa:
    • Hable con sus vecinos acerca de sus planes y considere la posibilidad de intercambiar recursos
    • Piense alguna forma de separar miembros de la familia que se enfermen de los otros
    • Elabore un listado de emergencia que incluya amigos, familia, vecinos, médicos y recursos comunitarios que usted utilice regularmente cuando necesita
    • Junte y guarde en lugar seguro documentos importantes como certificados de nacimiento, tarjetas de seguro social, licencias, pasaportes, testamento y documentos relativos a su propiedad.
  • Cree una lista para cualquier persona que responda a una emergencia que describa:
    • Cualquier condición médica y requisitos que un médico o personal de emergencia  deba saber
    • una lista de medicinas y suministros médicos necesarios para su cuidado médico
    • Cualquier alergia a medicinas o alimentos
  • Comparta información con las autoridades, acerca de los requerimientos de supervivencia
    • Si usted utiliza algún aparato de supervivencia que requiera electricidad, notifique al Departamento de Seguridad Pública de Denver (vea abajo la referencia) y a su proveedor de electricidad para ver si lo pueden poner en lista de prioridad de reconexión.

Comunicaciones de Emergencia

El Departamento de Seguridad Pública de Denver brinda la oportunidad de entregar información sobre usted y otros miembros de su casa que tengan discapacidades, para que 911 pueda responder adecuadamente durante una emergencia.  Su información permanece confidencial y permite a los oficiales contar con la información necesaria antes de responder durante una emergencia.

Por favor busque la información y el formulario para registrarse al final de la página aquí.  Emergency Services Communications for Special Needs Services (Comunicaciones a los Servicios de Emergencia para Servicios a las Necesidades Especiales).

Manténgase al Día

El Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente estará vigilando permanentemente la situación del COVID-19 y publicará las actualizaciones a través de la página Denvergov.org y los servicios de correo electrónico de la División de Derechos de los Discapacitados.  Para que lo agreguen a la lista del servicio, por favor mande su solicitud a Disabilityaccess@denvergov.org.

Por último, si surgiera alguna situación que debemos saber, por favor envíe un correo a Disabilityaccess@denvergov.org

También puede comunicar cualquier necesidad relacionada con la discapacidad, discriminación u otra pregunta a covid@ccdconline.org.

Carta al gobernador en relación a la supervivencia de las personas con discapacidad durante la pandemia del COVID-19

Lea la carta escrita por nuestra Directora Ejecutiva y varias organizaciones afines al gobernador Jared Polis, en relación a la supervivencia de las personas con discapacidad durante la pandemia COVID-19.

  1. Colorado Cross-Disability  Coalition
  2. 1385 S Colorado Blvd., #610-A
  3. Denver, CO 80222

 

  1. Julie Reiskin
  2. Directora Ejecutiva
  3. Jreiskin@ccdconline.org
  4. 720.961.4261 (Directo)
  5. 303.648.6262 (Fax)

March 25, 2020 vía Correo Electrónico

  1. Honorable Jared Polis
  2. Colorado State Capitol
  3. 200 E. Colfax Room 136
  4. Denver, CO 80203

Re: Supervivencia de las personas con discapacidad durante la pandemia COVID-19

Deseamos comenzar esta carta agradeciéndole por su extraordinario liderazgo durante esta crisis. A diferencia de nuestros compañeros en otros estados, hemos sido incluidos en las decisiones de políticas y estamos trabajando de cerca con miembros de su equipo (como Elizabeth Arenales) y su gabinete (Kim Bimestefer, Michelle Barnes, Jill Hunsaker-Ryan y otros.  Apreciamos el estar involucrados y que nos permitan ayudar a su administración a tomar las mejores decisiones en esta horrenda situación.

Las personas con discapacidad y con problemas crónicos de salud son doblemente vulnerables durante esta crisis del COVID-19, ellas son vulnerables de adquirir el virus, sufrir efectos más severos, así como también son vulnerables a sufrir discriminación de los servicios de salud y que se les niegue el cuidado necesario.  Como resultado, las personas con discapacidad y enfermedades crónicas están experimentando creciente miedo y ansiedad, además de cualquier síntoma físico de la infección viral. Necesitamos su liderazgo continuo para comunicar y asegurar que Colorado protegerá el derecho y el acceso de las personas con discapacidad de todas las edades,  al cuidado necesario. 

