21 & Change Update on COVID-19: Discrimination Concerns Affecting the Developmentally Disabled
The COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread effects on all aspects of our daily lives, from families to businesses to government and everything in between. The current situation has also affected nonprofit organizations across the Nation, including 21 & Change. Due to CDC guidelines and the measures required for everyone’s safety, we have postponed a conference and a fundraiser event so far this Spring. Until things are determined to be safe, we will need to either cancel or postpone additional events as needed. However, we are not sitting idly by and watching this crisis unfold.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve been hearing concerns and instances of discrimination against the developmentally disabled across our Nation. We have been working on our own and with national level organizations to ensure Congress preserves the civil and human rights of individuals with developmental disabilities. Our most recent legislative advocacy efforts include emails and phone calls to our Senators and Representatives here in Florida to express our concerns and the concerns of others over discrimination against the disabled in light of this crisis. We’ve also participated in several national level video teleconferences about the current issues affecting the disabled.
Denying lifesaving healthcare measures to the disabled is not an option, but it is a clear-cut case of discrimination and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Suspending free appropriate public education or permitting the ‘rollback’ of accommodations and services for the disabled is also discrimination. This is a clear violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Both education and healthcare are basic human rights afforded to all Americans. Our society is predicated upon several critical elements, the most important of which are safety, security and basic human rights. Therein lies the resolve of our Nation and the strength of our communities.
We understand these are unprecedented times that require certain temporary measures in order to defeat this pandemic so we can resume our regular daily lives. Working together with our elected representatives, our schools, and our medical community we should be able to find more appropriate answers to solve our current issues. Denying basic human rights to the most vulnerable in our communities is not the right answer.
If you or someone you know with a developmental disability has been the victim of discrimination during this crisis, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“What we do and how we act now will define us as a community and a Nation for years to come. Now is the time to work together for the good of all and preserve the hard-won rights of the most vulnerable in our communities. Anything less will be a mark upon us all.”