Archived Hot Topics and News
March 2010 Update from Chester Finn, President of SABE
So much is happening it is important to keep up with stuff. You can’t do stuff like we did before. I just came back from Washington DC. I was a speaker on a panel at the annual meeting for the executive directors of state Protection and Advocacy organizations. The P and A’s are going to take on getting rid of the federal rule that says you can pay people with disabilities subminimum wage. The rule is called 14C and it says sheltered workshops do not have to pay us minimum wage.
Here are quick updates that I want you to be aware of:
- Get involved in the End the r Word campaigns in your states.
- Pay attention to the whole question of restraints. Even though some say it is about kids with disabilities in school, it also affects adults in institutions.
- Employment issues are big. Right now we have new partners, the Protection and Advocacy groups, in challenging the 14c subminimum wage. They made this law back in the 30’s. The law says they allow companies to pay as little as one cent a day. It has not been updated. This rule and law makes it legal for people with disabilities to get less than minimum wage.
They don’t even turn it into real type of training. They keep people in sheltered workshops, even the strong workers, so they can do their contracts. They don’t let you leave.
Look all the people who have had opportunities. What would have happened if they didn’t take a chance?
I want people to really talk to each other about earning minimum wage like everyone else. If you want the independence of having employment, talk to your friends about it.
There are still some people saying we need to keep sheltered workshops open because they say we need to socialize. When you have money in your pocket from working a real job you can see your friends when you want to. You have more freedom to socialize when you work.
I am attaching a copy of the new statement SABE put out about employment. It is important to make the points we are talking about. We have to get behind the statement. We need to take a stance to get employment for people no matter what supports you need.
When it comes to knowing what supports are needed, we need to take the lead on supported employment. This is important because people were not asking these questions before. We want everyone included on the conversation.
I was asked to speak to the CEO’s of the P and A’s because SABE’s statement was out there. Now we need to continue to get that message out there. Like I said the P and A’s called and they want us to partner with them on closing sheltered workshops. They are standing by us on the workshop issues.
The Congress and President are looking at the Federal government having a big initiative to hire people with disabilities. They are working on ending discrimination toward people with disabilities. They are serious about these employment initiatives. Different states have federal offices so it will trickle down.
February 3rd, 2010: Julie Petty Meets with White House on "R" Word.
Joint Statement of Disability Leaders:
We came here today to meet with Rahm Emanuel and share with him our view on the importance and impact of language. We wanted to invite Mr. Emanuel and all of America to understand the collective efforts of our community to remove the words “retard” and “retarded” from everyday speech.
The R-word is polluting our language. Every day our community hears this word – in schools and workplaces, in print and in movies, on radio and television. And every day they suffer its dehumanizing effects – mockery, stigma, ridicule. This is a word that is incredibly damaging – not only to the seven million people with intellectual disabilities in the United States, but also their friends, family and to all of us.
We are thankful to Mr. Emanuel for meeting with us today and hearing our concerns. He sincerely apologized for his mistake and the pain it caused in our community.
We are happy that he will join more than 54,000 people who have pledged to end the use of the R-word at www.r-word.org, and that he committed that the administration would continue to look for ways to partner with us, including examining pending legislation in Congress to remove the R word from federal law.
Our community has earned the right to be respected instead of ridiculed. We have suffered injustice for generations and we are demanding that it end.
This is another small step on the road to a country that accepts the gifts of all.
Statement given jointly by:
Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO, Special Olympics
Andrew Imparato, President & CEO, American Association of People with Disabilities
Peter V. Berns, CEO, The Arc
Hannah Jacobs, parent and R-word advocate
Julie Petty, self-advocate and former SABE president
Ricardo Thornton, self-advocate and Special Olympics athlete