Colorado posee una comunidad de personas con discapacidad fuerte y unida que incluye a ADAPT, Centers for Independent Living, Capítulos de ARC, Disability Law Colorado, numerosas organizaciones que representan grupos de discapacidades específicas como Colorado Mental Wellnes Network, The National Federation of the Blind Colorado Chapter, así como Colorado Commission for the deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind. Colorado Cross Disability Coalition  (CCDC) es la organización más grande que abarca todo el estado y está compuesta y dirigida por y para personas con todo tipo de discapacidades, estamos trabajando para coordinar con esta maravillosa comunidad para ayudar con información actualizada, opiniones y diseminación hacia su equipo en asuntos de políticas.  Nos consideramos afortunados de contar con esta comunidad fuerte y unida.  Esta carta ha sido escrita en representación de  varias de estas organizaciones, queríamos enviarla pronto, por ello no tomamos el tiempo para que todos firmaran físicamente, pero por favor note las organizaciones que firman más abajo.

CCDC y las demás le agradecen las acciones prontas y decisivas que ha tomado para proteger a la población de Colorado del COVID-19, reducir la propagación del virus y aplanar la curva.  Su liderazgo protegerá a las personas con discapacidades y sus familias de la rápida propagación del virus, incluyendo los incrementos diarios de muertes. Nuestra comunidad le pide ahora que tome los siguientes pasos para asegurar que las personas con discapacidad reciban un cuidado de salud efectivo y equitativo, lo que a su vez, contribuirá a mantener la salud de todos los coloradenses.

Prevenir y Prohibir el “Racionamiento” Médico Basado en la Discapacidad.

La perspectiva de escasez de personal y equipo médico, para tratar a aquellos severamente enfermos por el COVID-19, ha traído a discusión el  “racionamiento”  del cuidado médico.

La crisis del coronavirus representa retos serios para nuestros sistemas de salud, pero la ley federal, incluyendo la ADA, Sección 504, la Sección 1557 de la ACA, y Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA)-Ley Anti Discriminación de Colorado- prohíben cualquiera y toda medida de “racionamiento” por parte de entidades públicas o privadas, en base a cualquier discapacidad.  Negar servicios a personas discapacitadas que pudieran beneficiarse de los mismos es ilegal.

Más aún, las acciones prontas y eficientes ahora, pueden prevenir y/o aminorar la necesidad de decisiones insostenibles de racionamiento.  Existen reservas adicionales de ventiladores y otros equipos médicos en los hospitales y en el Departamento de Defensa de los Estados Unidos y en los Centros para Control y Prevención de Enfermedades¹.  Colorado debe seguir sus enunciados de política para localizar estas reservas en base a la necesidad objetiva, y distribuirlas por todo el estado a fin de que los trabajadores de salud las tengan en el sitio donde se necesitan.²   Si se supone que estos equipos y suministros pueden ser insuficientes, Colorado debe procurar mayores cantidades de equipo y suministros.

Las personas esperan información objetiva, honestidad y seguridad.  Como Gobernador, usted es la persona indicada para comunicar los esfuerzos que realiza el estado y así aliviar el miedo y la ansiedad que se ha extendido entre las poblaciones vulnerables, incluyendo los coloradenses discapacitados.

Pedimos con carácter urgente al Gobernador y las agencias estatales, que emitan directivas a los planes de salud, seguros, hospitales y otros proveedores de servicios médicos, que cumplan sus obligaciones ante las leyes estatales y federales sobre no discriminación por discapacidad, durante la crisis por el coronavirus, lo que incluye la asignación de recursos médicos escasos.  Estas directivas deberán incluir lo siguiente:

  • La presencia de una discapacidad, incluyendo una discapacidad significativa, no es una base permisible para negar a las personas acceso al cuidado o para darle menor prioridad en el cuidado.
  • El hecho que una persona con discapacidad tenga menores posibilidades de sobrevivir, no es una base permisible para negarle el cuidado, o para asignarle menor prioridad para recibir la atención que necesita, estas personas tienen derecho a recibir atención en base de igualdad a las demás.
  • El hecho que una persona con discapacidad pueda requerir acomodación razonable durante el tratamiento o tratamiento más intensivo, no es una base permisible para negarle el tratamiento, o asignarle menor prioridad.
  • Todas las decisiones médicas sobre el cuidado, deben basarse en las evidencias médicas objetivas y actualizadas y no sobre suposiciones generales acerca de la discapacidad de la persona.  Las decisiones sobre el tratamiento no se deberán hacer sobre la idea equivocada que las personas con discapacidad tienen una menor calidad de vida.

