Disability World
A bimonthly web-zine of international disability news and views, Issue no. 7 March-April 2001


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"Quotes of the Day" (from Inclusion Daily Express)

Abuse/Crimes:

"I think on this particular night, that you probably burned him."
--Comment from Judge Thomas V. Warren to Ardie Leo Briggs III, after finding him not guilty of abuse because prosecutors failed to prove he burned an Southside Virginia Training Center resident with a clothes iron (Nov. 1)

"This settlement should serve as a strong warning to caregivers across the state that you will pay the price for neglecting those in your care."
--Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, in a press release announcing a death of one of its residents (Nov. 29)

"I don't believe this is good public policy to have the fox guarding the hen house."
--Texas state representative Garnet Coleman commenting on efforts by the state's Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation to cut down on the large amount of Medicaid money it loses because of poor inspections and rights violations at institutions -- by putting itself in charge of those inspections (Nov. 30)

"Unfortunately, the risk is there in all of these places. There was better cover-up in the institutions. I think that's still the case."
--University of Alberta professor Dick Sobsey, on the high rate of crime against people with developmental and other disabilities (Dec. 19)

"The things that go on out there, while they are not excusable, they are somewhat tolerable because of the alternative. What are you going to do with these people if you don't keep them there and hope that that facility is doing the best that it can?"
--Former Oklahoma Deputy Health Commissioner Brent VanMeter, responding in January after the body of Victoria Pepiakitah was discovered in her room at Choctaw Living Center -- six days after she had died (Dec. 20)

"Within the context of Canadian law there are statutes that exist and they very simply define genocide as promoting murder of members of an identifiable group. People with disabilities are members of an identifiable group."
--Bruce Uditsky, commenting on part of an Alberta museum program which includes convicted murderer Robert Latimer, who killed his daughter Tracy, among examples of mercy (Dec. 22)

"Anybody who questions the process is told to shut up. We're afraid if we push it, we'll get fired."
--An unnamed source at Sonoma Developmental Center, talking about how investigation of resident abuses and deaths is a low priority at the institution (Dec. 28)

Accessibility:

"If you don't vote, then you don't have the right to complain."
--Michigan resident Branden Bennett, 19, who has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair, and voted for the first time yesterday (Nov. 8)

"Regardless of who emerges victorious, the next President should focus on making elections far more accessible to the disabled community."
--BusinessWeek Columnist John M. Williams (Nov. 16)

"You shouldn't have to move a class. It should be accessible already."
--Rebecca Pascal, a Music Major at Northwestern University, talking about the campus accommodation policy regarding accessible classrooms (Nov. 9)

"If equal protection is a collective commitment and not just a courtroom catch-phrase, its first beneficiaries must be voters--such as minorities and those with disabilities--who have been systematically excluded from shaping the world in which they live."
--From an OP/ED in the Los Angeles Times (Dec. 26)

Advocacy/Rights:

"This is making a distinction between lives that merit living and those which don't... that's a slippery slope."
--Attorney Didier le Prado, defending a doctor in France who is being sued by a couple for not informing them that their son might be born with disabilities (Nov. 6)

"Any adult with a developmental disorder or any impairment has the rights of any other adult in the state of Michigan."
--Mark Cody, attorney with Michigan Protection and Advocacy, commenting on a woman with a developmental disability whose parents are suing for guardianship to keep her from getting married (Nov. 13)

"We're certainly very pleased that Johnny Paul Penry won't die tonight."
--Julia Tarver, one of several Texas attorneys who successfully appealed the U.S. Supreme Court to hold off last night's scheduled execution of the confessed murderer (Nov. 17)

"To be alive cannot be regarded as the result of a fault, whatever it is."
--Catherine Fabre, of the Federation of French Families, on a recent court decision allowing a family to sue doctors for damages because they had failed to determine that their son would have disabilities before he was born (Nov. 21)

"Now she will be treated the same as the rest of the family."
--Sunder Rajan as his daughter, Vijai, became the first immigrant with a disability under a new law to be granted U.S. citizenship without having to recite the oath of allegiance (Nov. 22)

"People with Down syndrome are not considered as valuable to society."
--Salon Magazine writer Jenna Glatzer, explaining why she believes people with Down syndrome are routinely excluded from donor lists for heart transplants (Dec. 11)

"Many people thought, like I did, that it was disgusting that somehow or another a profession could deem a person other than a human being."
--Former health minister Dennis Cocke commenting on British Columbia's Sexual Sterilization Act of 1933, which he helped strike down in the 1970's (Dec. 14)

"All human life has value; every human being should have meaningful options to make choices about issues that affect our lives."
--Part of a declaration adopted by representatives from 14 nations during last week's "Global Perspectives On Independent Living Summit" in Honolulu, Hawaii (Dec. 14)

"I just don't think it's right to make fun of people because they are different."
--Angela Robledo, 8, of Cooper City, Florida, who wrote an essay on the importance of respecting people with disabilities (Dec. 26)

Closing Institutions:

