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Category: Uncategorized

Grocery Stores Dedicate Time for Those at Highest Risk

Several stores are making sure those at the highest risk for the Coronavirus have a chance to get the essentials they need to stay quarantined. They have dedicated time frames seniors, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable populations can shop to minimize their risk.

Below is a partial list of stores offering modified hours (subject to change). If your local store isn’t listed, or you aren’t sure if your’s is participating, contact them directly to ask about this option.

NOTE: There have been reports of incorrect charges for individuals ordering online for pick-up or delivery. Items that are out of stock may accidentally be charged to the customer. We suggest you review your receipt carefully and contact the store or your bank in cases of error.

Big Lots

Stores are reserving the first hour of each day for senior citizens and “those most vulnerable to this virus,” CEO Bruce Thorn said in an email to shoppers. Shop and find your location

Dollar General

Dollar General has dedicated the first hour of each business day to senior shopping. Click here for locations and store hours.

King Soopers

King Soopers will reserve 7a – 8a on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for senior customers. Click here for locations and store hours.

Safeway

Safeway is going to reserve store hours for seniors/at-risk shoppers on Tuesdays and Thursdays 7am-9 am. Click here for store locations and hours.

Target

Target stores nationwide will reserve the first hour of shopping each Wednesday at stores for seniors and other vulnerable guests. Click here for store locations and hours.

Walmart

Beginning March 24 Walmart locations will open for one hour on Tuesday mornings (6 a.m. for most locations) for seniors only. The pharmacy and vision center will also be open for that hour. Walmart Online Shopping

Whole Foods

Starting on Wednesday, March 18, all Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. and Canada will service customers who are 60 and older one hour before opening to the general public, under the new adjusted hours posted on the store’s web page. (example: if a store’s new hours are 9 am-8 pm, customers who are 60+ can shop starting at 8 am). Click here for locations and hours.

Ed Department Offers More Special Education Guidance Amid COVID-19

Disability Scoop The Premier Source for Developmental Disability News
by Michelle Diament | March 18, 2020

The U.S. Department of Education is giving schools more information about administering special education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As schools across the nation shutter in response to coronavirus, federal officials are giving educators additional insight on how to handle the needs of students with disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued a webinar and fact sheet this week for education leaders aimed at ensuring that students’ civil rights are upheld while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

The webinar reminds school officials that distance learning must be accessible unless “equally effective alternate access is provided.”

Online learning tools should be compatible with any assistive technology that students use and schools must regularly test their online offerings for accessibility, the Education Department said.

“OCR’s accessibility webinar is intended to remind school leaders at the elementary, secondary and postsecondary levels of their legal obligations to ensure that all students, including students with disabilities, can access online and virtual learning programs,” said Kenneth L. Marcus, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights. “Students with disabilities must have access to educational technology utilized by schools, and OCR will continue to work to ensure that no student is excluded from utilizing these important tools.”

If a student with a disability is absent from school for an extended period because of coronavirus, but the school remains open, the student has a right to continue to receive a free appropriate public education, or FAPE, the Education Department’s fact sheet states. But if schools close and no educational services are being provided, then the school does not have to serve students with disabilities, the agency said.

In addition, the fact sheet explains that individualized education program teams are not required to conduct in-person meetings while schools are closed. And, any evaluation of a student with a disability that must be done face to face should be postponed until the school reopens.

Evaluations that do not need to be done in person may proceed so long as the child’s parent or guardian consents, the Education Department indicated.

At least 74,000 schools serving 38.8 million students across the country have announced plans to close because of coronavirus, according to Education Week.

The latest information from the Education Department expands on guidance issued last week on how to address the needs of students with disabilities during the pandemic.

Advocates with the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, which represents special education attorneys, have criticized the Education Department’s approach, arguing that the right to FAPE under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act remains intact even when schools close.

Information, News Articles, and Blogs

Make sure you take a moment each day devoted just to you.  There might just be some good that comes from all of this.

There is more out there than just facts and statistics. We have been finding crucial information, great articles, helpful suggestions (like how to keep your six-year-old engaged), inspirational writing, and ways to calm your fears.  This page has all of that and more. Check out what is found on these pages. If you have something you saw or maybe even wrote and would like it considered, send it to us at covid@ccdconline.org.

List of articles on this page. Click to go directly to that article.

