Your monthly news & updates
A note from Matt....
At Disability Independence Group, we are committed to social justice and disability justice. Over the past twenty years, I have seen the effects of systemic racism in my community of Miami, as well as our country and at all times when we could, we have fought for the rights of those aggrieved. Communities of color are deprived of basic programs and services which have a devastating effect, including, but not limited to, institutionalization of children or adults with disabilities in group homes or nursing homes, police actions which involve the unnecessary use of force to use psychiatric facilities instead of providing services, denial of accessible and available apartments or homes, increased use of seclusion, restraints, and the criminal justice system instead of services in schools. We must change as a country. We have adopted the following statement to crystalize our work to acknowledge, address, and take steps to work to break down this barrier:

Disability Independence Group condemns racism and acknowledges the impact that historic, deeply rooted, and systemic inequities of racism continue to have on our community, and especially to persons of color with disabilities. We are committed to work with all community partners to address these injustices by addressing these systemic inequities and ensuring not only that necessary and equitable programs and services are obtained, but by also increasing accountability for those who deny basic human rights of a safe community, education, housing and medical care to persons due to race and disability.

In this newsletter, please read about our new case where DIG, along with Justice for Kids, represent Alysha Cesare, and have sued the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Children and Families to change the child dependency system to take into account accommodations for persons with disabilities. While the disparities to persons of color in the dependency system is well known, the affect is compounded for persons of color with disabilities. The denial of programs and services, along with the inherent bias of law enforcement, results in many parents with disabilities of color losing custody of their children.  
black and white photo of a protest with a diverse group of people both by race and ability holding a banner that says injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere by MLK Jr
Alysha Cesaire – Addressing intersectional discrimination in the child welfare system

Alysha in a yellow dress with her hair braided at court with two other people in the background.
For many years, the problem of racial and ethnic disproportionality and disparity in the child welfare system has been widely known. In addition, parents with disabilities are overly referred to child welfare services, and once involved, are permanently separated at disproportionately high rates. Families of color comprised of a person with a disability have less access to programs and services for the family member with a disability, and together with racial bias and discrimination leads to separation.
When the role of child protective workers are left in the hands of law enforcement, the same type of inherent bias in policing is also implicit in decisions made for removing children from their parents. Law enforcement employees are often allowed to determine what’s best for families with a person with a disability with a law enforcement approach instead of a social work approach based on child welfare practices.

Alysha Cesaire is a 26-year-old Haitian woman with a disability. After giving birth to a healthy baby boy in February of 2018, a nurse and hospital social worker were concerned with Alysha’s ability to breastfeed and the assistance she would receive at home regarding her spinal ataxia, a hereditary disease that affects the brain and causes an uncoordinated walk, poor hand-eye coordination and abnormal speech.

Out and About with DIG

Supper Social Club
July 6, 2020
Virtual - Meeting with Elizabeth Schwartz

Enable Project - Workshop 2
July 8, 2020
Disability 101

Enable Project - Workshop 3
July 29, 2020
The Intersection of Disability and Civic Engagement

Social Supper Club
August 3, 2020
Virtual - Meeting with Public Defender, Carlos Martinez

Enable Project - Workshop 4
August 12, 2020
The Intersection of Disability & Abuse

Enable Project - Workshop 5
August 26, 2020
How to Host an Accessible Event

DIG in the News
DIG in! for Equal Justice.
It is that time of the year when attorneys must strive to satisfy their professional responsibility to provide pro bono service. We are hoping that this year you will
DIG in! for Equal Justice and make at least a $350.00 contribution to:

This will satisfy your responsibility and help us continue to: 

Guaranty   the rights of all persons with disabilities equal opportunity to live in the community by educating and advocating for their rights.

Fight   discrimination in employment against persons with disabilities, and work with employers and governments to ensure that persons with disabilities have adequate job opportunities.

Ensure   that persons with disabilities have safe interactions with law enforcement through  The WALLET CARD PROJECT   .  This is DIG’s signature efforts in conjunction with police departments to heighten the awareness and communication between law enforcement and people with disabilities.    

Your  $350.00   or more contribution will satisfy The Florida Bar Rules of Professional Responsibility to provide pro bono legal services.