"They can't wait anymore."
--Columnist Terry Boisot, talking about a local commitment to move 125 institutionalized Californians back into their communities (Nov. 7)

"I'm glad that's gone and done with now."
--RoDonna Freeman, president of People First Minnesota, at a celebration marking the end of institutions for people with developmental disabilities in her state (Nov. 15)

"The transfer of those persons with an intellectual disability who are inappropriately placed in Our Lady's Hospital, Ennis, to appropriate community facilities will be completed."
--Mr. Ger Crowley, assistant chief executive of Ireland's Mid-Western Health Board, in announcing a five-year plan to close some of the nation's institutions (Nov. 13)

"If you've never had anything but vanilla ice cream, how do you know you might not like Rocky Road?"
--Gary Tonks of the Arc of Ohio, explaining how the state's CHOICES program gives people living in institutions a chance to see what living in the community might be like (Nov. 20)

"They thought it was going to be a great place--a real contribution to human happiness and fulfillment. And it all went bad so quickly."
--Artist Anna Shuleit, describing the original planners of Northampton State Hospital, an institution built in 1856 which is scheduled to be demolished soon (Nov. 21)

"The idea that everyone is unhappy is untrue. Studies show that people and families do better in community settings. They become happy and satisfied with services in the community."
--Mark J. Murphy, a lawyer with the Disabilities Law Project, responding to suggestions that former Western Center residents are doing poorly in Pennsylvania group homes (Dec. 15)

"It's wonderful."
--Sheila Doyle, whose foster son Alexander, 8, will be leaving an institution in Australia to live at home with her before Christmas (Dec. 22)

"How dare they?"
--Columnist Terry Boisot responding to those who want money to continue being spent on institutions in California (Dec. 27)

Community Living/Self-Determination:

"A deal is in place. There has been a handshake on it and now it's down to the lawyers."
--An official with Gov. Paul Cellucci's office talking about an agreement to release $85 million to end Massachusetts' waiting lists for community services (Nov. 2)

"And in our moment of time, we live here in San Francisco. A city where the people are too cool, too strange themselves to take much notice of Eddie's oddness."
--Maggie Holmes, commenting on how her son, who has autism, fits into his community (Nov. 8)

"In Vietnam, people with disabilities look to the non-disabled to do things for them. Here, people with disabilities do things on their own."
--Dr. Nguyen Viet Nhan, member of a delegation from Vietnam visiting cities in Oregon to see how people with disabilities are living in their communities (Nov. 16)

"We are appalled by the decision of the mayor and the village board to reject this plan, which would have provided a safe and quiet home in a residential community for six women with disabilities."
--Excerpt from the editorial in today's Daily Southtown criticizing officials who blocked the women from moving into a Chicago suburb (Nov. 22)

"We're tightwads."
--Brian Lahren, former director of Nevada's mental health division, on the fact that the state has one of poorest records for community inclusion (Nov. 27)

"We're together, and we're independent."
--Dianna Lipps, in the home she and her husband Brendan moved into 18 months ago (Nov. 28)

"I know firsthand how self-determination has allowed me to plan, select, determine and have a voice in my life."
--Ann Thomas, first vice president of People First of Ohio, who helped coordinate last week's Midwest Regional Conference on Self-Determination (Dec. 13)

"It's definitely good news. Actually, it's great news."
--Rich Copp, spokesperson for Massachusetts Health and Human Services, on an agreement to quadruple spending in order to reduce lists for people waiting for community services (Dec. 20)

"We don't want Rudin to miss out."
--Evelyn Powers, who filed a class-action suit against the Commonwealth of Virginia because her son has been on a waiting list for community services for five years (Dec. 21)

"My big picture is I don't care about the system. I want out of here."
--Thomas Bayon, 44, who has been stuck in a New York hospital since April because of bureaucratic 'red tape' (Dec. 28)

Education:

"You shouldn't have to move a class. It should be accessible already."
--Rebecca Pascal, a Music Major at Northwestern University, talking about the campus accommodation policy regarding accessible classrooms (Nov. 9)

"If you think of it first as a location, then you're missing the point."
--Doug Cheney, assistant professor at the University of Washington's special education department, on the federal requirement that educational services be provided in the least restrictive environment (Dec. 15)

"It gives me goose bumps. I'm so pleased to see my daughter making friends."
--Vickee Edwards, on her 5-year-old daughter Jocelynn who has Rett syndrome and has befriended several other kindergarteners (Nov. 28)

"Now they have protection under the law. They can't be excluded."
--Indiana special education teacher Tom Wiggers, talking about how the lives of children with disabilities have been impacted by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this week (Nov. 30)

"The decision means Benjamin will finally be provided the education he's had a right to all along."
--Julie Carter, attorney representing the family of Benjamin Sutton, who sued an Indiana school district so the boy, who has Down syndrome, could stay in his first grade classroom (Dec. 11)

"I learned a lot being around Josh."
--Jaime Dreewes, about spending time with a boy who has disabilities as part of a required course for Whitworth College students who want to be general education teachers (Dec. 12)

