Announcement

Hey Fox News: #TalkPoverty in the First Republican Debate

Editor’s Note: This piece kicks off a campaign at TalkPoverty.org where advocates and people struggling to make ends meet will ask 2016 presidential candidates about how they would significantly reduce poverty and inequality in this country. This campaign builds upon The Nation’s #TalkPoverty campaign, which sought to achieve a substantive conversation about poverty in the 2012 elections. We encourage you to ask questions of the candidates and join the conversation using #talkpoverty and #familiesvote.

Millions of American families are working multiple jobs to make ends meet but are still living paycheck to paycheck.

Millions more who are undocumented can’t plan for their futures because they fear la migra (the immigration police) will haul them and their loved ones away at any time.

And still others, who have served often excessive sentences for past transgressions struggle to find work when they are released from prison.

In total, about 106 million people live on the brink, fighting to overcome the barriers to success that keep them living in marginalized communities or in such chaos that financial stability is out of reach.

Yet what are the chances that their struggles will be addressed in any meaningful way during the first Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News on Thursday?

What are the chances the Fox News moderators will ask candidates about their agenda to address the needs of neighborhoods facing high unemployment and low wages?

What is the likelihood that the candidates will be asked to outline plans to improve the lives of the working families who live in forgotten communities where there is little investment in infrastructure and jobs?

If the most recent presidential elections are any indication, the chances that these issues will be raised are slim to none. While there was plenty of rhetoric about the dwindling middle class, the last presidential election was noticeably devoid of any references to Americans living in poverty. In fact, The Nation reported that from 2008 to 2012, at least five consecutive presidential or vice presidential debates went without a single question about poverty.

While there was plenty of rhetoric about the dwindling middle class, the last election was devoid of any references to Americans living in poverty.

This first debate of the 2016 election is an opportunity for the leading Republican candidates to go on the record about the issues that matter most to working families.

So in an effort to help the candidates and the Fox team find their way, here’s a roadmap. We asked four Americans struggling to make ends meet about what they want to hear on Thursday:

Rachael Collyer, 22, Cleveland Heights, Ohio:

Rachael graduated from The Ohio State University with a major in Spanish and English. She works as a bartender with a fluctuating income that on a good day nets up to $14 an hour and on soft days earns her the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

She also has almost $26,000 in student loan debt.

Rachael can’t afford her own apartment, so after she graduated, she moved back home with her parents in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She’s a volunteer organizer now for the Ohio Student Association because mounting debt is holding too many students and their families back. The state has decreased its college grants to students, she says, even though more than half of all jobs in Ohio will require a college education by 2020. It is no wonder then that about 68% of Ohio’s college graduates have an average of $29,000 in debt.

“We are like frogs in boiling water,” she says. “College debt has been going up and going up and suddenly we’ve reached this point where we yell, ‘How did this happen?’ “

Rachael wants the Fox News moderators to ask the candidates: Given the cost of attending college, most students work while they are in school. And, in Ohio, if a student works 40 hours a week at a minimum wage job, they won’t earn enough to cover the average cost of attending Ohio State. How do you propose addressing the wage needs of recent college graduates and current students so that paying for their college education is not a barrier to success?

 

Duane Edwards, 34, Fredericksburg, VA:

Duane’s life changed drastically when he was 14 years old. His father, an Army veteran, was killed in a car crash, leaving behind a wife and three children. At that moment, Duane told himself he had to find a way to earn money so he wouldn’t be a burden on his mother. So he secretly began selling marijuana.

He was eventually caught on a drug charge and sentenced to community-based probation. His mother tried hard to keep him straight, but she had to work to maintain the family and he took advantage of her absence. He says there were few mentors or teachers who looked at him and saw any potential. Without a job and no prospects, Duane eventually landed in prison and served a three-year sentence.

“Being incarcerated made me grow up,” he says. While behind bars, he earned an associate’s degree in childhood education, and he tutored other inmates who were trying to get their GEDs. He wanted to make good on his life when he got out.

So when he was released in December 2006, he had high hopes that he would turn around the troubled life he once lived. But it was dependent on him finding work. In the first six months alone, he applied to more than 40 jobs. None would hire him because of his record. Since he’s been out, Duane has applied to more than 120 jobs and has received call backs for just 15 of them, with most offering low-wage work washing or loading trucks.

