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vimeo.com/.../436612411

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    My name is Jeff Moyer. I am a 71
    year old disability rights advocate,
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    writer, and musician. I've been
    involved with the ADA since before
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    it's inception when we were
    working to establish the
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    beginning of disability rights
    through the 504 regulations
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    that were signed in 1977
    following a 26 day sit in at
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    the San Francisco federal
    building and I was a musician
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    during that, although I did not
    live there like those heroes did.
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    I came and went. I had a young child.
    My involvement with the ADA began
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    when I heard Justin Dart speak in 1988
    I was captivated by his soaring oratory,
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    and his unifying message.
    I introduced myself and
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    asked if I might one day record
    his oratory, he said yes and that
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    began our friendship which led to
    him inviting me to perform my song
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    the ADA anthem at the U.S. senate
    at the evening reception following
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    the signing of the ADA at the white
    house in the morning.
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    I then became involved as a member
    of the ADA implementation network
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    and worked pro bono with people
    all over the country.
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    Helping ensure that the rights created
    by the ADA were realized in their lives.
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    I began to go blind the summer of
    1954, two weeks before my younger
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    brother was born with a severe
    cognitive disability and I think my
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    realization of exclusion and such
    occurred for me as I was trying to see
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    in first grade, to read and the
    materials were not accessible,
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    but my teacher had to write out
    everything she wrote on the board
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    and hand it to me separately.
    So it was my first realization
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    of a need and also the human
    intervention that met my needs.
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    For my brother it wasn't so easy
    and he became the victim of
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    extreme thuggery, and childhood
    violence and there were no schools
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    that would accept him, not even
    the schools for kids with disabilities.
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    As a result, he was institutionalized
    when he was 9 years old and that
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    opened a chapter in my life that
    continues about understanding
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    the needs of people with cognitive
    disabilities that thanks to the mighty
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    Olmstead decision as part of the ADA
    institutional life was considered a
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    violation of civil rights. There's so
    much to that story.
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    The ADA was a wonderful construct,
    however in it's construction,
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    the decision was made by the
    senate to exclude blindness so
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    every intersection in the country had curb
    cuts, but putting in accessible signals
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    for people with visual disabilities is
    a local option and I'm afraid that
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    and I know that for a fact. A dear
    friend of mine who's since passed
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    was part of that whole process in
    Washington. Her name was
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    Mary Jane Owen. So the ADA is a
    great promise, but it's only realized
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    through individual action when
    people apply the skills of advocacy
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    to make sure that case by case,
    it's realized.
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    I was invited to the white house for
    the signing ceremony and I got
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    there early just by virtue of when
    my plane landed so I was seated
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    in the front row of the public section.
    There was a section for congress, and
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    the administration and then a
    section for the public.
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    When the president walked out
    crossing the platform that had
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    been constructed so that he could
    be seen by the crowd, by the
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    audience rather, of course the
    congressional section rose as one
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    in applause and then there came
    people yelling, "We can't see, sit
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    down!" Senator Kennedy was
    sitting right in front of me
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    and the woman who I met who
    was sitting next to me said that
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    he whipped around and realized
    that they were blocking the
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    view of people in wheelchairs.
    So there was this moment of
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    collision of protocol and accessibility
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    Of course people sat down. So it
    was the first time, as the ADA was
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    being signed, that accessibility was
    realized by virtue of personal action.
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    I think this is going to be a difficult
    time for realization of anything new
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    concerning disability rights,
    because as our country is now
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    wrestling with the economic
    outcome due to being shut
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    down due to Coronavirus, I
    think we're going to be
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    working real hard just to
    maintain the ground we have.
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    If I could have anything I wanted
    in terms of accessibility, it would
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    be to reopen the ADA's mighty
    pages to include information
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    and orientation access and by
    that I mean if you're able to
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    ambulate and you're blind or
    you can't read by virtue of a
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    cognitive disability, simple things
    like street crossings, bus numbers,
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    signs in buildings are difficult,
    impossible to read if you can't
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    see or can't read. This technology
    is called talking signs, and we came
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    very close. All of this is not
    required by the ADA, to see that
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    realized as part of the ADA.
    However, the republicans blocked
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    the highway bill because they