Please make you tax deductible donation using this  link   ,

or mail a check to: 
Disability Independence Group Inc.
2990 SW 35 Avenue    
Miami, FL 33133    
hurricane flags with the words hurricane preparedness are you ready
Hurricane Tips prepared by: Claire Landon
A Hurricane Kit Should Include:
  1. At least a 3 day supply of perishable food
  2. A gallon of water per day per person
  3. Medications
  4. A flashlight
  5. A first aid kit
  6. COVID-19 Supplies:
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Soap
  • 2 cloth face coverings/person
Prepare Your Home:
  1. Clean drains and rain gutters
  2. Bring inside all of your outdoor furniture
  3. Project your windows
  4. Trim or remove trees close to your home
Emergency & Evacuation Assistance (EEAP):
satellite view of a hurricane. it shows the eye of the storm and then surrounded by red yellow and green for the intensity of the storm.
The EEAP provides evacuation support to residents who need specialized transportation assistance or whose medical needs prevent them from evacuating on their own.

You must register prior to an emergency.

The program offers:
  • Specialized transportation
  • Safe Shelter
  • Medical Monitoring
  • Wellness Checks

You can apply online, click here

You can call 311

You can email
Miami Inclusion Alliance (MIA)
We are now in hurricane season and history tells us, that for victims of domestic violence/sexual assault, when disaster strikes domestic violence follows. There are usually increased calls to hotlines, urgent need for shelter and extreme stress and economic impact. The violence can take many forms, from intimate partner violence, sexual assault and to child abuse.

Those who work in the domestic violence provider world have seen the aftermath of a storm and know what might be coming. Meg Baldwin, the Executive Director of Refuge House, which works to end domestic violence in the eight northern panhandle counties in Florida explains, “Weather events like these and disasters, in general, are opportunities for abusers—both domestic violence attackers and sexual assault perpetrators—to take advantage of the restrictive access survivors have to resources and to also take advantage of the isolation in the aftermath that survivors experience. That isolation becomes even more intense and is even more of an opportunity for attackers to harm others.”

The View from Here
" Life imposes things on you that you can’t control, but you still have the choice of how you’re going to live through this ." — Celine Dion

As our city begins to open up once again, little by little, this month, my decision to emerge from isolation was sort of forced on me. As a recent breast Cancer survivor, I have to have mammograms every 6 months. I knew I had, before the Coronavirus pandemic, scheduled my latest follow up for early June. I had been isolating, with my husband, at home since mid-March. The only time I had left the house was for short walks down my sidewalk and back. I hadn’t even gone to the grocery store, as we had our groceries delivered during this quarantine. Trying as best we could to be safe from the virus. All the while I had the date of the follow up mammogram looming over me, like impending doom.

As the mammogram date drew closer, I had two choices – to go or not to go? I could cancel because of my fears of the virus or I could get my mask, my hand sanitizer and just go. These 6-month exams are so important, especially for me, who just had a lumpectomy last year. So, my decision was clear. I would have my scheduled testing done. I had so many concerns venturing out after being home for so long. My biggest concern was, of course, the Coronavirus and would Baptist Hospital take enough precautions before, during and after my testing, to keep me protected?

Head shot of Justine
Preparing Your Animals for a Hurricane

By: Claire Landon
Lucy with a sign in her mouth that says all guests must be approved by the dog.
  1. Find out if your local public shelter is open and if they accept pets.
  2. Keep a collar and tag on your pet
  3. Make sure your pet's license is current
  4. All pets must have an up-to-date rabies vaccination
  5. What you must bring for your pet
  • Proof of Residency within an evacuation zone
  • Medical and current vaccination records for each pet
  • Miami-Dade County Dog Licence
  • Dog Food and Water with bowls
  • Portable carrier
  • Leash
  • Poop bags
  • Training pads
  • Toys
  • Dog Treats
We are still accepting wallet card applications however, it is taking us about 2 weeks to process each application.
The Wallet Card Project
The wallet card is a tool to be used by a teenager or an adult with a disability. Currently, we have developed cards for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Intellectual Disabilities.
Access The Vote Florida
Meetings will be every Friday at 11am.

Toll Free Call: (888) 585-9008
Conference Room No.: 133-116-452(#)
Educational Information
Stephanie will be back next month with a new article.
head of stephanie langer holding a business file and wearing a black and white polkadot shirt.
Supper Social Club - We are Virtual
black rectangle box outlined with a yellow line and the words Supper social club in the box in white
Virtual Supper Social Club
Zoom Link

07/06/20 6:30pm - 07/06/20 8:00pm

Virtual Supper Social Club with special guest, Elizabeth "Liz" Schwartz. I will send the zoom link a few days before the event.
I'll be there!
I can't make it
Your Upward Journey
The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi
In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey:

It is Easier Than You Think!, a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale).