Expanding Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

Logo for Disability Independence Group, Inc. (DIG).
Newsletter - Volume #4 April 2016
A Note from Matt ...
Matt sitting down after the AIDS walk on Miami Beach.
People with disabilities make up 20 percent of the U.S. population and, if people with disabilities register and vote at the same rate as the rest of the nation, between five and 10 million more votes will be cast in the next presidential election.  Being responsive to the needs of the disability issues should be a priority to candidates, and persons with disabilities should vote to have their voices and needs heard.  #CripTheVote is a nonpartisan campaign to engage both voters and politicians to learn more about the right to vote and disability issues for voters.  There are some great resources to learn more, including in this newsletter and visiting http://disabilitythinking.com/election-2016-cripthevote/ 

DIG in the News

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March 22, 2016, College Magazine, http://www.collegemagazine.com/internship-opportunity/
April 11, 2016, SunSentinel, New Florida Bar section boosts animal law, http://www.sun-sentinel.com/features/fl-animal-law-section-florida-20160408-story.html
April 20, 2016, Miami Daily Business Review, Accused of Being Drunk on Bench, Miami-Dade Judge Suspended With Pay, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/id=1202755333281/Accused-of-Being-Drunk-on-Bench-MiamiDade-Judge-Suspended-With-Pay#ixzz46gNLGU3e
April 19, 2016, Wallet Card: free for those who have autism spectrum disorder, WPLG Local 10 News, http://www.local10.com/health/wallet-card-free-for-those-who-have-autism-spectrum-disorder
April 19, 2016, 'Wallet Card' helps those with autism communicate with police, WPLG Local 10 News, http://www.local10.com/video/wallet-card-helps-those-with-autism-communicate-with-police
April 20, 2016, Local Spotlight: Autism Awareness Month, NBC6 South Florida, http://www.nbcmiami.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Local-Spotlight_-Autism-Awareness-Month_Miami-376411611.html

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featuredarticleThe Presidential Candidates and Disability
By: Victoria Chiippari

Historically speaking, presidential candidates have rarely put focus on disability rights as a part of their platforms. According to the U.S Census Bureau (2012), it is estimated that nearly 1 in 5 Americans have a disability. That means there are over 56 million individuals with disabilities in the United States capable of making an educated vote during this upcoming presidential election. According to a Research Alliance for Accessible Voting survey report (2013), only 15.6 million individuals with disabilities voted in the last election, a number that will hopefully increase with proper resources and educational information regarding each presidential candidate's take on disabilities. While candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have included disabilities in their official platforms, the rest of the candidates have not released official plans or statements that address the disability community as a whole. We have put together a brief overview of the candidates running in the 2016 presidential election, focusing specifically on their take on disabilities, including past experiences and documented quotes. We hope this will be a useful resource for you in order to make an educated vote in the upcoming election. With each vote, we can work one step closer to ensuring that individuals with disabilities are no longer neglected in the political platforms of our nation's future leaders.
Citation: https://newrepublic.com/article/128546/2016-candidates-need-stop-ignoring-disability-vote

Out and About with DIG
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Florida Fair Housing Summit
ABC's of Emotional Support Animals, Orlando, FL
4-29-16      Florida GAL Conference, Orlando, FL 
May 2016 
FHA 1st Design & Construction Training, Miami, FL  
Small Business ADA Summit, Hallandale Beach, FL 
6-4-16  Guardianship Training, Miami, FL 
6-17-16 FL Bar Animal Law Committee, Orlando, FL 
June 2016  NFHA Conference, Washington, DC 
July 2016  47th Annual Autism Society Conference, New Orleans, LA 
Sept. 2016  Child Protection Summit, Orlando, FL 
  9-9-16 ABC's of Emotional Support Animals, Tallahassee, FL
2016 DRBA West Coast Conference, Los Angeles, CA
Matthew Dietz, Marc Charmatz, Clara Smit, and Sharon Casserta at  2016 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium
Matthew Dietz, Marc Charmatz, Clara Smit, and Sharon Casserta at 2016 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium
Susan Rubio Rivera_ Sharon Langer_ Ana Lorenzo Vega_ Debbie Dietz_ and Liese Brown _Brenda Rivera not pictured_ at working meeting on the intersection of disability and domestic violence-sexual assault.
Susan Rubio Rivera, Sharon Langer, Ana Lorenzo Vega, Debbie Dietz, and Liese Brown (Brenda Rivera not pictured) at a working meeting on the intersection of disability and domestic violence-sexual assault.
3rd DCA Appeal with the lawyers and staff from HOPE
Oral Arguements at the3rd DCA.  With HOPE staff and FCHR.

