Recent Blog Posts
On Sunday April 15, 2018, Judge Merrilee Ehrlich stripped any shred of dignity or humanity from a 59 year-old woman, who appeared before her, in her first appearance before the court after being arrested. In as much as the video and the transcript demonstrate how unhinged Judge Ehrlich acted towards this women, and how the Court staff and lawyers, like palace eunuchs, allow such unabated behavior to continue. However, the outrage from the surface must be examined, and lead to thorough introspection and change, and not merely the retirement and resignation of this long-time judge.
So, I thought I could add my two cents to the conversation and suggest an alternative to the negative term, “wheelchair bound.” I think we can, and we should do better. The next time you find yourself describing someone like me, who rocks a chair, try this one out for size: –“Do you know Justine? Yes. I do. I heard she’s Wheelchair Strong.”
Through vigorous physical therapy over the past two years I am starting to walk again. First it was just a few steps, now I am able to walk outside and close to the length of a football field. I am getting my life back, all because I have had this therapy which Medicare has provided to me. I am excited about the future now and am getting back on my feet. … This is why I ask you to please vote to repeal the Medicare cap so that those of us who truly are benefiting can continue to do so, and thousands more will be able to do so in the future. The cap is currently so limiting for those of us who need more than just a few visits. And the out of pocket cost would be astronomical for patients who are making progress getting back on their feet again.
By Matthew W. Dietz and Carlos J. Martinez Twenty years ago, when a 7-year-old had a temper tantrum in a public school, the school would suspend the child. The police would not be called, and it would be unthinkable to subject the child to an involuntary mental examination in a psychiatric ward of… Read More »
By: Justine Chichester “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,… Read More »
By: Matthew W. Dietz On January 22nd, 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… Read More »
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.
By: Lesly Lopez To be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). A person who is earning more than a certain monthly amount (net of impairment related work expenses) is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA. The amount of monthly earnings considered as SGA… Read More »
When a Sign Language interpreter gestures in gibberish, it places the lives of the members of the Deaf community at risk. This must stop, and Florida must license and regulate sign language interpreters.
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 and help you to reach your vocational goal. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Is a federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or… Read More »
By Justine Chichester I’ve been reading Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Option B. In it, she writes about facing adversity, building resilience and finding joy. Sandberg writes, “You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up; draw on it when you need it. In that process… Read More »
I have been an active participant, advocate, and lawyer in the Disability Rights movement for the past twenty years, so I am always excited to hear new views or learn new skills. Last week, Debbie and I attended the Ruderman Inclusion Summit in Boston where we had the opportunity to meet with about 1,200… Read More »
On the same month as the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a Florida law came into effect that shields businesses from liability in ADA lawsuits. Section 553.5141, Florida Statutes, permits certification of a public accommodation as compliant with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act if an expert designs a… Read More »
By: Lorinda Gonzalez …it’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime! – Kenny Chesney The temperature is rising and soon everyone will hit the beach. Summers in Florida are epic, and people travel from all over the world to feel the warm sun on their face. As… Read More »
By: Lesly Lopez Public benefit programs for people with disabilities, especially Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are not aimed at increasing assets and independence for people with disabilities as a result individuals with disabilities often have very limited income and few, if any, assets. The intent of asset building initiatives is that as individuals develop… Read More »
Don’t let a hurricane catch you off guard, prepare in advance by registering for the Emergency & Evacuation Assistance Program (EEAP). Intended for residents that may need specialized transportation assistance or whose medical needs prevent them from evacuating themselves, the program is designed to provide evacuation support to those who live in their own… Read More »
By: Justine Chichester I read this quote the other day and it really resonated with me. “Stop hating yourself for everything you aren’t. Start loving yourself for everything that you are.” I’ve been making some progress in my physical therapy lately. I started walking a little outside in front of my house. Using my… Read More »
Arnaldo Rios-Soto is the 27 year old Autistic Man who was involved in the North Miami shooting on July 18, 2016. Arnaldo was sitting in the middle of the street by his group home with his favorite toy truck, rocking back and forth. His hand movements and rocking behavior was self- soothing behavior that… Read More »
A law with teeth is more powerful than a pair of dentures. – On July 18, 2016, Mr. McDowell filed a complaint against Affordable Dentures for disability discrimination in violation of the Housing and the Places of Public Accommodation Ordinance. The County did a full investigation and made a finding that Mr. McDowell was the subject of discrimination on March 7, 2017, and with the facilitation of the Palm Beach Office of Equal Opportunity, entered into a Conciliation agreement
By: Matthew Dietz I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug. Modern Hippocratic Oath You can’t always get what you want You can’t always get what you want You can’t always get what you… Read More »