Today, the married father of two girls, who are three and four years old, has a bachelor’s degree in theology and is a pastor at a local church. It’s taken him almost nine years since he got out, but he finally has a full-time job driving a truck, making $14.50 an hour. He says he’s grateful for the job, but says it’s still hard to make ends meet.

“I would like an opportunity at a good job so I can take care of my family,” he says.

He wants to ask the candidates: Given that the school to prison pipeline starts early, particularly for young black men, and there is a decided lack of opportunity for young African Americans, what is your plan to invest in schools in marginalized communities made up primarily of people of color so that the outcomes of the students in those schools are the same as in wealthier, predominantly white neighborhoods?

Patrice Mack, 45, Euclid, Ohio:

Patrice is the single mother of a 24-year-old daughter and three boys, a 14-year-old and 11-year-old twins. She owns her own home and has a college degree in business administration. Earlier this year, she left a job that paid her so little that her sons were eligible for government health insurance because she couldn’t afford the company’s insurance.

“You can have a degree and still struggle to survive,” she says. “I’m a paycheck away from poverty.”

Patrice is tapping into her retirement savings in order to get by until she finds a job. She is looking for work, but opportunities for good jobs have dwindled. And due to unpredictable, constantly shifting schedules, and a lack of paid leave and paid sick days, many jobs make it impossible to balance work and caregiving responsibilities.

She wants to ask the candidates: The minimum wage is at a level where working families can’t survive unless they work multiple jobs. So how do you propose we do a better job of parenting our children and being there for them, while at the same time earning enough income to provide for our families? And how do you think employers can incorporate paid leave or paid sick days?

Astrid Silva, 27, Las Vegas, NV:

Astrid grew up most of her life under the tinsel and lights of Las Vegas. As a young person, she was a standout student and graduated at the top of her class in her magnet high school. She’s earned associate degrees in arts and political science and is working on a bachelor’s degree. Astrid could be a poster child for today’s diverse and civic-minded millennial generation.

She’s also an undocumented immigrant.

At the age of four, Astrid rode a tire raft with her mother and crossed the Rio Grande. She wore black patent leather shoes and the “biggest poofiest white dress with purple flowers and a purple sash.” Her mother had wanted her to look pretty when they met her father in the States.

“As a young person, you understand,” she says. “I understood there was something different about us.”

She says their status affected her family in big and small ways. Neither she nor her mother were able to drive because they couldn’t get driver’s licenses. They wouldn’t go to certain areas, or leave Nevada, because they were worried they would get picked up by immigration authorities. And unlike other people in their neighborhood, they couldn’t leave the country and visit Mexico. She remembers the pain and sadness that overwhelmed her family when her grandmother died in 2009. Her father couldn’t leave and see his mother one last time because they feared he wouldn’t be able to return.

Their biggest fear came true in 2011. Her father was arrested and given deportation orders. He’s since been granted a stay, which he has to apply for every year, and Astrid says she doesn’t know how long it will last.

Since then, she has become a vocal advocate for immigration reform. President Obama even mentioned her in a speech where he deplored our “broken” immigration system.

Thanks to an executive order signed by President Obama that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to remain in the country, Astrid has a stay until 2017.

But she says that too may end after Obama’s term ends.

“I’m trying to figure out how to keep my family together here,” she says. “This is not a political strategy. For us, it’s real.”

Her question for the candidates is: Given that there are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, what kind of concrete plan do you have for immigration reform? Not one that dismantles what the President has done or that focuses only on border security, but that offers real solutions for issues such as family reunification; the ban on re-entry to the U.S. by undocumented immigrants that spans three to ten years; or the rights of asylum for undocumented immigrants?

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Analysis

You Work Until You Die

As we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we have a lot to celebrate as a nation. We also still have a long way to go, as we see clearly when it comes to long-term services and supports. As a person with a disability, having a successful career as a health and disability policy analyst, I have benefited from its impact, but continue to see much left to be done.