Se debe permitir a las entidades cubiertas, priorizar a quienes tienen mayor urgencia de atención y demorar a quienes presentan menos urgencia.  No tienen que asignar recursos escasos a personas que no tienen una posibilidad razonable de sobrevivir.  Pero las personas con discapacidad no deben encarar discriminación al buscar cuidado para mantener la vida, si se pueden beneficiar de ello.  La vida de las personas con discapacidad es igual de valiosa que la de las personas sin capacidad.   Las decisiones de cuidado de salud basadas en devaluar la vida de una persona discapacitada son discriminatorias.  Los beneficios deben darse en base a la evidencia médica, no en suposiciones sobre la vida del paciente.

Asegurar el Acceso a Servicios en el Hogar y la Comunidad y Servicios Relacionados.

Las personas con diferentes discapacidades que dependen de asistencia para el cuidado personal, enfrentan un dilema durante la crisis del COVID-19.  Ninguna persona con discapacidad debiera tener que escoger entre pescar un virus que es potencialmente mortal o recibir la atención que necesita para realizar actividades fundamentales como utilizar el baño, vestirse, comer, etc. Los asistentes de cuidado personal, sean o no pagados, no deberían tener que realizar su trabajo sin equipo de protección  para asegurar su bienestar y el continuo bienestar de su familia y de los demás clientes con discapacidad, o enfrentar el dilema ético de brindar los servicios, mientras se comienzan a  sentir  enfermos.

Las siguientes medidas se necesitan para preservar el bienestar de las personas con discapacidad, mientras se encuentran resguardadas:

  • Establecer fondos para pagar a todo asistente personal, que no pueda trabajar los horarios regulares, sea por enfermedad o porque debe entrar en cuarentena al haber sido expuesto, esto también debe cubrir cualquier cliente del programa CDASS de Medicaid  y clientes de pago privado. Las agencias privadas de cuidado en el hogar, grandes y pequeñas, deberían poder disponer de fondos otorgados para pagar a sus trabajadores
  • Establecer fondos y registros de asistentes personales (PCA), de pago público o privado, que funcionen como sustitutos y establecer un flujo de personal alternativo, a fin de que los servicios de atención personal puedan darse cuando el asistente asignado no pueda trabajar.
  • Proveer y distribuir eficientemente equipo protector para los asistentes personales pagados y no pagados, lo que incluye familia, amigos y voluntarios que están prestando servicios de atención personal. Mientras la escasez haga esto imposible, proveer fondos para sustitutos como bolsas de basura, guantes de limpieza, respiradores industriales, trajes de enfermero (scrubs), etc.
  • Continuar incluyendo a los proveedores específicos de las personas con discapacidad, (pagados o no, en contrato formal o no) dentro de los lineamientos guías, en las categorías de “negocios esenciales” y “personal esencial”, tal como los asistentes de cuidado personal públicos y privados, transporte público y “paratransit”, proveedores por contrato privado de “Non Emergency Medical Transportation” (NEMT), proveedores y reparadores de equipo médico durable y veterinarios.

Aún interrupciones cortas en servicios de los asistentes personales, pueden conducir a empeoramiento de la salud y a hospitalización o institucionalización innecesarias y contrarias a los principios adoptados por la Corte Suprema en Olmstead v.L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999).  Estos riesgos son agudamente elevados por los peligros que plantea el coronavirus.

CCDC y los signatarios de la presente, impulsamos los siguientes pasos adicionales para asegurar que los coloradenses discapacitados estén seguros en sus hogares y en la comunidad con apoyo durante la crisis del COVID-19:

Asegurar que la información exacta y actualizada sobre el avance del COVID-19 en Colorado, sea completamente accesible en impresión alterna y formatos en línea.