Information

  • ⇓  A Call to Arms (or at least lawsuits, if necessary) for pandemic-related disability discrimination complaints (Español)
  • ⇓  CCDC Investigates CSL Plasma Centers for Discrimination
  • ⇓  Census 2020 & COVID-19
  • ⇓  COVID-19 and people with chronic disease (CDPHE)
  • ⇓  Caregivers of people with disabilities are exempt from the stay-at-home order.
  • ⇓  Ed Department Offers More Special Education Guidance Amid COVID-19
  • ⇓  Emergency Services for People with Disabilities (Español)
  • ⇓  Guide for Hospitals on Best Practices for Communication with Individuals with Disabilities
  • ⇓  Grocery Stores Dedicate Time for Those at Highest Risk
  • ⇓  How to Improvise PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in an Emergency (Español)
  • ⇓  Patent’s Rights During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • ⇓  Standards of Care in plain speak

News Articles

  • ⇓  Concerns growing over medical care discrimination
  • ⇓  How is the coronavirus impacting people with disabilities? (international interview including CCDC Board Member, Dr. Kimberly Jackson)
  • ⇓  In The Face Of Ethical Aberrations In Several States, Colorado Stands Strong Against Discrimination In COVID-19 Care

Blogs

  • ⇓  Calming Ourselves and Building Our Power
  • ⇓  For Coloradans Living Or Caring For People With Disabilities, Fears Over COVID-19 Run Much Deeper
  • ⇓  Love in the Time of Corona — A MESSAGE FROM KEVIN JOHN FONG
  • ⇓  The Secret to Keeping Your Kids Happy, Busy and Learning if Their School Closes Due to Coronavirus
  • ⇓  Shopping for Quarantine? Here’s How to Not Be a Jerk at the Store
  • ⇓  Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day
  • ⇓  Some Kind of Hero, A letter from Vincent Atchity, the President of Mental Health Colorado

All Articles and Links to Posts

Information

A CALL TO ARMS (OR AT LEAST LAWSUITS, IF NECESSARY) FOR PANDEMIC-RELATED DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS.

CCDC’s Civil Rights Legal Program has numerous and growing concerns regarding discrimination against people with disabilities as a direct result of decision-making by both private and public entities occurring during the pandemic. Continue reading about your options if you feel you have been discriminated against due to disability.

CCDC Investigates CSL Plasma Centers for Discrimination

Have you experienced discrimination based on disability when attempting to donate plasma to a CSL Plasma Center in Colorado? For example, were you denied the opportunity to donate plasma and receive payment for doing so for a disability-related reason? If so, our Civil Rights Legal Program needs to hear from you as soon as possible. This is a 3 part series:

  • Part 1: Overview of the investigation by the CCDC Civil Rights Legal team
  • Part 2: Explains the information regarding whether you would be interested in being a plasma donor and why it is crucial and beneficial.
  • Part 3: Provides you with the legal background for the types of disability discrimination individuals might be experiencing as a result of attempting to donate plasma at CSL Plasma centers.

Census 2020 & COVID-19

There are three ways to respond to the 2020 Census from the comfort of your own home – online, by phone, or by returning the paper questionnaire.

COVID-19 and people with chronic disease (CDPHE)

Certain people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, including Older people (over age 60), especially those over 80; people who have chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease, or diabetes; older people with chronic medical conditions are at the highest risk.

Caregivers of people with disabilities are exempt from the stay-at-home order.

Caregivers of people with disabilities, paid or unpaid, are exempt from the stay-at-home order. For Medicaid CDASS clients, the state is working on a letter we can give to our attendants. Once available, we will share it here. Workers should continue to provide services to clients as long as they are healthy and using proper precautions such as handwashing. How to Improvise PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in an Emergency

Ed Department Offers More Special Education Guidance Amid COVID-19

As schools across the nation shutter in response to coronavirus, federal officials are giving educators additional insight on how to handle the needs of students with disabilities.

Emergency Services for People with Disabilities (Español)

The Denver Division of Disability Rights encourages you to take reasonable steps to prepare yourself and your home for emergencies, while also remaining calm. Read more for supply recommendations, emergency communication options, and more.

Guide for Hospitals on Best Practices for Communication with Individuals with Disabilities
CCDC and six other partner organizations came together to create a guide to help hospitals and other providers what effective communication is during an emergency. This guide offers general guidelines as well as disability-specific best practices.

Grocery Stores Dedicate Time for Those at Highest Risk

Several stores have dedicated time frames seniors, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable populations to shop and therefore minimize their risk.

How to Improvise PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in an Emergency

Doctor’s offices and hospitals aren’t the only ones running out of personal protective equipment. Members of the disability community who rely on home health also use PPE. Here are some ideas if you run out of supplies. (Español)

Patent’s Rights During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On April 10, 2020, Governor Polis issued Executive Order D 2020 034, suspending two specific rights of individuals at inpatient mental health units and institutes,* but a close reading of the Governor’s Order demonstrates that the suspension of these rights is not limitless.

While it is important for facilities to follow the Governor’s Executive Order to protect the health and safety of individuals in the facility as well as the community at large, patient’s rights overall have not been suspended by this Order. Disability Law Colorado emphasizes the limited scope of the rights suspended by the Governor’s Executive Order and encourages the respondent’s counsel to continue to advocate for their client’s rights that remain intact. If the respondent’s counsel or their clients would like to consult with Disability Law Colorado about these or other patient’s rights issues, please feel free to contact us at 303.722.0300. Thank you for your continued advocacy for your clients. Be well!