Many of the long-term services and supports that many people with disabilities need in order to live and work—such as personal attendant care—are not covered under most health insurance plans, and are prohibitively expensive for all but the wealthiest among us. As a result, if, like me, you require long-term care due to disability, you likely have only one option for access to coverage: Medicaid. For many people with disabilities, access to long-term care through Medicaid comes from eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI also provides a limited cash stipend of up to $733 per month and beneficiaries must maintain assets below $2,000 in order to remain eligible.

The SSI program has powerful work incentives to enable beneficiaries to reach their potential in the workforce. For example, SSI removes one dollar in benefits for every two dollars earned, so that beneficiaries can gradually work their way off of cash benefits while maintaining access to the long-term services and supports that Medicaid provides.

Even if beneficiaries start earning enough to completely work their way off of cash benefits—which occurs when earnings exceed roughly $1,540 per month—they will continue to maintain their SSI and Medicaid eligibility under a special provision called “1619(b)” (as long as they continue to meet the program’s asset limits). Under this provision, beneficiaries can earn up to a certain threshold that varies by state, ranging from $27,244 per year in Alabama, to $65,144 per year in Connecticut. Additionally, SSI beneficiaries who have high medical costs can request a higher “individualized threshold.” While people do not receive a monthly cash benefit when they earn more than the SSI income limit, as long as they remain below their earnings threshold (and maintain assets below the limit) they continue to be a part of the SSI program and have access to Medicaid, including the long-term care many need in order to work. With the help of these work incentives and supports, more than 312,000 SSI beneficiaries were working as of the end of 2013.

Obstacles to Long-Term Employment

While the SSI program’s work incentives and supports are extremely helpful for workers with disabilities, beneficiaries with long-term employment can face a number of challenges. For example, the ridiculously low SSI asset test of $2,000—which has not budged in nearly three decades—is an ongoing struggle. The asset limit may not be a problem for some beneficiaries without work who are living on an SSI benefit of $733 per month. However, if you’re making $50,000 a year, the asset test means having to spend what you earn each and every month and never being able to save for the future. Some might say that workers with disabilities who can earn $50,000 shouldn’t remain eligible for SSI and Medicaid. However, if you have $60,000 worth of healthcare costs, you couldn’t survive—and couldn’t work—without access to the long-term care these vital programs provide.

Workers with disabilities whose earnings exceed their threshold limit face challenges as well. Take Jenny. At the age of 16, she suffered a spinal cord injury in a skiing accident that resulted in quadriplegia.  She went on to college and has worked as a teacher in California since graduating. Jenny is a shining example of a person who has been able to thrive under SSI’s system of work incentives. However, after many years as a teacher, Jenny’s annual salary increases pushed her above her individualized threshold, and she was recently informed that she is no longer eligible for SSI and the Medicaid that comes with it. Jenny thus faces a catch-22: California’s school system does not allow Jenny to reduce her hours unless she works a two-thirds time position, which wouldn’t give her enough income to continue to pay her monthly bills and survive. But she also doesn’t earn enough to pay for her long-term supports and services out of pocket if she loses her Medicaid coverage. Don’t we as a society want Jenny to thrive as a teacher educating our children and also be able to get the care she needs in order to work and live?

Medicaid Buy-In Programs

Medicaid Buy-In (MBI) programs were established to address this challenge. They enable workers with disabilities like Jenny to “buy into” Medicaid by paying a premium.

Nearly every state has established an MBI program, each with its own financial eligibility requirements. While these programs enable many workers with disabilities to climb the economic ladder without losing access to the long-term care they need, many have income limits that are too low to help workers like Jenny. For example, California’s MBI program has a net income cap of 250% of the federal poverty level—far below Jenny’s current income. Only 15 states have programs with higher income limits than California’s, including three that have no income cap at all.

In addition to raising the earnings cap on eligibility for long-term care through Medicaid, we also need to address the problem of portability. As states’ MBI eligibility criteria vary widely, eligibility for one state’s program doesn’t guarantee eligibility for another in the event of a move. What we really need is a national Medicaid buy-in program that allows workers with disabilities to continue to climb the economic ladder and seek job opportunities without fear that they will lose the long-term care they need in order to work.

This half-empty cup continues to impede progress toward the ADA’s vision of economic conclusion and participation in society.

