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DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture Week Eight Notes

by: Katie

DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture Week Eight Notes DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture

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These notes cover the eighth week of classes.
Disability Rights And Culture
Aly Patsavas
Class Notes
DHD, Disability, Right, Culture
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Katie on Monday March 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture at University of Illinois at Chicago taught by Aly Patsavas in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 23 views. For similar materials see Disability Rights And Culture in Culture at University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Date Created: 03/07/16
Passing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act Beginnings of Section 504 President Nixon vetoed earlier versions of what became the Rehabilitation Act twice. The Rehabilitation Act was finally passed in 1973. Nixon ensured that no funding was appropriated to support the provisions in the legislation. o This made it impossible to enforce. Lack of Regulation By April of 1977 – two presidents later – the government still had not released regulations for the Rehab Act. Officials in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) had drafted a set of regulations in 1975 and 1976. A lawsuit demanding the release of the regulations as well as meetings between representatives of disability community and HEW officials did not facilitate the release of these regulations. The Consequences of No Regulations Corbett O’Toole (2015): “In 1973, one sentence was added to a rehabilitation bill, in Section 504. That one sentence gave disabled people in the United States their first civil rights law, but the law could not be enforced until the federal government wrote down what that one sentence did and did not cover” (p. 54). Coalition Building Members of the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities (ACCD) worked with other organizations such as The Disability Rights Center, The American Council of the Blind, and the Children’s Defense Fund. These organizations along with disabled people from around the country decided to turn to protests. Build Up to Protests Frank Bowe (the president of ACCD and author of many books about disability and inclusion) donated book royalties to help finance the protest. After three years of lobbying, letter writing, and employing non-contentious political activism, disability activists sent a letter to President Jimmy Carter and Secretary of HEW Joseph Califano demanding that the regulations be signed. Protests Begin Indicated that if the regulations were not signed by April 4 , the disability community would begin protests. The protests began on April 5, 1977 which lead to the sit-ins around the country. Protests Protests were held in all ten of the HEW Offices. Approximately 150 protestors occupied the HEW building in San Francisco, California. (O’Toole, 2015). About half of the protestors (60 people) did not leave for 28 days (O’Toole, 2015). Local Safeway donated food, which was cooked and delivered by Black Panthers. Local Health Department donated mattresses. The Power of the 504 In Class Viewing The Power of the 504 The Black Power of the 504 In Lomax’s Matrix: Disability, Solidarity, and the Black Power of 504, Schweik (2011) revises the title of this video to “The Black Power of 504” in order to: o Call attention to the “whitewashing” of 504 activism. o Suggest that in unrecognized ways, “the power of 504” was enacted as and through a very particular 1970s locus of Black power. Bradley Lomax (Disabled Black Panther): Revolutionary Black Nationalism and Disability Power intersected. Placing a disabled Black Panther and a Black Panther caregiver at the center of both Panther and American disability history. What values of disability culture were present in the 504 sit-in? Disabled Voices and Experiences Valued Communal and collective decision-making process. “Every single person believed that their voice would be heard and their opinion attended to, even if it went against the trend of the discussion.” (O’Toole, 2015, p. 57). Care and Interdependence “The very nature of the sit-in meant that we were completely interdependent. Whenever something was needed, whoever was nearest pitched in to help. That meant that everybody was a giver and receiver of help” (O’Toole, 2015, p. 61). Relationships between disabled and non-disabled people (family members, sign language interpreters, personal care attendants, allies). Disability as Unique Source of Knowledge/Experiences Communication Example: Using ASL to communicate with interpreters who were outside with access to a microphone. Relying on knowledge and expertise of disabled people. “We succeeded because we did not do it the nondisabled way. Our success came directly from the skills we’d learned in order to survive as disabled people” (O’Toole, 2015, p. 67). Respect for History of Marginalization “A friend once asked me why our protest succeeded…for me, it was because we brought the best of ourselves: our power, our humor, our trust in each other as disabled people. All those years of bonding in special education classrooms, at disabled kids’ summer campus, in the medical clinics, it came to fruition at the 504 sit-in” (O’Toole, 2015, p. 67). Understanding The Rehabilitation Act Rehabilitation Act Section 501 o Requires the federal government to practice affirmative action to hire and to promote workers with disabilities. Section 503 o Requires affirmative action and prohibits employment discrimination by Federal government contractors and subcontracts with contracts of more than $10,000. Rehabilitation Act Section 508 o Establishes requirements for electronic and information technology developed, maintained, procured, or used by the federal government. o Requires that Federal electronic and information technology be accessible to people with disabilities, including employees and members of the public. Rehabilitation Act Section 504 o “No qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that either receives Federal financial assistance or is conducted by an Executive Agency or the United States Postal Service.” Regulations o Each Federal agency has its own set of Section 504 regulations that apply to its own programs. o Agencies that provide Federal Financial assistance also have section 504 regulations covering entities that receive Federal Aid. Regulations o Common Requirements/Regulations: § Reasonable Accommodations, program accessibility, effective communications, accessible new construction and alterations. § Each agency responsible for enforcing its own regulation. § Individuals can bring lawsuits for violation of these regulations. Highlights/Review Rehabilitation Act was passed in 1973 o No regulations and no funding. Regulations written in 1975 and 1976. Protests in 1977 to demand the signing of the regulations. Why were these regulations so important? What did Section 504 change? Concrete Changes to Everyday Life Corbette O’Toole: Disabled People’s First Civil Rights Law Symbolic recognition that rights were protected. If PWD were discriminated against because of their disabilities, they had