Standards of Care
This is a very plain speak guide to understanding the COVID-19 illness. It uses simple language and drawings to help everyone understand what happens if they get sick, what to do to stay healthy, and when to go to a doctor. Excellent for anyone, adult or child, who needs easy to understand explanations.

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News Articles

Concerns growing over medical care discrimination:

Apr. 19, 2020 – Disability advocates file a federal complaint against some states over rationing treatment, Alicia Acuna reports. Please note that the Colorado Medical Rationing plan also prohibits discrimination based on race, immigration status, language, criminal justice status, income, ability to pay, etc.    Our order prohibits ALL discrimination.

Fox News Story 1,             Fox News Story 2

How is the coronavirus impacting people with disabilities?

Pandemic brings added worry for some of the world’s most vulnerable. CCDC’s own Dr. Kimberly Jackson was interviewed as a part of Tuesday, 4/21st episode of The Stream, An Al Jazeera independent global news network.

In The Face Of Ethical Aberrations In Several States Colorado Stands Strong Against Discrimination In COVID-19 Care

NEWS PROVIDED BY Global Down Syndrome Foundation:  140 Organizations Help Ensure People with Disabilities Will Receive Equitable Treatment under Colorado’s Newly Published “Critical Care Triage Guidance for Crisis Standards of Care”

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Blogs

Calming Ourselves and Building Our Power

To ensure better outcomes for our community during this unprecedented time, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition is proactive, compassionate, and conscious in our response to COVID-19.

For Coloradans Living Or Caring For People With Disabilities, Fears Over COVID-19 Run Much Deeper

An article by Jessica Yarmosky, Mar 24, 2020, for CPR.

Love in the Time of Corona — A MESSAGE FROM KEVIN JOHN FONG

Pandemics are potent phenomena. One moment, life proceeds per usual routines, and the next, we find ourselves scrambling over toilet paper. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted our lives in every way, and preventing transmission, while far from assured, appears to be straightforward. An equally daunting challenge, however, is about how we are going to interact with one another as this crisis unfolds.  Read more

The Secret to Keeping Your Kids Happy, Busy and Learning if Their School Closes Due to Coronavirus

As millions of children are displaced from their schools due to the coronavirus, a sub-crisis has risen for American parents: What will the kids do all day? The widespread school closures have sent a ripple effect into parent communities as many scramble to find ways to transition kids into at-home life smoothly. It’s one thing to entertain them all day on the weekends. It’s another when you have seven days a week to fill for an indefinite period of time.

Shopping for Quarantine? Here’s How to Not Be a Jerk at the Store

This is an excellent article about what and how to buy so you have enough without making it hard for the next person to get what he or she needs.

Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day

“We have a preemptive opportunity to save lives through the actions we take right now that we will not have in a few weeks. It is a public health imperative. It is also our responsibility as a community to act while we still have a choice, and while our actions can have the greatest impact.” From an article written by Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH, the executive director of Ariadne Labs in Boston, MA.

Some Kind of Hero, A letter from Vincent Atchity, the President of Mental Health Colorado

“Over the past few days, I’ve looked through some old books that present accounts of living through experiences that are somewhat comparable to what we’re all going through now. What becomes apparent in stories —as well as in our own lived experience —is that in the context of a pandemic, our survival and wellbeing call for a very different kind of heroism .” Continue Reading

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Links to Official Sites and Trusted Information

The internet is incredibly helpful and misleading. So how do you know who to trust? What information is accurate, and what is not?

When deciding what to believe, look for the thread of truth – the facts that are consistent even when found in different places. The other way to know you can trust the information on a website is if the site is from a trusted location, such as the government or an organization that has proved to be honest over time.
Rumor breeds fear and chaos. We encourage you to be careful when repeating information you are not positive is true. If you hear something you aren’t sure about,  check it out or send the question to us. We will research it and find the answers.


Stimulus Check Information has moved to a new page for greater readability. Use this link to access information  (Información en Español)


Do you need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)? Use this link for info about contacting your Local Emergency Managers. You can also check out the Colorado Mask Project.


State of Colorado – Official Webpage


211 – 2-1-1 is a confidential and multilingual service connecting people to vital resources across the state. No matter where you live in Colorado, you can find information about resources in your local community. From any phone dial 211. Web access is https://www.211colorado.org/


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website – The best source of information for COVID-19. National and state-level data are available as well as ways to stay safe, what to do if you think you are sick, and how to help those around you during this pandemic.


Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing  – Hub for information related to HCPF and updates on COVID-19. Information is organized by the audience ( Members, Providers, and Partners) and will be updated as the situation changes.