Out of Options Post-Employment

Longer term, Jenny will face a challenge that many workers with disabilities confront when employment stops due to retirement or a medical setback. This is because the Medicaid work incentive policies that allow some of a worker’s income to be disregarded for Medicaid long-term care eligibility do not apply to “unearned income” such as SSI benefits, annuities, or short- or long-term disability payments. While policies vary across states, this can be devastating for people suddenly living on a fixed income, who then face requirements to “spend down” a significant portion of that income on medical costs in order to maintain their eligibility for long-term care, leaving them with insufficient income to live on.

This is the future that lies ahead for many successful workers with disabilities. The federal government spends billions of dollars to help persons with disabilities return to work—but this misguided policy effectively requires you to work until you die, or to live in abject poverty in order to maintain access to the long-term care you need in order to live. This half-empty cup continues to impede progress toward the ADA’s vision of economic conclusion and participation in society.

Long-term, we should work together to establish a social insurance program that ensures access to long-term care. In the meantime, Congress should enable MBI participants to retain their access to Medicaid long-term services and supports despite medical setback or retirement. And it should eliminate or significantly raise the 1619(b) asset limits—and the SSI asset limits generally—so that workers with disabilities may save and plan for a modest retirement. Twenty-five years after the passage of the ADA, these measures would finally provide workers with disabilities like Jenny and I the opportunity to achieve the full American Dream.

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Analysis

The ADA at 25: People with Disabilities Want Kids

Throughout this month, the disability community and its allies are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a second-generation person with a disability, I had the good fortune of literally being born into the disability rights movement. My father ran a Center for Independent Living, and my mother—who was denied tenure early in her teaching career because she could only reach the bottom six inches of a chalkboard—worked in Disability Student Services. Today, my husband and I are raising two children with disabilities.

Here’s the question the disability community and the next generation now face: We got the ADA 25 years ago, so what’s next? The answer you get depends greatly on whom you ask. My answer is likely a bit untraditional: we must protect the civil rights of parents with disabilities.

In 2012, the National Council on Disability released “Rocking the Cradle: Protecting the Civil Rights of Parents with Disabilities.”  The report examined the disparate treatment of parents with disabilities in matters of child custody, foster care, adoption, and family law. Right now in 37 states parents with disabilities can have their custodial rights terminated on the basis of having a disability. Additional rights to be an adoptive or foster parent, to have access to reproductive technology, and to be treated fairly in the eyes of the child welfare and family court system are also impacted by discrimination on the basis of a parent’s disability.

“She’s blind, how will she ever read a thermometer to see if her child has a temperature?” “He uses a wheelchair, how will he ever play baseball with his son?” Statements such as these are actual reasons that children have been stripped away from loving homes, according to the testimonies of Carrie Ann Lucas and Kelly Buckland at last week’s quarterly meeting of the National Council on Disability. Lucas is one of only four attorneys in the nation who work on these kinds of cases, and Buckland—the Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living—wrote the first laws to protect civil rights of parents with disabilities in Idaho.

Right now in 37 states parents with disabilities can have their custodial rights terminated on the basis of having a disability.

The bias against parents with disabilities is well embedded in the history of the United States. During the first half of the 20th century, the eugenics movement led to more than 30 states passing legislation that permitted the involuntary sterilization of people with disabilities. This legislative trend was based on the belief that people with disabilities and other “socially inadequate” populations would produce offspring who would be a burden on society. The Supreme Court subsequently endorsed this policy, and by 1970 more than 65,000 Americans had been involuntarily sterilized. Even today, 25 years after the passage of the ADA, several states still have some form of involuntary sterilization law on their books.

Parents with disabilities are the only distinct community of Americans who must struggle to retain custody of their children. As we found in Rocking the Cradle, removal rates when parents have a psychiatric disability have been found to be as high as 70 to 80 percent; when the parent has an intellectual disability, 40 to 80 percent. In families in which the parental disability is physical, 13 percent have reported discriminatory treatment in custody cases. Parents who are deaf or blind report extremely high rates of child removal and loss of parental rights. Parents with disabilities are more likely to lose custody of their children after divorce, have more difficulty accessing reproductive health care, and face significant barriers to adopting children.