  • Apreciamos ver a los intérpretes de lenguaje de señas en todas sus conferencias de prensa, por favor asegúrese que todos sus videos lleven subtítulos adecuadamente puestos (sólo activar el subrayado de youtube no funciona).  Apreciamos la sobresaliente respuesta de su personal, en especial de la Teniente Jefa de Personal de la Oficina del Gobernador Cristina Martínez, María de Cambra en su equipo de Comunicaciones y  Theresa Montano en OIT, cuando ha habido algún error en la accesibilidad de algún documento. Esperamos que ese proceso mejore para asegurar que no suba ningún documento que no sea totalmente accesible para las personas que utilizan la tecnología de lectura en pantalla.
  • También impulsamos que los documentos esenciales sean traducidos a los idiomas más utilizados, adaptados a personas con una limitada capacidad de lectura y disponible en Lenguaje de Señas, así como disponible en videos subtitulados.  Esto debe aplicarse no solamente a  las órdenes ejecutivas, sino también a instrucciones que son importantes, incluyendo cómo solicitar desempleo, protocolos de pruebas, de prevención. Etc.
  • Requerir a todas las aseguradoras que operan en Colorado que brinden información plenamente accesible, clara actualizada y fácil de encontrar, acerca de las coberturas dentro y fuera de la red de proveedores, para el COVID-10, tanto la prueba como el tratamiento.
  • Requerir a los proveedores de servicios públicos y de internet, que mantengan funcionando los servicios de gas, electricidad, agua, teléfono e internet a las personas mayores y a las discapacitadas.
  • Requerir de las aseguradoras privadas y públicas que, al priorizar los tratamientos y procedimientos de salud, consideren, antes de cancelarlos, no únicamente la categoría de  “voluntario/no urgente”, sino las posibles condiciones subyacentes y las discapacidades de la persona que debe recibir el tratamiento o procedimiento.
  • Continuar proporcionando ADA “paratransit”, NEMT  y servicios “on demand”, incluyendo viajes a las tiendas de comida, instalaciones médicas y puestos de prueba de COVID-19.  Mantener el servicio ADA “paratransit”, en las áreas donde el servicio de transporte público ha sido suspendido o reducido, como en Summit y Gunnison.
  • Proteger a los pasajeros y a los trabajadores proporcionando artículos de protección a los trabajadores del transporte, incluyendo NEMT y a los trabajadores de limpieza.
  • Establecer una amplia moratoria en todo el estado, de los desalojos y desahucios y detener la cancelación de beneficios públicos, incluyendo las acciones administrativas que resulten en la terminación de beneficios públicos.  También pedimos que se suspendan las investigaciones de fraude, pues esto no es un buen uso de los fondos y podría poner en peligro a  las personas que están en riesgo.

Asegurar Servicios Legales y Respuestas Afirmativas y Prontas a las Posibles Violaciones a los Derechos de los Coloradenses con Discapacidad. 

Pedimos que Colorado tome medidas para reforzar con recursos humanos y financieros a las organizaciones que prestan servicios legales en el estado, para asegurar que tengan la capacidad de representar prontamente a las personas que puedan sufrir “racionamiento” médico basado en su discapacidad,  cualquier institucionalización involuntaria e innecesaria, desahucios, problemas con sus beneficios y otras formas de discriminación en las pruebas o el tratamiento del COVID-19.

Por anteriores desastres sabemos que la necesidad de servicios legales tiende a alcanzar un punto máximo entre 2 y 12 meses después que el desastre “termina”.  Se necesitará apoyo adicional durante el próximo año.  Específicamente “Disability Law Colorado”, “Colorado Legal Services”, “Colorado Cross Disability Coalition”, “Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center”, y “The Colorado Center for Law and Policy”, necesitarán apoyo para ayudar en las necesidades de los coloradenses con discapacidad de bajos ingresos. 

Más todavía, pedimos que Colorado y sus Agencias, respondan de  manera pronta y efectiva a cualquier queja o reporte de que los derechos de las personas con discapacidad están siendo atropellados. Esto debe incluir priorización y coordinación de los procedimientos administrativos para la recepción de quejas en todas las agencias pertinentes, a fin de responder afirmativamente y con autoridad a cualquier reporte formal e informal.

Nuestro estado ha sido por mucho tiempo el líder en la protección del cuidado de la salud, la protección de los derechos civiles y la accesibilidad para las personas con discapacidad .  Colorado, como el hogar de Atlantis Community, la organización que creó ADAPT, es el lugar de nacimiento del internacionalmente conocido movimiento por los derechos de las personas con discapacidad.  Le daríamos la bienvenida a la oportunidad de trabajar con su administración para asegurar que las personas con discapacidad, reciben un trato igual y efectivo en el cuidado de su salud, durante la crisis del COVID-19, bajo los términos detallados arriba.