Colorado Department of Local Affairs


Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment – For information on COVID-19 from the State


Colorado Emergency Management, Department of Public Safety – Information for County-level emergency management websites, telephone (office and 24 hour), emails and sms/txt alert systems in Colorado. In participating counties, you can follow the “alerts” link next to each of the identified counties to register for and begin receiving emergency alerts in that area.


Denver City website  ♦  Cancellations, closures, and postponements ♦ Local Preparation and Coordination News and Media Support Services Donations and Volunteering Parking Enforcement Updates


Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council – Transportation updates – Stay Up To Date On Transportation Services


Denver Public Health – for more localized information


One Strong Voice: Information and Resources Regarding Medical Rationing – OSV participated in a call hosted by The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).  They provided a list of resources including the #NoBodyIsDisposable campaign, and a Know Your Rights toolkit for people facing discrimination during medical triage. Link to the resource list.


RTD – RTD had created a page for their latest updates related to service and the health and safety warnings. Go to their page for the latest information and for more details about changes being made.

  • Rear door boarding and alighting
  • All fare collection suspended
  • Suspend services on the 16th Street Mall and the “Free Ride Metro”
  • Move mall buses to regular routes to utilize multiple door boarding and alighting
  • Allowing our operating staff to wear masks

Other changes in effect:

  • Food Delivery service is available to Access-a-Ride customers
  • RTD is temporarily suspending the $10 replacement fee for EcoPass
  • A reduced service plan that will go into effect April 19, 2020
  • Access-a-Ride eligibility assessments are canceled

2020Census.gov – Just one of the many services driven by the census count is emergency management. You have time now! Fill out your census online.


World Health Organization – WHO’s primary role is to direct international health within the United Nations’ system and to lead partners in global health responses.

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Resources

There is no weakness in asking for help. After all, life is a group effort.

When our situations and way of life changes so dramatically and quickly, we might not know where to go to find help. Others can be afraid or humiliated at finding they suddenly can’t survive on their own.

No one is expected to do everything by themselves. These resources are available for people who find themselves in a difficult spot. Reach out via phone or the internet and find out if you are eligible for assistance.

If you have a resource to share or find an error, send it via email to covid@ccdconline.org.

Amazon offers its Prime service for a 50% discount if you have an EBT or Medicaid Card. Follow this link and check the details. Prime offers many upgrades and extras than its regular free service. (Including free shipping for many items.)  And if you shop under smile.amazon.com and choose the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, every purchase generates a small donation to your favorite charity.


The Action Center – near Colfax and Wadsworth in Lakewood is currently providing food to anyone who needs it (even if they live outside Jefferson County).

Benefits in Action is offering free food boxes with free delivery for anyone unable to get groceries and live in Denver or Jefferson County. Visit www.biaction.org or call 720-221-8354 to arrange delivery.

Care Coordinators COVID Resource List – This list contains a number of excellent links and resources unemployment, utilities, AA meetings, and more. In order to help protect our community from the spread of COVID-19, we are offering modified services of food and mail services only. Reservations to pick-up food are required, please call 720.215.4850.

Center for Health Progress Health Care Resource Guide for the Uninsured (English) or (Spanish)  – A Health Care Resource Guide that Center for Health Progress put together to support people, particularly immigrants without documentation, to find health care at this moment.

CHANDA CENTER FOR HEALTH – is a direct services provider that includes acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, adaptive exercise, physical therapy, adaptive yoga, care coordination, behavioral health, primary care, and dental care. Some services are provided at the Chanda Center for Health and some at provider locations nationwide.  Integrative therapies promote wellness and healing for acute and chronic conditions caused by physical disabilities. Better health outcomes and lower medical bills galvanized our pursuit of systemic change to have integrative therapies covered by Medicaid. They are offering some free classes that can be found through Chanda’s page directly.

Colorado Center on Law and Policy: COVID-19 resources for immigrant families – To Colorado’s immigrants — whether you had access to the legal immigration process or not — you matter, your families matter and your contributions to society matter. But even as we advocate for solutions to those injustices, and there are resources for you and your families.

Colorado Emergency Childcare Collaborative – Approximately 80,000 emergency workers have young children and are now without child care.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Protecting your finances during the Coronavirus Pandemic – Providing consumers with up-to-date information and resources to protect and manage their finances during this difficult time as the situation evolves.

Denver Emergency Food Access – Information about School and Student Meals, Denver Parks and Recreation Center Meals (Tasty Food), SNAP & WIC Benefits in Denver, Food Assistance at Pantries, and Food in Quarantine.

Denver Food Pantries Listings – including location, hours of operation, and services provided.

Denver Human Services – All Denver Human Services facilities will be closed to the public beginning Thursday, March 19, 2020, until further notice.  See how to access our services online or call us at 720-944-4DHS (4347) for assistance.
COVID-19 Information
Cancellations, Closures, and Postponements
Support Services
Donating and Volunteering
Local Preparation and Coordination
News and Media
Emergency Services for People with Disabilities
Parking Enforcement Updates

Denver Property Tax Relief Program – Provides a partial refund of property taxes paid, or the equivalent in rent, to qualifying Denver residents.