Parents with disabilities and their children are disproportionately—and often inappropriately— referred to child welfare services. Once involved in the child welfare system, these families are permanently separated at disproportionately high rates for a number of reasons, including: inclusion of disability as grounds for termination of parental rights (TPR) in many state statutes; the disparate impact of certain provisions of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA); perceived limits on the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), especially at the termination phase; bias, speculation, and the “unfit parent” standard; and a lack of training in relevant systems regarding parents with disabilities.

People with disabilities also face significant barriers, and even outright discrimination, that can prevent them from accessing reproductive technology that can enable a person to become a parent, such as assisted reproductive technology (ART). ART providers regularly discriminate against people with disabilities. Additionally, the growing costs of ART, combined with the limited insurance coverage for these treatments, leave many people with disabilities unable to afford the treatment. Half of all women with disabilities are covered by Medicaid and existing federal law allows states to refuse coverage for fertility drugs (but not Viagra.) These discriminatory policies and practices impact all demographics in the disability community including disabled service men and women. For example, in May of this year the Washington Post reported on Holly and Alex Dillmann who were denied access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) via their Veterans Affairs health plan, which up until this year banned the procedure. Their case is just the tip of the iceberg.

Recent guidance from the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services reiterating these agencies’ legal obligations pursuant to the ADA is an extremely positive development. However, further action is needed at the federal, state, and local levels to give parents with disabilities a level playing field:

  • Congress, the Administration, and federal agencies should fund research on parents with disabilities and their families.
  • States should eliminate disability from their statutes as grounds for termination of parental rights and enact legislation that ensures the rights of parents with disabilities.
  • Congress should address the disparate treatment experienced by parents with disabilities by adding specific protections in the Adoption and Safe Families Act.
  • Congress should shift funding priorities at the federal level so that states have a greater incentive to provide services to families while the children are maintained in the home, as research has shown that in-home services are most effective, particularly for people with disabilities.
  • HHS and DOJ should collect annual data on parents with disabilities and their interaction with child welfare agencies and dependency courts; and DOJ should include such matters in its enforcement priorities and consider violations of parental rights to be violations of civil rights.
  • The HHS Children’s Bureau should collaborate with the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in funding and directing the Institute’s National Center for Parents with Disabilities and Their Families.

Despite a dark history marked by the eugenics movement, increasing numbers of people with disabilities are choosing to become parents. My husband and I knew there was a 50% chance that our children would have dwarfism, and that made the idea of parenthood even more attractive, as we perceive dwarfism as part of our family’s culture. The right to parent without interference is protected by the U.S. Constitution. A child should only be taken from a custodial parent when the disability creates a situation that cannot be alleviated or accommodated.

I dream of a day when removal of a child from a parent with a disability is a rarity, so that in another 25 years the 4 million-plus parents with disabilities will be celebrating the ADA’s 50th Anniversary as grandparents.

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Announcement

7 Reflections on the ADA at 25

July 26th marked 25 years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and TalkPoverty is commemorating this landmark legislation all week.

BUSH WILKE KEMP PARRINO DART

To discuss how far we’ve come—and how far we still have to go—we’re joined by Talley Wells, Director of the Disability Integration Project at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, for an overview of the ADA as well as the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, a critical civil rights case for people with disabilities. Courtesy of the Vera Institute, we feature remarks from Talila “TL” Lewis, founder of HEARD, on the impact of the criminal justice system on people with disabilities. We also hear from Alice Wong about the Disability Visibility Project, a partnership with StoryCorps to collect oral histories of people with disabilities. And we are joined by Michael Morris, Executive Director of the National Disability Institute, to discuss the work that lies ahead to ensure that disability and poverty no longer go hand in hand.

Here are 7 moments from this week’s episode reflecting on the ADA:

  1.  “[Olmstead] is the most important civil rights decision for people with disabilities. It’s often called the Brown v. Board of Education decision for people with disabilities.”

Colorado Disabled Parents

  1. “When the laws changed and society changed, [Kate Gainer] had the right to get in the front of the bus, but it wasn’t until much later – and the push from the disability rights movement – that she was actually able to get on the bus because she uses a wheelchair.”

Edward Davenport

  1. “Tanisha Anderson, Freddie Gray, Anthony Hill, Ezell Ford. These are African American people with disabilities whose lives were cut short by law enforcement.”