Sinceramente,

  1. Julie Reiskin, Directora Ejecutiva, Colorado Cross Disability Coalition
  2. Alissa Wonnacot, Association for Community Living, Boulder and Broomfield Counties
  3. Martha Mason, Directora Ejecutiva, Southwest Center for Independence
  4. Wilfred Romero, The Arc-Pikes Peak Region
  5. Darla Stuart, Directora Ejecutiva, The Arc of Aurora
  6. Larry McDermott, The Arc of Weld County
  7. Timothy Fox, Abogado, Socio Mayoritario, Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
  8. Sarah Froelich, Chronic Care Collaborative
  9. Lisa Franklin, Directora Ejecutiva, Parent to Parent
  10. Candie Burnham, Directora Ejecutiva, Atlantis Community Inc.
  11. Robert A. Lawhead, Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council
  12. Christiano Sosa, Director Ejecutivo, The Arc of Colorado
  13. Hope Hyatt, Colorado Mental Wellnes Network
  14.  Christine Fallebell, The American Diabetes Association
  15. Ian Engle Director Ejecutivo, Northwest Colorado Center for Independence
  16. Jessalyn Hampton, National MS Society
  17. Judith I. Ham, Ability Connection Colorado
  18. Eileen Doherty, Colorado Gerontological Society
  19. Barbara Henry, Domino Service Dogs
  20. Linda Skaflen, Directora Ejecutiva, The Arc of Adams County

 

  1. ¹Dan Lamothe, “El Pentágono ofrece respiradores, ventiladores y laboratorios al expandir la respuesta al coronavirus” Washington Post, 17 de marzo 2020 (al describir la salida de 5 millones de mascarillas y 2000 ventiladores de las reservas militares),  www.washingtonpost.com/nationalsecurity202030/17-offersrespirators-ventilators-labs-expanding-coronavirus-response/,
  2. ²Surge  Standards,  Foundational  Knowledge,  numbers 8.4.3,  la distribución de los ventiladores para la pandemia de influenza,  http://www.cidrap.umn.edu.sites/default/files/public/php/258/258_foundation.pdf (English) La distribución de ventiladores de las reservas del estado y federales, debe tomar en cuenta la proporción de la población y los recursos disponibles, designando los recursos adecuados a los más vulnerables, que son más propensos a sufrir el mayor impacto en cualquier desastre.

UN LLAMADO A LAS ARMAS (O AL MENOS A DEMANDAS, SI ES NECESARIO) POR QUEJAS DE DISCRIMINACIÓN POR DISCAPACIDAD, EN RELACIÓN A LA PANDEMIA.

English/Español

El Programa Legal de Derechos Civiles de CCDC, tiene  numerosas y crecientes preocupaciones en relación a actos de discriminación contra las personas con discapacidad, como resultado directo de  la toma de decisiones por parte de entidades públicas y privadas durante la pandemia.  Cuando una crisis pega, como todos sabemos (o al menos nuestra comunidad se está dando cuenta ahora) las personas con discapacidad y nuestros derechos civiles son ignorados o restringidos.

 

Estos malos elementos sociales saltan a cada oportunidad para aprovecharse de lo que ellos llaman nuestros “derechos especiales”, y ahora esta obstinada discriminación se multiplica exponencialmente para violar nuestros derechos cada vez que se usa la palabra “emergencia”.  Estos malvados y quebranta-leyes, harán cualquier cosa en su poder para ignorarnos y actuar como si las emergencias afectaran a todos menos a las personas con discapacidad.  Sabemos que lo contrario es la verdad.

Aunque la administración del Gobernador Polis ha estado trabajando de una manera colaborativa con CCDC, buscando continuamente información sobre las necesidades de la comunidad discapacitada (algo que tristemente falta respecto a nuestras necesidades y derechos a otros niveles del gobierno) el Programa Legal de Derechos Civiles está preparado para abordar con nuestra mejor habilidad, cualquier forma de discriminación contra una persona o grupo, en base a la discapacidad, en la toma de decisiones parte entidades públicas o privadas (tales como la policía, los proveedores de transporte, entidades gubernamentales que no brinden una comunicación efectiva, oficinas médicas que traten diferente a las personas con discapacidad, etc.) que ocurra en relación a la pandemia. Todos nosotros en CCDC que hemos estado trabajando sin descanso para dar lo mejor a nuestra comunidad en este momento de crisis, vea COVID-19. RECURSOS, CONEXIONES E NFORMACIÓN PARA CON Y SIN DISCAPACIDADES, comprendemos que casi todos hemos sido golpeados por las presentes circunstancias, pero eso no justifica ignorar  la discriminación hacia las personas con discapacidad. ¡Nosotros no lo permitiremos! ¡Ahora más que nunca nuestros derechos civiles deben ser y serán respetados!

