Sharing Information Loud and Clear June 2021
Sharing Information Loud and Clear
In This Issue:
- Message from the Chairperson
- All About Choice: Celebrating the 21st Anniversary of the Olmstead Decision
- World Elder Abuse Day is June 15
- CA SILC Celebrates Pride!
- ILCKC Save the Date!
photo description: Woman reading Braille, wheelchair user on beach facing away from camera with arms raised triumphantly, and two smiling women posing for photo
Message From The Chair
Photo description: Peter Mendoza, SILC Chairperson
Greetings Valued Independent Living (IL) Leaders and Community Members,
Happy Pride Month! Let me begin by thanking each of you for your tireless dedication to supporting the rights and independence of people with disabilities and those aging in to disability every day. I also honor LGBTQI+ advocates, without their contribution to Disability Rights/ Independent Living movements many of the gains our community has made would not have been possible. We are forever in your debt.
Back in March 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish consistency across the state in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Throughout 2020, and into 2021, we have all been dealing with the devastating impacts of the pandemic and looking forward to California reopening.
The COVID-19 pandemic exasperated long standing issues such as the service gaps in the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, severely impacting people with disabilities and older adults. Many people with severe disabilities who receive home and community-based long-term services and supports require nursing home levels of care and have fought to stay out of institutions, but this pandemic has threatened their independence. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that people who receive direct care support and other services through the Regional Center have also reported significant service gaps in their services and supports during the pandemic which also places their independence in jeopardy. In the Disability Rights/ Independent Living movement one of our founding principles in that access to long-term services and supports is a fundamental RIGHT. In my view the philosophy governing programs like IHSS needs to change. People with disabilities who are recipients of IHSS have to advocate for every hour of service for their basic needs to remain independent in their community. I know I am preaching to the choir; people without disabilities can get in and out of bed whenever they want, eat whenever they want, stay out late and have fun whenever they want, go to the bathroom whenever they want, shower, get dressed, and even change their clothes whenever they want. However, people with disabilities who depend on programs like IHSS do not have the same privilege. This is an issue of equity and rights. People on IHSS have reported having to stay in bed for a few days, weeks, and even months because of the insufficient supply of IHSS providers. This must change. We must do better.
With that said, I want to honor everyone who is working on initiatives to expand long term services and supports with the goal of making these vital services available to and affordable for all who need them. It’s important in our work, and a fundamental principle of our movement that we listen to the lived experience of people with disabilities when crafting policy to address the very important issues which are part of our lived experience every day.
Despite the barriers the pandemic caused, it also provided some opportunities. We have recently seen increases in federal funding to Home and Community Based Services in the state; we have seen more investment in the people with disabilities in California, and in our Independent Living Centers; we have seen system alignment between agencies serving our communities; we have had “wins” in the vaccine arena; we have begun to initiate changes to access that were long overdue. In response to the pandemic, we have seen more attention on the local, State, and Federal level to disparities faced by people with disabilities, older adults, Black and Brown communities, and Asian American Pacific-Islander communities.
The SILC will continue to fight for the rights of people with disabilities in our state, to drive the Independent Living philosophy in everything we do, and to work to continue the fight for equality and equity in the state for people with disabilities. If this sounds like something you are passionate about, reach out! We are currently recruiting for 3-4 Council positions which will open in September. Please reach out to us today.
In Unity and Solidarity,
Peter T. Mendoza
All About Choice: Celebrating the 21st Anniversary of the Olmstead Decision
Photo description left to right: Sue Jamieson, the attorney that brought the Olmstead case to the Supreme Court; Elaine Wilson and Lois Curtis, prevailing plaintiffs
On June 22, 1999, US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg delivered what has become known as the “Olmstead Decision“. Olmstead v. LC is regarded as one of the most important civil rights case for people with disabilities. Drawing from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Supreme Court held that people with disabilities have a qualified right to live in the community of their choosing and that states must eliminate the unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities. The decision acknowledged that segregating individuals with disabilities in institutional settings deprives them of the chance to participate in their communities, interact with people who do not have disabilities and make their own day-to-day choices. The Olmstead decision furthered the promise of the ADA, prohibiting unnecessary segregation and expanding integrated services for people with disabilities.
In 2003, the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency released the California Olmstead Plan, which provides a blueprint for improving California’s long-term care delivery system to ensure that persons with disabilities and older adults have appropriate access and choice regarding community-based services and long-term care options. The Olmstead Advisory Committee was established within the California Health and Human Services Agency in 2005 to ensure the involvement of people with disabilities and other system stakeholders in making recommendations on actions to improve California’s long term care system. The Olmstead Advisory Committee members represent consumers, family members, providers and advocates.
The Olmstead Advisory Committee was originally established within the CHHS in 2005. In March 2021, the Committee was renamed to the “Disability and Aging Community Living Advisory Committee” to better reflect and communicate the vision and purpose of the Committee. The Committee builds upon the work of the California Olmstead Plan released in 2012, the Governor’s Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force Report issued in November 2020, and the Governor’s Master Plan for Aging issued in January 2021.
On the upcoming 21st anniversary of the Olmstead Decision, the California State Independent Living Council celebrates the progress made in civil rights for people with disabilities. We honor the plaintiffs of Olmstead v. LC, Louis Curtis and Elaine Wilson, who had mental health disabilities and demanded equality under the law and the freedom to choose. Let’s also celebrate the efforts of people with disabilities and their families and the disability rights community, and the sacrifices they have made to further these efforts.
While we celebrate, we also acknowledge there is more to be done. We must continue to build an array of community-based and integrated options to support choice and independence, and work to end inappropriate and unnecessary institutionalization. Together, we can advance integration, encourage and support full, meaningful inclusion in community life, and economic self-sufficiency.
World Elder Abuse Day is June 15
Photo description: purple text reads “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day” A ribbon serves as the “o” in “world”. “Building Strong Support for Elders” in light blue text. Two figures of people, grasping hands above the world.
The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations (UN) launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, 2006 in an effort to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for our communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elders, and reaffirm our country’s commitment to the principle of justice for all.
Elder abuse is widespread. Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, in part because so many of our communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it. Research suggests that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.
The effects of elder abuse on our communities range from public health to economic issues. The good news is that we can prevent and address the issue of elder abuse. There are many ways to strengthen our social supports through policies, services, and programs that keep us integrated in our communities as we age.
CA SILC CELEBRATES PRIDE!
Photo description: LBGTQ Progress Pride flag, with white text “The CA SILC Celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride)
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the United States the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the nation the “day” soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
The rainbow flag is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) pride and LGBTQ social movements. Also known as the gay pride flag or LGBTQ pride flag, the colors reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ community. Using a rainbow flag as a symbol of gay pride began in San Francisco, but eventually became common at LGBTQ rights events worldwide.
Originally devised by artist Gilbert Baker, the design has undergone several revisions since its debut in 1978, first to remove colors then restore them based on availability of fabrics. Baker’s first rainbow flag had eight colors, though the most common variant consists of six stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The flag is typically flown horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as it would be in a natural rainbow.
In June 2018 designer Daniel Quasar released a redesign incorporating elements to bring focus on inclusion and progress within the community. While retaining the common six-stripe rainbow design as a base, the “Progress” variation adds a chevron along the hoist that features black, brown, light blue, pink, and white stripes to bring those communities (marginalized people of color, trans individuals, and those living with HIV/AIDS and those who have been lost) to the forefront; “the arrow points to the right to show forward movement, while being along the left edge shows that progress still needs to be made.”
ILCKC Asks You to Save the Date!
Every year the Independent Living Center of Kern County hosts an Annual ADA Event. This year it will be on Friday July 23rd. They have a great line up of professional Disability Rights speakers including Alex Alvarez, Jan Garrett, Paula Rubin, Christina Fatha and more! This is a free event and open to everyone. The event will be from about 10am to 2pm. Registration will begin on June 23rd.
Need accommodations? Questions or Information? Brooke Whitehead-Tolles, Program Manager 661-325-1063 (VOICE), 661-369-8966 (Video Phone), 800-529-9541 (Toll Free) email@example.com
View the ILCKC Save the Date Flyer