Suspect Dies Baltimore

  1. “People with disabilities are the largest minority populations in jails and prisons.”

California Prisons

  1. “Deaf-blind, deaf-disabled, and hard of hearing prisoners customarily experience discrimination and terrible abuse in our prisons. Punished for failure to obey commands they cannot hear.”

Stephen Brodie

  1. “I couldn’t believe it. It was thrilling to be in the White House and to actually say hello to the President.”

  1. “There’s a disability pay gap: For every dollar earned by workers without disabilities, those with disabilities earn just 68 cents.”

Ray Campbell

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First Person

Telling Our Stories: Why I Launched the Disability Visibility Project

This year, we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and recognize the achievements and progress of people with disabilities. While I appreciate the labor and sacrifices of generations of people in the disability rights movement, I can’t help but have a slightly jaded view of the ADA festivities in light of the current status of people with disabilities.

Despite the passage of the law, disparities in healthcare, education, and economic security continue to undermine the ability of people with disabilities to live in the community and to fully participate in every aspect of society.

I wonder how it is that in 2015, the labor force participation rate for people with disabilities (31%) is less than half that of non-disabled people (81%); that people with disabilities who use Medicaid-funded personal assistance services are unable to move from state to state without risking a reduction in their services; that people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) cannot save for the future because they are hindered by outdated asset limitations, which needlessly trap people in poverty; and that people with disabilities can face marriage penalties due to Medicaid and SSI policies regarding income and assets.

If the mission of the ADA is to prevail, these counterproductive policies must be reformed. Because how else can some segments of the disability population fully participate in society?

Challenging these insidious public policies requires listening to the stories and experiences of people with disabilities—and dismantling the idea that living with a disability is either something to be pitied or an inspirational act.

By gathering individual narratives into a larger collective voice, we can provide a sense of urgency.

To that end, I often share my own story as a disabled Asian American woman and a person who uses consumer-directed Medicaid personal assistance services, arguing that these services are a basic human right. It was with that goal in mind that I also launched the Disability Visibility Project (DVP), a community partnership with StoryCorps. The project encourages people with disabilities to record their oral histories and to foster conversation on the lived experience of disability.

The following are just a few of the many stories we have collected through the project:

Ingrid Tischer on disability and work

… if you don’t have a disability, you know, basically you are encouraged to always present yourself in terms of what you can do. That’s your identity, hopefully, if you have a healthy sense of self. The things that you can’t do are simply the things you haven’t learned how to do yet, or that you didn’t really care about in the first place. It feels like the message that a person with a disability gets is your identity is based on what you’re unable to do.

(For extended audio clip with text click here.)

Mia Mingus on disabled women of color and able-bodied conceptions of work

So what does it mean then to be a disabled woman of color and to really be like, putting forth questions around work? And what does work mean? What does it mean to be a woman of color who can’t work? Or who is not able to work as much, right? And like, in some ways I feel like it’s totally oppression that like makes us work harder…I think about that a lot around like, yeah, disability and aging.

(For extended audio clip with text click here.)

Yomi Wong on economic justice and people with disabilities

…I think the next frontier, and I know that there are people working on this and talking about it, so it’s not like some nuanced idea is really economic justice for people with disabilities. I mean, we are among the poorest of the poor in this country, the most unemployed or underemployed demographic and you know, I think economic justice is really the next fight, and it, it’s the fight now, right? And it’s the fight in the future.

(For extended audio clip with text click here.)

Economic security is indeed the big elephant in the room when it comes to disability policy. Everyone knows it’s there, it stinks, and few have the political will to do anything about it. All the while, people with disabilities are being left behind. Storytelling is one way to change this dynamic.  By gathering individual narratives into a larger collective voice, we can provide a sense of urgency, and push for a transformative shift in the relationship between the state and people with disabilities.

All researchers, policymakers, and activists have a role to play in creating social change and expanding opportunity for people with disabilities. But the lived experiences of people with disabilities must be at the center of that process. I encourage people with disabilities to record and share the stories of their lives, and for people who work on disability policy to learn from our stories as we work to further inclusion and justice over the next 25 years.

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