Volume 11 | November 2018
Your monthly news & updates
A note from Matt....
“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.” – Charles M Schulz
At Thanksgiving, we should be thankful for what we have, and share with those who are not so blessed. As Teddy Roosevelt stated, “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”

lucy holding a sign that says all guests must be approved by the dog
Can Greyhounds Be Emotional Support Animals?
On November 6 th , Florida overwhelmingly approved of Amendment 13, which banned dog racing in the state.  Voters approved Amendment 13 by 69 percent, clearing the 60 percent threshold necessary for approval. Thousands of greyhounds will need to be adopted! Florida Greyhound Association estimates reach 8,000 racing dogs in Florida, with another 7,000 puppies at breeding farms. While the need is not immediate, greyhound racing will be phased out within a 26-month timeline-- by Dec. 31, 2020.

Radical Partners- Looking at the Intersection of Disability and Civic Engagement

Radical Partners is a social impact accelerator that identifies issues that matter most to the future of our city. They work to 1) accelerate the work of leaders tackling those issues head-on and 2) mobilize innovators, investors, and leaders with the community at large to collectively learn about issues and generate solutions together.

I first heard about Radical Partners two years ago.  I was at a Children’s Trust event and everyone was talking about the “10 days of connection” event that was going to happen in Miami. I was intrigued and excited. I wanted to know more and become involved. I found out the Radical Partners was working to coordinate this event so I reached out directly to them. We I called them, they were excited, energetic and eager to learn as much as they could about our organization, what we did, and did we want to participate in the event. So, I asked them the questions that I ask every organization, “so will the events be accessible? And how are you including people with disabilities?”

They had the best answers, they told me that they wanted to include everyone and what did they need to do to make this happen. This was the beginning of our friendship and partnership. 

a blue circle with the words radical partners in pink ink inside the circle
REV UP Florida!
Join one of our new committees.

Standing committees:

Next meeting December 7, 2018, at 10:30 am

email Debbie for more information at:
concentric circles in different shades of blue that show the ripple effect of the disability vote from families to friends to advocates to educators to professionals to providers to bureaucrats with a person in a wheelchair in the center
Out and About with DIG

Supper Social Club
December 3, 2018

13th Annual Regional Child Welfare Conference
December 6, 2018

REV up Florida!
Telephonic Meeting
December 7, 2018, 10:30am

a card with thank you in braille with a blue butterfly
thank you with a yellow smiley face.

Thank you for everyone that supported us!

We had 22 donations and raised $3,260

debbie and sharon at the pace luncheon
Debbie and Sharon at the PACE Luncheon
november supper social club at california pizza kitchen everyone sitting at a table eating dinner
November Supper Social Club.
debbie with the radical partners team
Debbie with the Radical Partners team at Give Miami Day at the CIC.
Kids Crusaders Corner
Julie will be back soon.
Kids Crusaders Logo
Miami Inclusion Alliance
The holidays are here and unfortunately, there is always a spike in incidents of Domestic Violence, yet the calls for help are usually lower than other times of the year. The holidays make people want to connect and maintain normalcy. A victim might try to get through the holidays for their family, and their children and parents. For everyone, there’s different times they feel are right times for them to seek help.
While it is easy to understand why someone would want to wait out the holidays and make a fresh start at the New Year, it can be dangerous to prolong a stay in a violent home. No matter when victims decide to seek help, it’s often a difficult transition, experts say and when a victim tells an abuser they’re leaving, or serves them with divorce or separation documents, this can also prompt violent behavior.
info graphic of 9 safety tips 1 keep phone charged 2 tell person not to call or text 3 save all messages 4 carry temporary paperwork with you 5 call 911 if person comes near you 6 let family know where you are 7 change locks 8 go to a shelter 9 get help
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at sharon@justdigit.org
Lucille's Wall
By: Lucy

Animals in the news-
horse and in the background emergency vehicles smoke and fire
Woolsey Fire in California
Wildfires raged in different parts of California. Residents were forced to evacuate and hundreds of animals have died and countless more have been displaced. Luckily hundreds of animals have been rescued including-dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, ducks and even a tortoise. Our thoughts and prayers are with California right now. Thoughts and prayers are not enough, please do what you can to help my brothers and sisters! (picture: A house near the Woolsey Fire. by: Matthew Simmons / Getty Images)       
2 greyhound dogs with large collars around their necks
Greyhound racing ban in Florida
During the election, Florida voters voted to ban greyhound racing in Florida. Unfortunately, the ban is not immediate but the industry will be shuttered by January 2021. That means thousands of greyhounds will be looking for their forever homes. Adopt don’t Shop! (picture: Some of the Greyhounds that will be available for adoption in the upcoming years. Photo by Alamy.)
Matt sitting at his desk with Lucy the dog.
Like our Facebook Pages
DIG Facebook Page - General DIG information
Deaf Alice Facebook Page - Issues related to the Deaf Community