Interns Nardo and Victoria holding Murphee the dog
Victoria and Nardo.  DIG Spring Interns

head shot of Larry McDowell.
litigationLitigation: Is Healthcare only for the "Able Bodied"?
By: Matthew Dietz

When Larry McDowell went to Affordable Dentures in West Palm Beach, Florida, to have a dental procedure on March 17th, there was no reason that he could possibly believe that he wouldn't be able to get the same services as anybody else. But once Mr. McDowell reached the front desk, he was directed to follow someone to the examination room. Mr. McDowell then said, "I'm blind, could you help to where I'm going?" The employee at the desk said nothing. Once a member of the office staff arrived, Mr. McDowell asked for assistance to the examination room - Mr. McDowell asked to hold her elbow.
She said, "No. We can't help you unless you have someone to help you. We can't treat you unless you bring someone to assist you." Mr. McDowell then asked to speak to the dentist. When Mr. McDowell asked where the dentist was, the employee replied that he was in surgery and would be there for the next two hours. A patient who was watching the interaction told Mr. McDowell, "No he's not. He's standing right there." After the patient's remark, the employee said to Mr. McDowell, "The dentist doesn't want to speak to you today."
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kidscrusadersKids Crusaders Corner
By: Julie Fioravanti 

Happy 25th Birthday Nick!

Julie hugging Nick for his 25th birthday.

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dvAt The Intersection of Disability and Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault

We have renamed my column THE INTERSECTION. The column will still explore the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault but will focus on the extraordinary impact those issues have on persons with disabilities.
Since the theme this month is presidential candidates and where they stand on the issue of Disability Rights, I researched the platforms of all the still standing candidates. Only two have any position at all on their official websites that address disability rights and no candidate has any official information or position on domestic violence or sexual assault except Hillary Clinton who has a position against sexual assault on college campuses. Their positions are below:

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If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at sharon@justdigit.org
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walletcardThe Wallet Card Project

The wallet card is a tool for young adults to use when they come into contact with law enforcement; either as 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.

Click here to sign up for a wallet card

The Wallet Card Project is a collaboration with DIG, CGPD, and UM-NSU CARD.
Wallet Card Update:  
Map of the US.  Geographic regions are in different colors.

From July to December 2015, DIG made a total of 550 wallet cards. 74 cards were made in the West, 30 in the Southwest, 83 in the Midwest, 98 in the Northeast, 256 in the Southeast, and even 9 from outside the United States. We sent 2 to Australia, 1 to Puerto Rico, 2 to the United Kingdom, and 4 to Canada. You can find out more about our Wallet Card Project at http://www.justdigit.org/wallet-cards/ .

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Employment support for people with disabilities
If you are disabled and you are pursuing employment, you are not alone. You can find many agencies providing employment support that will help you reach your vocational goal.

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Lisa Goodman head shot
lisaArticle He's Got the Moves

Nyle DiMarco is without doubt a "triple threat." His website even describes him as such, "Nyle DiMarco is an actor, model and spokesman." No offense to whoever wrote his website but they dropped the ball when they failed to include dancer, which makes him a quadruple threat. Currently, Nyle DiMarco is a contestant on Dancing with the Stars and he is a force to be reckoned with on the dance floor. DiMarco's celebrity status, which landed him a spot on the show, is attributed to his acting career and winning season 22 of America's Next Top Model.

Peta and Nyle dancing on dancing with the stars.

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The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi
patuYour 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 as mugs, journals etc.


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penguinA Parcel of Penguins


For more information about DIG and to find out how you can be involved, please call or email our executive director, Debbie Dietz at 305-669-2822 or  debbie@justdigit.org. 
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Disability Independence Group, Inc.

Thank you to the organizations that support our projects.

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  Disability Independence Group, Inc. | 305-669-2822 | info@justdigit.org | www.justdigit.org