Volume 01 | January 2018
Your monthly news & updates
A note from Matt....
Without goals, there is nothing to strive for. These are DIG’s goals for 2018!

1. Ensure that kids with disabilities receive the services they need in their homes, and not in nursing homes.

2. Stop persons with Autism or intellectual or developmental disabilities from being arrested by police and placed in psychiatric wards.

3. Propose and enact a licensing statute for sign language interpreters in Florida to ensure safety for our Deaf community.

4. Promote identification of and services to kids with disabilities to stem the flow of children to school to prison pipeline.

5. Provide emotional support animals for kids in the foster care system!

6. Change my profession’s rules to stop and prevent stigma against lawyers who live with mental illness.

7. Fight baseless stigma against my LGBTQIA brothers and sisters.

8. Firmly establish that my DOJ disability friends have jurisdiction to enforce the law, and keep the flame lit during darker times.

9. Educate and prevent domestic violence against persons with disabilities and ensure that support services are available to victims.

If you have questions...ask. If you want to help, donate at www.justdigit.org  
matt and Lucy sitting at the conference room table
Feature Article
On January 22 nd , I was honored to represent Disability Independence Group and speak on behalf of The Florida Hate Crime Coalition (FHCC). They applauded the recent filing of legislation that would strengthen Florida’s hate crime law. This bill, Florida HB 211 and SB 588, ensures that all persons are protected from crime that is perpetrated, in part, by a person’s race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, homeless status,  advanced age, gender, or gender identity.

Please sign ADL’s petition TODAY so a committee hearing can be scheduled for SB588/HB211.

blue circle with the words Florida Hate Crime Coalition let's act to protect all Floridians in the middle of the circle.
Ed Roberts Day - TODAY! Jan. 23rd
Disability Rights are Civil Rights, and every civil rights movement has its heroes. For the Disability Rights movement, the father of the independent living movement is Ed Roberts. At a time when a person with polio was expected to spend his days in an iron lung, and not expected to participate in the community, Ed Roberts persisted, lived, and participated in his life and community.  

black and white photo of Ed Roberts smiling.
Out and About with DIG

Groundhog Day Program
Stetson Law School

Matt standing at a podium speaking at a press conference.
Happy New Year
Matt Speaking at Press Conference
Kids Crusaders Corner
Julie will be back soon.
Kids Crusaders Logo
Miami Inclusion Alliance
Last month I wrote about the staggering number of person with disabilities that are victims of sexual assault. I spoke about their vulnerabilities to abuse and harassment. This topic remains front and center as a wave of discussion has spread across this country about sexual harassment and sexual assault. I am particularly interested in the Times Up Movement. It is a new initiative to correct the power imbalance that still exists for women. 300 prominent actresses and female agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives formed this ambitious, sprawling initiative to fight systemic sexual harassment in Hollywood and in blue-collar workplaces nationwide.

purple ribbon for Domestic Violence month with the words love shouldn't hurt written on it
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at sharon@justdigit.org
Lucille's Wall
By: Lucy
New Rules for in-flight support animals

Delta is tightening its rules on my brothers and sisters who provide a service or support, that travel in the main cabin with their companion. On Friday, January 19, 2018, Delta revealed its new rules that beginning March 1 st Delta will require documentation confirming the safety and necessity of service/support animal 48 hours before departure.

It seems these new rules were prompted after incidents of unprofessional conduct (including but not limited to biting) by my brothers and sisters who allegedly provide a service or support. I say “allegedly” because many people were abusing the system and identifying their pets as a service animal or an emotional support animal in order to avoid the costs associated for flying with regular pets. On a side note- there is no legitimate registry for service or emotional support animals for individuals who go on line to obtain such credentials.

Additionally, Delta is limiting the type of emotional support animals that are permitted in the main cabin with their companion. Delta will no longer permit turkeys, possums, snakes, ferrets, reptiles, or anything with tusks or hooves any more. This may create a problem for passengers since any type of animal (subject to the animal being a direct threat to the health or safety of others or unreasonable) may be an emotion support animal.
Matt sitting at his desk with Lucy the dog.
picture of a duck in the aisle of an airplane.
Duck walking on an airplane.
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
Ticket to work and WIPA what that means?

Many working aged individuals with disabilities (ages 18-64) are not working. The reasons vary, but for some it’s a fear of “If I start working, will my benefits be taken away from me?” The truth is:  No. People with disabilities can work without losing their financial security or health care benefits. There are many programs available that make it possible to still collect benefits while working. Here is a brief overview of a few programs available. 

For more information call the TTW help line at 1-866-968-7842 / 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday from 8:00AM - 8:00PM EST. For general inquiries, you may e-mail 

check TTW website http://www.chooseworkttw.net/
head shot of Lesly
The View from Here
Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day.”
– Michael Josephson

I’ve decided to take a new approach to my New Year’s resolutions this year. In the past, I’ve done what most of us do, swear up and down to lose weight, exercise more, get more sleep.... the list of empty promises with vague, arbitrary deadlines has been an endless one for me. And, of course, inevitably, a few weeks or even a few days into the new year I’ve already broken half of the promises I made, and, yes, probably forgotten about the rest. The reality of real life always takes over and the resolutions go out the window along with any hope of getting any of those things done. 

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.
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Follow us on Twitter @dislaw
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Follow us on Twitter @justdigit
Shop Amazon Smile
When you shop Amazon Smile, you can support our organization.
Supper Social Club
Join us for dinner and conversation at California Pizza Kitchen in Coral Gables.

February 5, 2018, at 6:30pm

black rectangle box outlined with a yellow line and the words Supper social club in the box in white
Dragonfly Training
Watch out for our new training program called Dragonfly.

Training #1: February 8, 2018, at 10:00am

Training #2: March 8, 2018, at 10:00am

Click here for more information on the trainer, Stephanie Langer
the word dragonfly and the to the right an image of a dragonfly.  the entire image is green.
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Follow us on Instagram
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Follow us on Instagram DisabilityIndependenceGroup
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: 304-441-4181