"I'm a maker of the future!"
--Lauren Roberts, 14, responding to the motto from a school that excluded her because of her disability. The motto read: "Makers of the past. Makers of the present. Makers of the future." (Dec. 13)

"I think it's sad, because how am I supposed to get down if there's a fire?"
--Jameika Andrews, 14, talking about a recent fire drill in her Washington, DC school, during which she and her wheelchair got stuck in an elevator (Dec. 18)

"I am an independent person."
--Anthony Crudale, 23, who has autism, after graduating from UNLV this past Sunday with a bachelor of arts degree (Dec. 21)

Employment:

"Hopefully they will be more willing to accept that these members of the community do in fact have ability across all areas of life and will be prepared to offer jobs according to their skill levels."
--Australia Paralympian Gold Medallist Priya Cooper, talking about her hope that the recent event will encourage employers to hire people with disabilities (Nov. 1)

"If the door doesn't appear to be open, then people aren't even going to apply."
--Joan Willshire, chair of the Minnesota State Council on Disabilities, on the state's decision to reduce its goal of hiring people with disabilities for state jobs (Nov. 6)

"The disabled have been shifted to the bottom of the pile."
--Nancy Mashberg of the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, talking about how the emphasis on getting welfare recipients to work has impacted employment services for people with disabilities (Nov. 7)

"People don't think you can do a job in information technology, and it can be done with very minor modifications."
--Danny Ayers, 25, who recommends people with disabilities look toward training in the world of high-tech (Nov. 9)

"I love it. . . It's my favorite job."
--Julie Lyle, who works in the kitchen at Ohio State University Medical Center (Nov. 29)

"He had a real unique interest in helping people, based on being disabled himself."
--A lawyer representing State of Washington DVR counselor Gary Haworth, who has cerebral palsy and is being charged with conspiring with an employment services agency to commit fraud (Dec. 18)

"I like this job. It feels good."
--Karen Osterbrink, who has been working for a Wisconsin catering company for the last five years (Dec. 27)

Families:

"I get to be Ben's dad."
--Ben's dad (Nov. 14)

"It's a fantastic outcome."
--Ian Rouget, about the rescue of his 13-year-old son, Glen, who has autism and was missing in an Australian national park for two days (Nov. 17)

"And in our moment of time, we live here in San Francisco. A city where the people are too cool, too strange themselves to take much notice of Eddie's oddness."

--Maggie Holmes, commenting on how her son, who has autism, fits into his community (Nov. 8)

"Now she will be treated the same as the rest of the family."
--Sunder Rajan as his daughter, Vijai, became the first immigrant to be granted U.S. citizenship without having to recite the oath of allegiance (Nov. 22)

"It gives me goose bumps. I'm so pleased to see my daughter making friends."
--Vickee Edwards, on her 5-year-old daughter Jocelynn who has Rett syndrome and has befriended several other kindergarteners (Nov. 28)

"One life is not interchangeable with another."
--Terry Boisot, responding to advice many parents have been given by doctors upon learning that their unborn or newborn child may have a disability (Dec. 12)

Recreation/Participation:

"I definitely don't consider myself a disabled artist. I'm just an artist, and a good one at that."
--Bill "CrutchMaster" Shannon, a Pittsburgh artist and sculptor who combines crutches and a skateboard into a dance act (Dec. 19)

"Hopefully they will be more willing to accept that these members of the community do in fact have ability across all areas of life and will be prepared to offer jobs according to their skill levels."
--Australia Paralympian Gold Medallist Priya Cooper, talking about her hope that the recent event will encourage employers to hire people with disabilities (Nov. 1)

"They've welcomed, embraced and accepted her. A lot of special needs children don't have the opportunity to be with regular kids."
--Meryl Sherris, whose daughter has autism and participated in a Miami dance workshop designed to bring children with and without disabilities together through dance (Nov. 2)

"We have always been supportive of athletes with disabilities and continue to be."
--Allan Steinfeld, president of the New York Road Runners Club (NYRRC), organizers of the New York City Marathon (Nov. 3)

"They treated us like children."
--Wheelchair marathoner Boris Esterkis about how NYRRC organizers dealt with wheelchair athletes until they were sued for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act last year (Nov. 3)

Technology:

"People don't think you can do a job in information technology, and it can be done with very minor modifications."
--Danny Ayers, 25, who recommends people with disabilities look toward training in the world of high-tech (Nov. 9)

"We're partners."
--Karyn Clewell talking about her service dog, a collie named "Girl" (Nov. 27)

Miscellaneous:

"A notable subcategory of coverage focuses on the disabled as a "rich new market" . . . a characterization the 34 percent of disabled people living on less than $15,000 a year would no doubt be surprised to hear."
--Media critic Janine Jackson, commenting that mainstream media coverage on disability issues often misses the mark (Nov. 15)

"What is the matter with people?"
--Colorado nursing home ombudsman Virginia Fraser, commenting on a company's plan to give the director of its bankrupt nursing home chain -- a chain with a dismal record of resident abuse and neglect -- a $56 million severance package (Nov. 20)


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