Disability Rights and Advocacy

Disability Voting Rights Week! 

Disability Voting Rights Week, September 11-15, is a national nonpartisan initiative to build the power and presence of the disability vote. There are an estimated 38 million Americans with disabilities who are eligible to vote. Despite the size and power of our voting bloc, people with disabilities voted at a lower rate nationally than non-disabled voters in the ... Read more

Justice Department Secures Agreement to Provide Community-Based Services to Children with Disabilities in Rhode Island

The DOJ settlement agreement with the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services will pay $75,000 in damages and resolve alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The parents of a child with autism filed a complaint with the Justice Department, alleging that Rhode Island failed to provide their minor ... Read more

Hannah Orban — Equalizing Opportunities

“I’m committed to policy-making that improves the lives of people with disabilities,” says Hannah Orban, an advocate, public policy specialist, and Fulbright scholar from Sydney, Australia. “We have to redouble our efforts to dismantle disabling attitudes. People with disabilities have been fighting tooth and nail for far too long.” For Hannah, these issues are ... Read more

Dr. Liberman and Psychosocial Rehabilitation

When most people think of treatment for individuals with severe mental illnesses such as recurrent depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, they imagine physician visits, medications or perhaps some sessions with a counselor. Rarely do they think of drama programs, community college classes or role-play groups for making friends and dating. Yet, there is increasing ... Read more

Dr. Robert P. Liberman on Electroconvulsive Therapy

Robert P. Liberman, M.D. is one of the fathers of the rehabilitation movement in psychiatry. For the past 25 years he has directed the UCLA Center for Research on Treatment and Rehabilitation of Psychosis, where he studies skills training and other treatments for individuals with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia. Diagnosed with bipolar II ... Read more

Robbie Watene — Coffee and the Seeds for Disability Integration from New Zealand to Mexico, and Beyond

Robbie Francis Watene, can be thought of as a seed planter. From planting ideas about human rights in her research at the Donald Beasley Institute, to planting coffee in the hills of Mexico. She has grown an international inclusive supply chain through her formation of The Lucy Foundation (named after her prosthetic ‘Lucy Leg’). ... Read more

A Better Future — Web Accessibility Guidelines from the Dept of Justice

Finally. The guidance reviews the department’s ongoing work to advance website accessibility for people with disabilities through statements of interest and enforcement matters. For example, the department recently entered into numerous settlements with businesses — including Hy-Vee, Inc., The Kroger Co., Meijer, Inc., and Rite Aid Corporation to ensure that websites for scheduling vaccine ... Read more

Cortney Radocaj — Intersectionality, Publishing and Diverse Literature

 “As a member and advocate of both the queer and neurodiverse communities,” writes Cortney Radocaj, a literary agent with the Belcastro Agency, “I adore seeing works that celebrate and normalize these experiences, especially in YA” (young adult) literature. When we reached out to her, Radocaj shares the complexities of living with multiple invisible disabilities, ... Read more

Tony Coelho’s Letter to 20/20

July 31, 1996 Mr. Victor Neufeld Executive Producer 20/20 147 Columbus Avenue, Tenth Floor New York, New York 10023 Dear Mr. Neufeld: John Stossel’s recent 20/20 effort, “Getting in on the Act” was one of the most biased stories I have seen since the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed six years ago. After ... Read more

DIAL – Covid-19 Center Supporting People with Disabilities

For many people, the pandemic seems over. They have been vaccinated and are going back to their regular lives. For people with disabilities, on the other hand, not much has changed. Especially those who belong to the “vulnerable population,” those at high risk of developing severe symptoms if infected with the virus, are facing ... Read more

Still Swinging — An Inside Look at Adaptive Golf

Circa 2011 Not everyone plays golf quite the same way. Tiger Woods swings a club differently than Jack Nicklaus, and Jack Nicklaus’s game is nothing like Arnold Palmer’s. Golfers with disabilities add their own twist to the sport: They use adaptive equipment that allows them to participate on the same courses, while following the ... Read more

Katie Porter — Congresswoman Making a Difference

U.S Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45) of Orange County, CA grew up in Iowa watching Sen. Tom Harkin and learning about the ADA. Rep. Porter sees the rights of people with disabilities that have yet to be fully realized. Serving her second term in the House, Rep. Porter is known for whipping out her dry ... Read more

Alan Toy as President Roosevelt in NBC’s Annie Live!

Alan Toy, an actor on stage and screen and a Leader in the Disability Community, was chosen to play the role of the iconic commander in chief President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in NBC’s holiday spectacular “Annie Live!”  As one of the most beloved and biggest musicals in Broadway history and the winner of seven ... Read more

CVS Health Agrees with Disability Advocates and Stops Supreme Court Case

The supreme court case CVS v. Doe came to an end when CVS Health sat down with the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the National Council on Independent Living and decided to work together to seek ... Read more

The Deadliest Disease in America

“Nobody wanted to talk about what racism looks like in healthcare,” said Crystal R. Emery, filmmaker, author, activist, and public speaker, speaking of her challenges in making her latest documentary. In “The Deadliest Disease in America,” Emery traces the history of racism in American healthcare and unveils the continuing disparities in the quality of ... Read more

Our First Interview with Christopher Reeve

We, at ABILITY, were delighted by the invitation to interview Christopher Reeve. We were anxious to know about his personal progress. He has been consulting with physicians worldwide, and we knew of his full agenda working on behalf of cures for diseases of the central nervous system—a great many speaking engagements, television appearances and ... Read more

Jeff Moyer produced the song “The ADA Anthem”

Jeff Moyer’s life, (71), has been shaped by progressive blindness, kidney donation, and his late, younger brother Mark’s severe cognitive disability. Mark suffered the cruelty of neighborhood children, and 33 years in barbaric institutions and aggregate living situations. Jeff established a supported living home for Mark where he lived peacefully until his death in ... Read more

Judy Heumann

Judith Heumann has devoted her life to fighting for the rights of people with disabilities, herself included. She’s not only been at the forefront of great strides in the disability rights movement, she’s led the charge. Born in Brooklyn in 1947, she was paralyzed after contracting polio as a toddler. Denied the right to ... Read more

Justin Dart Remembered — Humanitarian, Leader and Friend

Editor’s note: In recognition of a great humanitarian, leader and friend, we present “The Resurrection of Justin Dart Jr. : A Quest for Truth and Love,” which was written by Mari Carlin Dart and originally appeared in the Diahann Carroll issue of ABILITY Magazine. Also included are additional comments from Dr. Fred Fay and ... Read more

Pulling Back the Curtain with Judy Heumann

When I was five years old, I was deemed a fire hazard. Like millions of American children that year, I was entering kindergarten. It was 1952 in Brooklyn, NY and my mother was taking me to my neighborhood school to make sure everything would go smoothly on the big first day. It didn’t. The ... Read more