DRCOG Aging and Disability Resources Information and Assistance line:
303-480-6700 – Provides information, assistance, and advocacy over the phone or email to understand your benefits and connect you with local providers.

Emergency Response Desktop Suite – 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.

Enrich: Coronavirus and Your Financial Health – Answers, tips, and advice for staying financially well during the COVID-19 pandemic

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 

      1. What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws Technical Assistance Questions and Answers
      2. Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act
      3. COVID-19 and the EEOC (Youtube)

Health First Colorado and CHP+ Providers and Case Managers: COVID-19 Information – The Department knows providers will have many questions about COVID-19 and will post updates on policies, codes and other important information to providers on this site. Communications will continue to be sent out via bulletins and newsletters. Contains many excellent links to additional information.

Hunger Free Colorado – Food assistance information for the state,  not just Denver Metro. The site is updated regularly. The Food Resource Hotline is (855-855-4626), M – F (8 am – 4:30 pm).

Internet Essentials: Affordable Internet at Home Offers two months free internet with low costs after, and the option to purchase a laptop or desktop computer at a discounted price. For new customers, visit www.internetessentials.com. Also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish. 

Linguabee Sign Language Interpreting Services — Linguabee is offering Free VRI access at COVID-19 test sites for the Deaf community

Mile High Connects’ Denver Metro COVID-19 Housing Response Strategy community platform — This platform is designed for us to come together and stay abreast of various local and regional emergency housing-related responses to the COVID-19 crisis, share resources with one another, identify and elevate opportunities to coordinate strategic, longer-term efforts to stabilize housing in our region.

Housing Resource List — Compiled through the community platform described above.

NFBCO Assistance Hotline and Email — If you are a blind or low vision person in Colorado who needs assistance call us at 303-778-1130 extension 219 or email assistance@nfbco.org.

One Strong Voice: Information and Resources Regarding Medical Rationing — OSV participated in a call hosted by The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).  During the call, they received a number of questions about what individuals can do to prevent states from developing discriminatory medical triage protocols. Link to the resource page.

Social Security & Coronavirus — Updates about what SSA is doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Simple Dollar: A Guide to Auto Insurance If You’re Living Out of Your Car — This guide provides an auto insurance roadmap, so you can keep your vehicle in good standing while working toward a more permanent home. You’ll also find resources that can help you stay safe while living out of your car, and help transition into a more permanent place to live.

Xcel Energy’s response to COVID-19: A message from Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke – Xcel will not disconnect service to any residential customers until further notice. If you are having difficulty paying your bills, contact them and they will arrange a payment plan.

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Q & A — Fact & Fiction

All information in this section is either from the CDC, WHO, or a CCDC trusted source.

#COVID-19 ASL

There are twenty COVID-19 resources in ASL (9 additional went live over the weekend). The link above will take you to the full playlist. From there you can choose individual videos you would like to watch.

Q & A from the HCPF and the Disability Community Webinar Series

On Fridays, HCPF and other Disability Community leaders host webinars to update the community and answer questions. Follow the link provided to see the questions and answers from the previous sessions. (Link to Q & A).  (Link to Series Information)

Fraud Alert from the Office of Inspector General Legal Services Corporation

The Fraud Corner (4/9/2020) COVID-19 Purchasing Scams: As part of its Fraud Corner Series, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is providing the following information and resources relating to Coronavirus/COVID-19 frauds and scams. This article deals with potential price gouging, price-fixing, and bid-rigging scams that can adversely affect making critical purchases during the COVID-19 crisis.

Chicago Doctor’s Blunt Speech About COVID-19 Hits Home Across the Country

Dr. Emily Landon is the chief infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Chicago Medicine. While she is talking about Illinois, the content applies to us all. She clearly explains the importance of social distancing and the threat we are facing for failure to comply. If you, a family member, friend, or anyone is struggling to understand why you can’t go about your life as normal, this is a good video to watch.

Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Due to the ongoing supply shortages, you may have to reach out to your Local Emergency Managers. You can also check out the Colorado Mask Project.

How do I know if I am sick with the Coronavirus?

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*
Fever
Cough
Shortness of breath

*This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:*
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion or inability to arouse
Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Can coronavirus live on food and objects?

YES and NO. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.

Are Chinese or other Asian Americans more likely to spread the virus?

NO. It is important to remember that people – including those of Asian descent – who do not live in or have not recently been in an area of ongoing spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 or have not been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 are not at greater risk of spreading COVID-19 than other Americans.

Will warmer weather stop the outbreak of Covid-19? Will the cold weather?

Several countries currently affected by the new coronavirus outbreak are experiencing summer weather. Some viral illnesses, like the flu, seem to be less common in warmer months, but it is still possible to catch them during that time. Investigations are exploring the effects of temperature and weather on the spread of this new coronavirus.