legal recourse. PWD could access federal buildings – the post office, the courthouse, etc. Concrete Changes to Everyday Life Broadened the rights of students with disabilities to education and gave them access to after- school programs and extra-curricular activities. Gave PWD the right to reasonable accommodations. o Provided the framework to demand rights to accommodations such as sign language interpretations, Braille, computer software, accessible desks, etc. Community, Culture and 504 Why Did the Sit In Persist in San Francisco? They weren’t kicked out (enough people (HEW officials, police, etc) supported it) Support from other groups like the Black Panthers and donations from Safeway and the Health Department Media Coverage – administration did not want bad press removing them from building Culture of protest and activism in San Francisco Persistence of the protestors Good leadership Protestors were united Califano’s refusal to sign played a part Sheer numbers of the protestors Protest was peaceful Strong belief in the importance of the protest and the signing of the regulations Urgency of the change needed Community Many of those who participated in the 504 Sit In speak about the complicated feeling of joy and sadness when the Sit – In ended. Joy, Excitement, Pride that they persisted through the signing Sadness that the experience itself was over 28 Days People with disabilities living in what was essentially one floor of an office building No showers Few bathrooms People with support needs in spaces that are not their homes Numbers or Community or Both? Many people argued that it was the number of protestors in San Francisco that allowed their sit-in to persist. What, exactly, is it about the number of people that sustains a movement like the sit in? Occupying Public Space Section 504 was, in many ways, about disabled people’s access to public spaces Mandated all federally funding buildings and programs be made available to disabled people Federally-funded means funded through public funds Disabled people occupying public building not insignificant Private Subjects in Public Spaces Disabled People historically relegated to – thought to belong to – private spaces inside homes, away in institutions, prisons, hospitals all these places share the distinct feature that they are NOT PUBLIC spaces think back to the explicit banning of disabled people in public with the Ugly Laws Private Subjects/Public Spaces To have these people claim public space is a really radical act of self-claiming Using public spaces to perform private acts of care – whether washing hair in the sinks or changing catheters in the Regional Director of HEW’s office Re-claiming of public as a space that disabled people belong Group Discussion Questions Section 504 and the Sit-Ins provide us with an example of the relationship between rights, culture, and community So what have we learned? How might we characterize this relationship? Community Work We tend to remember individual policy makers, movement leaders, or even individual moments in the history of a civil rights fight. The victory of 504 was achieved because of all the work of all the hundreds of thousands of people that were involved in the advocacy and policy writing process Why is this community and group effort important to remember? Tendency to Individualize We have a tendency to individualize history and even social movements We remember Judy Heumann as the voice and leader of the 504 Sit-In, but she could not have been in front of the camera without the 60 plus people in the building. Those people could not have been in the building without the coalitional work of the Black Panthers and the food and supplies donated Individual/Overcoming Narratives The tendency to individualize successes misses the importance of community Also cannot be separated from the tendency to see disability as an individual problem that individual people overcome. By remembering the community and coalitions that made such actions possible, we are actually resisting this narrative and this tendency. Richard Scotch tell us: “Many organizations representing disabled people received a major portion of their operating expenses from various wings of HEW in the form of training grants, technical assistance contracts and funds for demonstration projects” (86). “Government officials became private consultants to advocacy groups while advocates joined staff or HEW agencies” (86). Government vs Advocates Scotch’s article reminds us that the story of the relationship between disabled people and government agencies far more complicated Government funding made possible (and to a lesser degree still does) disabled people’s organizations Key people working in Congress and the HEW offices, some of whom were disabled, were instrumental in drafting the regulations Bad vs Good Easy to romanticize the history of activism (as bad government vs good activists or vice versa). Job as students and scholars: To think beyond good/bad to ask: how and why does conflicts between groups happen How and why did the regulations take so long to be written and signed? How and why did disabled people feel the most effective strategy was direct action? Charity Model and the Regulations Mathews concerns over the inclusion of addiction as a disability covered by Section 504 “He certainly had a more-or-less charity mentality toward disabled people, not in the malevolent sense but in a paternalistic sense. He really just didn’t get the idea that these were rights and that you weren’t really talking about nice things to do for Easter Seals children. Then when we got to alcoholics and drug addicts, he really flipped out. These were obviously derelicts, and they were so far from Easter Seals children, things had truly run amok” (88). Deserving vs Undeserving The charity model allows for separation between those deserving of (rights, support, etc) and those undeserving This separation built on a power dynamic where Mathews (or anyone employing a charity model) exercises power by deciding who is worthy or deserving Rights, in theory, not something someone can decide to grant or not Charity leads to protectionism Dr. Andrew Adams, commissioner of rehabilitation services writes, “Because of the tone, the very broad scope and reach of the draft regulations, it is our view that without addition of some time- phased and comparable provisions for implementation (allowing more time for compliance), there might well be a backlash reaction against the population the law aims to benefit…” (89). Bad Subjects The activists who occupied the Federal building were, in effect, breaking the law Engaged in Direct Action: which is a strategy that uses action in the sense of protests, demonstrations, occupations, and other embodied action (versus negotiation, letter writing, petition signing, lobbying etc). 60’s and 70’s moment in US history with active protest culture Contemporary movements borrow from this history but adapt it to contemporary contexts 504 and Direct Action Charity Mentality, among other things, delayed the writing of the 504 regulations Direct Action protests by disabled people explicitly reject and upend the charity model approach to disability With all we talked about: what would you say if someone asked you why the Story of Section 504 is significant?


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