Kids Crusaders Facebook Page - Issues related to medically fragile and medically complex children and their families

Animal Partners Facebook Page - Issues related to service animals and emotional support animals
Benefits Information
Benefits from SSA for People with Disabilities
The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.

head shot of Lesly
The View from Here

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

I used to be afraid of the dark. As a child, I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep without the light on in the hallway just outside my bedroom door. I carried that fear of the dark with me to adulthood. I never liked sleeping with all of the lights out. I came to realize as I grew older that it wasn’t the dark that I feared so much as it was the unknown. Not knowing what was in front of me at any moment was terrifying.

After my injury, I was in the hospital for so long, the nurses came to know me very well. They knew I liked to have the bathroom light on at night, so they were sure to leave it on each time they left my room. Or they would leave the door to my room half open so the light from the main hallway would shine through. At some point, though, I stopped needing the light. I couldn’t tell you exactly when it was. But I started to tell them they could close the door all the way. They didn’t need to leave the bathroom light on. The dark wasn’t so scary to me anymore. I guess after all of the pain and all of the surgeries I experienced after my fall, being in the dark didn’t seem so bad…in comparison. The unknown was not as scary as it once had been.

Head shot of Justine
The Wallet Card Project
The wallet card is a tool for young adults or adults to use when they come into contact with law enforcement; either a a victim, a witness, or as a potential suspect.

The wallet card will help to clarify any interaction with law enforcement so that the behavior of the person with a disability is not misinterpreted as suspicious or as criminal behavior.

The Wallet Card Project is a collaboration with DIG, CGPD, and UM-NSU CARD.
Wheels & Heels
Lorinda will be back next month
Lorinda in front of a cabinet in her home.
We Never Talk about the Losses
There has been much in the news lately about the mental health of attorneys and the stresses of practicing law. This is especially true for attorneys who have a litigation practice and for those of us who work with vulnerable populations. I have spent nearly my entire career working with vulnerable populations. I love my work and I love knowing that I am helping people every day in small ways and big ways. What I never talk about, however, are the losses. I lose, not as often as I win, but I do lose and when I lose it has devastating consequences that I carry with me. Even when I do everything correctly, I lose. This year I have had some unexpected losses that I am struggling to understand. For the first time, in a long time, I am feeling burned out and overwhelmed and I believe it stems from these losses. I did everything right. I was prepared, I was organized, I was motivated, I was excited, my clients were prepared, but I lost. I take full responsibility for the losses. I have lost before. I have lost big before. I once had a case dismissed – after years of litigation – and thousands of dollars spent – because the judge did not like the facts of the case. I have been out litigated. I once lost a criminal case because the defense attorney (a public defender) was just better than me and convinced the jury that I had not proven my case. I have picked bad juries. I once put a doctor on a jury and he turned the entire panel against my client arguing that everyone is too litigious. I have missed deadlines, and had clients lie to me and settled cases that probably should have been litigated. I am human. So I ask myself, why now am I struggling to understand these losses.  

head of stephanie langer holding a business file and wearing a black and white polkadot shirt.
educational support flyer that lists prices for consultations school meetings and legal representation
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Follow us on Twitter @dislaw
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Supper Social Club
Join us for dinner and conversation at California Pizza Kitchen in Coral Gables.

December 3, 2018
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Are you coming to the December Supper Social Club?
California Pizza Kitchen, 300 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134

12/03/18 6:30pm - 12/03/18 8:30pm

Supper Social Club.
I'll be there!
I can't make it
Dragonfly Training
Watch out for our new training program called Dragonfly.

Coming Soon.
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Follow us on Instagram
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Your Upward Journey
In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey: It is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). I intend to promote the book through self-help seminars and sale of merchandise, such a mugs, journals, etc.

Disability Independence Group | Phone: 305-669-2822 | Fax: 304-442-4181