There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 97.7°F to 98.6°F, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.

Was the new coronavirus deliberately created or released by people?

NO. Viruses can change over time. Occasionally, a disease outbreak happens when a virus that is common in an animal such as a pig, bat or bird undergoes changes and passes to humans. This is likely how the new coronavirus came to be.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

Learn what is true and false about the Coronavirus from the World Health Organization (Link to Page)

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Love in the Time of Corona

A MESSAGE FROM KEVIN JOHN FONG of Elemental Partners.

Elemental Partners fosters, clear purpose, aligned principles and integrated practices to sustain healthy and equitable communities.

Pandemics are powerful phenomena. One moment, life proceeds per usual routines, and the next, we find ourselves scrambling over toilet paper. The Corona virus (COVID-19) has impacted our lives in every way and preventing transmission, while far from assured, appears to be straightforward.

An equally daunting challenge, however, is about how we are going to interact with one another as this crisis unfolds.

I remember a similar dynamic in another pandemic I lived through. The first cases of HIV/AIDS were reported when I was 19 years old. In those days, the modes of transmission were not widely known, prompting a widespread panic. We saw a proliferation of people wearing masks and gloves in public. People hoarding supplies. Acts of blatant discrimination and hatred abounded. Like today, the White House was more harmful than helpful. In fact, then President Reagan did not mention the words HIV/AIDS publicly until 1985, four years after the first cases were reported. In other words, we were on our own.

For the next dozen years, HIV/AIDS became my vocation and advocation. By day, I directed a project in Oakland Chinatown that offered everything from prevention/education to clinical care. After work, I facilitated support groups, delivered meals and meds to friends and clients, provided outreach at bathhouses and sex clubs, and took to the streets in protest. On weekends, I attended funerals.

While my friends back home were getting married and starting families, this pandemic defined my 20’s as a decade of grief and loss. I was 26 years-old when, after being asked for the eighteenth time, I promised myself that I would never be a pall bearer again. When I was 28, I had to decide whether to attend Michael’s or George’s funeral – because they were happening at the same time. At 29, I stopped recording in my journal the names of friends, lovers, clients, and colleagues who had died. The last entry – Robbie – was my 175th.

It was an unimaginably hard time – one that I would not wish on anyone. How ironic that my sons, who are now in their 20’s, are facing a pandemic, the ramifications of which are still unknown. Rafa is working at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, arguably the epicenter of COVID-19 in the U.S. Santi just returned home to finish the remainder of his semester online. Given what I had lived through, what guidance would I give them?

In a time when fear and othering are the norms, how might we act with love in the time of Corona?

Practice Social Solidarity
“Social distancing,” the term used to describe proximity restrictions to prevent transmission of viruses are a disruption of our cultural and social norms, and many people are still struggling with that. My family, friends, and hula brothers normally greet each other with hugs and kisses. We join hands in prayer. New greetings, such as the elbow and foot bump, are becoming acceptable and commonplace, but it’s going to take some time before we reach the level of connection, respect, and joy that a hug, handshake, or kiss express. If social distancing leads to isolation, fear and othering, this is a condition that can be as dangerous as the virus itself.

In the midst of practicing social distancing, it is important to practice social solidarity. In his NY Times op-ed, Eric Klinenberg writes –

In addition to social distancing, societies have often drawn on another resource to survive disasters and pandemics: social solidarity, or the interdependence between individuals and across groups. This an essential tool for combating infectious diseases and other collective threats. Solidarity motivates us to promote public health, not just our own personal security. It keeps us from hoarding medicine, toughing out a cold in the workplace or sending a sick child to school. It compels us to let a ship of stranded people dock in our safe harbors, to knock on our older neighbor’s door.

Stories of social solidarity are emerging everywhere.

  • My friend Vonnie, gift-wrapped rolls of toilet paper and delivered them to neighbors with a note saying – If we can ease a worry or lend a hand – a cup of sugar or flour, some relief meds or tissue, cleaning products, yes, even TP, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ll get through this together.
  • Several of my clients and fellow consultants have reached out to me to discuss how we can support each other through the coming months of cancelled gigs and financial hardship.
  • Friends who run organizations and businesses are doing the right thing by enacting compassionate policies for their employees.
  • Neighbors in Italy are singing from their windows to counter their isolation.

All of these examples prove that, even though we have to practice physical distance, we don’t have to be socially distant. Social solidarity reminds us that we are not alone.

Could this be a turning point for you?
It was just another night out in San Francisco with my cousin Allister. I was 23-years old, and starting my career in the corporate management program at Macys. Allister mentioned that we were going to visit Billy before dinner. My heart raced. Billy was a model with thick brown hair, deep blue eyes, an arresting smile. I had a crush on Billy the moment I laid eyes on him seven years earlier.

