For More Information:
Mike Oxford: (785) 224-3865
Kelly Buckland: (208) 914-0650
Dawn Russell: (303) 884-1471
WHO: National ADAPT and the National Council on Independent Living
WHAT: Protest at Congressional Briefing by ACCSES
WHERE: Congressional Visitor Center
WHEN: Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Disability Rights Groups Protest Provider Efforts to Continue the Exploitation and Isolation of People with Disabilities
On the eve of the anniversary of signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Disability Rights activists from ADAPT and The National Council for Independent Living are at the Congressional Visitor Center protesting an ACCSES briefing to promote H.R. 5658, the Workplace Choice and Flexibility for Individuals with Disabilities Act which threatens to roll back the advanced made to integrate people with disabilities.
“Contrary to its name, this bill is neither about choice or flexibility for people with disabilities,” said Ami Weidler-Hyten ADAPT organizer from Topeka Kansas and the Executive Director for Programs and Operations at the Topeka Independent Living Center. “The title is doublespeak intended to mislead the public and congress about a bill that will only limit the choices of disabled people and further our segregation.”
The purpose of H.R. 5658 is to put money in the pockets of providers and businesses that profit off exploitation and segregation of the Disability Community. This bill resurrects walls of exclusion by segregating people with disabilities both socially and economically, allowing service providers to keep disabled people in workplaces that are isolated from the rest of society, and to pay those workers pennies on the dollar for the value of their work.
“It is dishonest to equate competitive, integrated, community employment with segregated, sub-minimum-wage work and it is a perversion to call the exploitation of disabled labor ‘Choice’”, said Kelly Buckland the Executive Director of The National Council on Independent Living. “This naked money grab, by service providers comes at the expense of disabled lives and liberty. In taking away our opportunities for competitive integrated community employment ACCSES is actively interfering with our ability to earn a living, support ourselves and live our lives.”
ADAPT and NCIL went to the briefing demanding that ACCSES turn it over to them to educate Congress about what real integration looks like in the workplace and the nation.
“Congress doesn’t need to hear from service providers who see our lives as nothing more than an opportunity for exploitation, bodies to profit from like the private prison and nursing home industries, said ADAPT Organizer and Not Dead Yet Director of Minority Outreach, Anita Cameron from Rochester, New York. “They need to hear from disabled people, they need to hear about the lives we want to live and the communities we want to build. 28 years after the signing of the ADA it is insulting that any organization would pretend to know our needs better than we do.”
ADAPT’s history, the issues it is fighting for, and its activities can be found at www.adapt.org, the National ADAPT page on Facebook, and on Twitter under the hashtag #ADAPTandRESIST.