 

Como todos sabemos,  nosotros enfrentamos los mismos problemas que todos, más los problemas derivados de la discapacidad, la mayoría de los cuales se aliviarían si la gente simplemente hiciera lo que se supone debe hacer dentro del marco de la ley de derechos civiles, pero durante esta crisis inimaginable y sin precedentes, estamos sintiendo la devastación mucho más que nuestros compañeros sin discapacidad.  Muchos de nosotros estamos imaginando una manera de salir de la cama, dado que nosotros, nuestros asistentes o nuestros compañeros, están siendo víctimas de este enemigo que no discrimina.  Sin embargo, nosotros tenemos más resistencia, más abundancia de recursos y somos más proclives a encontrar una forma de salir victoriosos, dado que esto es lo que tenemos que hacer todos los días de nuestra vida.  Por todas esas razones estamos aquí para ayudar con lo mejor de nuestras habilidades y en estrecha conexión con nuestros aliados en la sociedad y con otros abogados de derechos civiles que están trabajando más duro de lo que nosotros hemos trabajado en la vida, para asegurarnos que todos –y quiero decir TODOS- reciban el trato justo e igualitario que nosotros y los que estuvieron antes que nosotros, hemos luchado tan duro para tener en nuestras vidas.    

 

Por favor visite nuestro Formulario de Admisión (Intake Form) para informarse sobre los tipos de casos que recibimos.  También puede ponerse en contacto con nuestra Asistente del Programa Legal, Kara Guillon,  en ccdclpa@ccdconline.org o llamando al 303-660-8254, si siente que ha sido discriminado en base a la discapacidad en las circunstancias mencionadas más arriba, o cualquier otra forma de violación de sus derechos civiles. Por favor recuerde que únicamente recibimos casos que envuelvan una violación a sus derechos civiles con base en la discapacidad.  Otros problemas deberán ser solucionados por los defensores-no abogados- que pueden encontrarse en nuestra página de internet ccdconline.org.

 

Obviamente no podemos garantizar que podamos ayudar en todas las circunstancias, ni podemos garantizar un resultado perfecto, pero hemos estado aquí para ustedes por 22 años (casi 23) haciendo todo lo que podemos con nuestro pequeño, pero en mi humilde opinión, poderoso personal, recibiendo cientos y cientos de casos para la comunidad discapacitada, normalmente con resultados exitosos, en la mayoría de los casos, aunque no siempre.  Esto es así, aún al enfrentar más y más opositores, cada vez más desafiantes que se niegan a tratar a las personas discapacitadas con humanidad y en igualdad, como la ley lo requiere.

 

Aquellos que nos niegan nuestros derechos civiles iban creciendo en número y en una voluntaria desobediencia de la ley y este comportamiento sólo se ha agudizado durante esta pandemia.  Nunca se detuvieron a pensar que nosotros somos la única minoría a la que ellos podrían sumarse y, dadas las circunstancias actuales, podrían sumársenos en cualquier momento.  Ellos nos necesitan para luchar no sólo por nuestros derechos, sino también por los de ellos.  Todo el mundo está realmente a un estornudo de distancia de necesitar esos ventiladores de que tanto oímos hablar y tan mencionados en las noticias y posiblemente requiriendo cuidado en casa por el resto de la vida.  Extrañamente, muchos de nosotros hemos vivido bajo tales circunstancias a lo largo de nuestra vida.   ¡En verdad, estamos todos juntos en esto!  Pero aún así, eso no les impide discriminarnos y negarnos igualdad de oportunidades bajo la ley.

 

Debemos demostrarle a quienes tratarán de aprovecharse de la crisis para discriminarnos en base a nuestra discapacidad que ¡no lo vamos a permitir!  Aunque las leyes sobre el derecho de los discapacitados no son ilimitadas (tienen sus limitaciones) estamos viendo y escuchando de primera mano acerca de clarísimas violaciones a la ley (y tantas violaciones cometidas debido a “emergencias”), que debemos recordarles a aquéllos que encontrarán cualquier excusa para aprovecharse de nosotros o de la pandemia ¡nuestros derechos civiles importan más que nunca!

 

Kevin Williams,  CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program Director

Y miembro de la comunidad discapacitada por 33 años-casi 34- y contando.

 


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