When we arrived at his apartment, I expected Billy to answer the door as he always did, with his megawatt smile and perfect hair, surrounded by equally beautiful people, music blaring in the background. Instead the place was quiet and dark. We walked down the hall to his bedroom and there was Billy, emaciated and covered with lesions. It had been days since anyone had visited.

I left that apartment resolved that I would no longer pursue a career at Macy’s, and set my course on community service. Even though I never had the opportunity to tell Bill Richmond how he changed my life for good, I hope he knows that his passion for joy and beauty live on through me.

What do these times have to teach you? How might this pandemic inform your life’s work? How you are leading your life? No matter how old or young you are, keep your eyes, ears, and heart open, and be ready to receive some deep lessons that can impact your life for good.

Perfect fear cast out all love. Perfect love casts out all fear.
This scripture became one of my guiding lights during the pandemic. As a young gay man coming up in the AIDS years, there was so much to fear. I had to navigate relationships, media hysteria, concerned family and friends, and the prospect of surviving this epidemic and growing old alone. When Father John McNeill delivered his sermon on this scripture, my perspective shifted, and I began to seek out moments of perfect love in the midst of the sadness, chaos, and fear. Singing hymns with Tom in his final days at Coming Home Hospice sustained me. Making brownie sundaes with Scott to keep his weight up sustained me. Leaving notes of appreciation on my colleagues’ desks after another long day at work sustained me. Dancing with Gerard sustained me.

There are so many ways we can practice moments of perfect love. A simple wave or smile to a stranger can make a difference. Thanking folks at the grocery store, police folk, first responders, and health care providers who are working extra hard to provide for our needs makes a difference. We all have elders in our lives, whether they are our own relatives, friends, neighbors, teachers and mentors. Calling on them regularly so they don’t feel othered and isolated makes a difference.

In spite of the lack of support from the world at-large during those early years of HIV/AIDS, our small community made it through by holding on to hope and conquering our fear with perfect acts of love.

I don’t know how this pandemic will unfold. But I do know that the entire global community is in high alert. We have the power, choice and potential to practice social solidarity, embrace turning points, and treat each other with moments of perfect love.

The scientists, researchers and health care providers will find the ways to vanquish this virus and heal our bodies. It is up to the rest of us to vanquish the pandemic of fear and hatred, and heal our souls.

Questions for Reflection and Consideration

  • Make a list of the elders in your life. What can you do today to let them know that they are loved, valued, and cared for?
  • Think about what you are reading and sharing on social media. How might you shift from an orientation of fear and othering to one of love and belonging?
  • What is one thing you want to learn or do at this time of retreat and reflection? Some things on my list – Compose a Hawaiian chant, Clean out that dreaded closet. Read two books. Cook.  Write, write, write.

RTD Hearing (SB20 -151) Julie Reiskin Testimony

The following is a transcript of testimony given by Julie Reiskin at the Senate Transportation & Energy Committee hearing (Part 1) on February 18, 2020.

Audio File

 

Julie Reiskin Transcript Testimony

Thank you, Madam Chairman, members of the committee. My name is Julie Reiskin. I represent the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. Kristen was here. She uses Access-a-Ride and you don’t get to change your going home time, so that’s why I think she’s no longer here. I hope she’ll be able to come back on March third because she has a lot of important information to give you. 

We want to thank the sponsors and are very much in support of Senate Bill 151 in that this is a pro-RTD bill. This bill is all about making RTD sustainable, stronger and better. Those of us who have disabilities, particularly those who are not able to drive because of their disabilities, and particularly those of us who use power chairs who don’t have any other option like Uber or Lyft or cabs or anything, do rely on RTD exclusively. We don’t get to get rides with friends. We don’t get any other options, so it is very, very important to us. 

Without RTD, we don’t have jobs. We don’t have the ability to live independently. So it is really the key to our independence. But we don’t want a system just for people with disabilities. We don’t want a system who are affected by Title Six because if it’s only a system for poor folks and disenfranchised folks, it’s never gonna be a good system. We want a system that works for everyone, but we see ourselves as the canaries in the coal mine. If it works for us,  it’ll work for everyone. 

So that’s really what we wanted to say and that’s why we’ve been working very hard on this bill and why we support it. Our attorneys are here to speak. It’s not a secret, I think, that our organization has sued RTD in the past. I don’t think it’s been perpetual litigation. It’s been three times in the past thirty years. But that is necessary to be able to make changes when there is out-and-out discrimination that we can’t get solved any other way and we need to be able to do that at a lower level and literally not have to make that a federal case. We need to be able to solve it at a much lower level, and our attorneys can address that. But we want to see RTD strong for everyone, for the entire community. We want to see the train go to Boulder. 