    didn't want President Obama
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    to have any victories and we
    had a high priority amendment
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    to that, that would've made
    Washington, D.C. the first
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    accessible city in the world for
    people who can't see or can't read.
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    When that happened after 10
    years of effort to get to that
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    point, the little company went
    under. I had been a volunteer
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    for it for 10 years and with it
    came really a crushing defeat
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    for that type of accessibility.
    Now, there certainly are many
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    types of access through one's
    cellphone if you're able to
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    do that, but so many people
    aren't able or can't afford it
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    that it makes accessibility
    something that requires money
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    and the responsibility that the
    ADA made clear is that the
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    responsibility for access is on
    behalf of the government.
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    People have disabilities,
    situations create handicaps.
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    I think what the ADA did was
    open the possibility for people
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    that employment was going to be
    open to them.
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    In fact we've lost ground since the
    ADA was passed, because people
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    hid behind it in terms of their
    response to hiring.
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    We need to make greater progress
    in terms of employment equity.
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    As well as orientation and
    information access.
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    The ADA, I just heard Robert
    Moses who is one of the great
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    heroes of the civil rights
    movement, freedom summer 1964
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    and he said the Civil Act of 1964
    and the Voting Rights Act of 1965
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    are ideas, but they have yet to be
    fully realized.
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    The ADA, it's an idea, it's a
    construct, it's a mighty
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    accomplishment, but to see it
    fully realized in our lives
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    requires accessibility and
    said decision addresses
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    what I consider to be the most
    extreme need we have.
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    That is safe and accessible
    housing for people with
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    cognitive disabilities.
    Institutions still exist, and even
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    in the community it takes
    advocates to make sure that
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    people are able to live in safe and
    welcoming environments, even in
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    their own home. I saw this with
    my brother who died of lung cancer
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    because of being addicted to
    cigarettes in the institution
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    when he was a child.
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    But even in his last days there was
    thievery and violence in the home
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    which is of course what we
    expected we would be getting
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    away from when I was able to
    move him from the institution
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    into a supported living home.
    So the greatest need is the
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    needs of the least among us.
    Once again, we must listen to
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    our heart intelligence, know
    what is right and then find
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    the way that one's rights can
    address that.
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    The ADA, IDEA, 504, the Voting
    Rights Act, or the Fair Housing
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    Act amendments. There are many
    laws in the quilted protections
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    we have, but each of them require
    individual planning and each of
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    them require advocacy.
    So all of you advocates,
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    all of you young people there
    that are reading this or
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    watching this, the torch is
    being passed and it's
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    important that younger
    generations now take on the
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    mantle of continuing to move
    forward with our beloved, hard
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    won disability rights, which are
    our civil rights.
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    I hope that people are able to think
    more broadly about what we
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    need as a community and pull
    as one in common direction,
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    common cause for possibly
    the good of a few in the
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    community, but we all benefit
    when we are lifted up through
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    accessibility.
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    I added music to our
    demonstration to the signing
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    of the ADA, to the commemoration
    of it's 10th anniversary.
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    Throughout I've understood the
    power of music.
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    It communicates to the wider
    community. It buoys us up as
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    advocates and it unites us.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.'s
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    widow said it the day of national
    service, the Martin Luther King
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    holiday, that we have when we
    were involved in the civil rights
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    movement, the 60's the
    disability rights movement
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    in the 70's, it was music that
    helped us create a community
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    because we sang together
    as one and I do hope that
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    music is not lost as a means
    to pull us together.
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    If there's one thing we need
    now, it is to know that we are one
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    as people with disabilities, that we
    all share the same histories of
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    in different ways of discrimination
    and exclusion and our rights
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    are protected by the same laws.
    I do hope that culture continues
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    binding us together and giving
    voice through it's myriad ways
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    so that people are able to express
    the reality and hope.
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    Hope is what we need more
    than ever right now and
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    that is what the ADA provided,
    was a great beacon of hope.
Title:
vimeo.com/.../436612411
Video Language:
English
Team:
ABILITY Magazine
Duration:
13:20

English subtitles

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