We want to see it work the way it’s supposed to work, and those of us who do rely on RTD have really been affected by the driver shortages. I have a picture on my phone of just one day on my computer screen, just the lines I subscribe to, and my entire screen was filled up after it had been cleared, just one day, two hours, and so, I had to sleep at DIA because I couldn’t rely on the A-line. It really is affecting us. Paratransit has been dealing with this problem for many years, so we do need the legislature to step in and help us make it right. 

Thank you for your time.

Testimony of Amy F. Robertson, Co-Executive Director, in Support of SB20-151

Senate Transportation & Energy Committee, March 3, 2020

Amy F. Robertson, Co-Executive Director

“Thank you Madame Chair and members of the committee. My name is Amy Robertson and I am an attorney and the Co-Executive Director of the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (“CREEC”), Denver-based civil rights nonprofit.

CREEC strongly supports SB20-151. I am authorized to state that the ACLU of Colorado also strongly supports SB20-151.

I will address Section 2 of the bill, which provides a state court remedy for violations by RTD of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VI”) [i] and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“Title II”).[ii]

For the past 25 years, both at CREEC and our earlier private law firm, I have conducted education and training as well as individual and impact litigation under federal and state civil rights laws. I am very familiar with Title VI and Title II and their regulations. In addition, we have been involved in two of the three impact ADA cases against RTD: one brought in 2000 and settled in 2001; and the most recent, remedying noncompliant light rail cars, which resolved in 2017 with retrofitted and new light rail cars.

I want to make two crucial points about Section 2:

  1. 1. It imposes no new substantive requirements; and
  2. 2. It provides a more efficient, less risky remedy for violations of these existing requirements.

Section 2 of the pending bill incorporates Title VI and Title II as well as
the respective regulations enforcing each of those statutes. These
regulations have been in force since 1970 (in the case of Title VI) [iii] and 1992 (in the case of Title II). [iv] Both sets of regulations have always prohibited – and prohibit to this day – actions that “have the effect of” discriminating against protected individuals,[v] otherwise known as “disparate impact” discrimination.

Let me say that again: disparate impact discrimination on the basis of race in providing federally-funded transportation services has been illegal since 1970 and remains so today. A Supreme Court decision in 2001 made it impossible to enforce in court a claim for disparate impact race discrimination under Title VI. The prohibition remains in the regulations, RTD remains bound by these regulations, and these regulations can still be enforced by the United States Department of Transportation.

Furthermore, if the Department of Transportation finds a violation of the Title VI regulations that it cannot resolve informally, “compliance… may be affected by the suspension or termination of or refusal to grant or to continue Federal financial assistance.”[vi] So the only current enforcement mechanism for disparate impact race discrimination has the potential for dire consequences, including withdrawal of federal dollars from RTD.

Title II of the ADA and its regulations remain enforceable in federal court; however, as RTD has experienced, this process can be time-consuming and expensive for everyone involved: for riders who want to ensure compliance with the law; and for RTD itself.

Section 2 of SB 151 would permit both Title VI and Title II claims to be brought in Colorado state court, a more efficient, less expensive, and – for RTD – a less risky forum than either federal court or the regulatory agency that has the power to cut the purse strings.

Public transportation is essential for disabled people and communities of color. Members of these communities should be able to secure equal treatment without the expense of a federal lawsuit or the systemic risk to RTD that an administrative complaint presents.

[i] 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.
[ii] 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq.
[iii] 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq.  35 Fed. Reg. 10080 (June 18, 1970).
[iv]  56 Fed. Reg. 35716 (July 26, 1991).
[v]  49 C.F.R. § 21.5(b)(2) (Title VI); 28 C.F.R. § 35.130(b)(4) (Title II).
[vi]  49 C.F.R. § 21.13(a).

HB20-1332: Prohibit Housing Discrimination Source Of Income

Concerning prohibitions on discrimination in housing based on the source of income.

SESSION: 2020 Regular Session
SUBJECT: Housing
HB20-1332: Prohibit Housing Discrimination Source Of Income

PASSED: SENT TO THE GOVERNOR FOR SIGNATURE ON 6/19

BILL SUMMARY:

The bill adds discrimination based on the source of income as a type of unfair housing practice. “Source of income” is defined to include any source of money paid directly, indirectly, or on behalf of a person, including income from any lawful profession or from any government or private assistance, grant, or loan program.

A person is prohibited from refusing to rent, lease, show for rent or lease, or transmit an offer to rent or lease housing based on a person’s source of income. In addition, a person cannot discriminate in the terms or conditions of a rental agreement against another person based on the source of income, or based upon the person’s participation in a 3rd-party contract required as a condition of receiving public housing assistance. A person cannot include in any advertisement for the rent or lease of housing any limitation or preference based on the source of income, or to use representations related to a person’s source of income to induce another person to rent or lease property. The restrictions do not apply to a landlord with 3 or fewer rental units.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)

Bill History
02/25/2020:  Introduced In House – Assigned to Judiciary
Upcoming Schedule: MAR 17, Tuesday, House Judiciary
1:30 pm | HCR 0112


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