11 Disability Rights Activists on Where the Fight for Justice Stands

BY TEEN VOGUE STAFF: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Airlines have lifted mask mandates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that most Americans no longer need to social distance or quarantine. Schools and employers are doing away with remote options and other accommodations for students and workers. In several states, expanded vote-by-mail access is being stripped away.

Meanwhile, many Americans with chronic illness or disabilities — whose numbers have grown due to long COVID — feel they’ve been left behind, discarded as an acceptable consequence of the return to “normal.”

We asked 11 disability rights advocates about their experiences during the various stages of the pandemic and what’s next in the fight for disability rights and inclusion. Their responses have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

  1. How do you think the pandemic changed the public perception of people living with disabilities or chronic illness?

NTA Blog: Improving Services to Taxpayers With Visual Disabilities

From The NTA Blog: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Millions of U.S. taxpayers are visually impaired and unable to read print material in a standard font size. As a result of a settlement agreement between the IRS and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) on July 10, 2020, the IRS agreed to develop a process for taxpayers to request post-filing tax notices in a variety of acceptable formats, including Braille and large print. (See IRS statement, July 15, 2020.) This settlement resolved a case brought forth by several blind taxpayers and NFB who alleged the IRS was in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits individuals with a disability from being excluded from the participation in, being denied the benefits of, or being subjected to discrimination under any executive agency.

Visually Impaired Taxpayers Now Have More Accessibility Options

In January 2022, the IRS implemented a new alternative media process where visually impaired taxpayers can elect to receive certain types of written correspondence in:

  • Large Print,
  • Braille,
  • Audio (MP3),
  • Plain Text File (TXT), or
  • Braille Ready File (BRF).

Taxpayers can make this election either by calling the IRS and making an oral statement, by attaching Form 9000, Alternative Media Preference, to their tax return when filing their taxes, or by mailing a separate signed Form 9000 to the IRS.  Once the taxpayer makes the election, the IRS will place an indicator on the taxpayer’s account so it will provide certain written correspondence in the selected format going forward.

Penalty Relief

If the IRS sends a standard print notice despite the taxpayer’s election to receive such notices in an accessible format, and this results in the taxpayer not taking a required action (for example, making a payment), relief from certain penalties may be available. To obtain the relief, the taxpayer would still need to establish reasonable cause, including providing the following information:

  • Did the taxpayer provide a description of the impairment that prevented him or her from reading the standard print notice?
  • What was the taxpayer’s degree of knowledge about the tax, interest, or penalty owed before receiving the standard print notice?
  • When did the IRS receive the taxpayer’s request to receive notices in an accessible format?
  • If a notice was later sent in an accessible format, did the taxpayer promptly respond to it?

Taxpayers can request reasonable cause relief by calling the toll-free number on their IRS notice or writing a letter to request “penalty relief due to reasonable cause.”

Subtitle the world

ByAmanda Florian: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Sirens blare and the roar of impatient drivers echoes in the background. Jake Giovanni, who is deaf, sits across from me in his apartment in Charlotte, North Carolina, to test out XRAI Glass—new tech that produces captions in real time for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Giovanni, 24, is one of the first in the US to see the tech in action. A compatible smartphone running XRAI Glass software captures audio while a pair of augmented reality glasses—in this case, the Nreal Air AR glasses created by Beijing-based Nreal—display captions on Giovanni’s lenses. After selecting “start captions,” the app begins captioning our interview as if we were watching a TV show or film with subtitles.

“I’m really thankful that somebody’s doing this,” he said. “You have to start somewhere. And the impact that this could make on someone’s life is incredible.”

On the top left of Giovanni’s lens is a small icon that shows network strength, and in the middle is me. The sleek glasses, tinted—with space for prescription lenses—allow a person to view what’s in front of them as captions appear on the bottom left side. London-based tech startup XRAI Glass provided Morning Brew with a compatible device from Nreal in order to test the software with interviewees.

Giovanni, a consulting analyst, explained his profound hearing loss was caused by a mutation in a particular gene on his X chromosome.

Fable introduces Pathways platform to help advance careers of people with disabilities

From PRWEB: For Complete Post, Click Here…

To mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day, leading accessibility start-up Fable is launching Pathways. Fable Pathways is a skill development program created by people with disabilities, for people with disabilities. Courses are free to take and boast a Masterclass quality of video production.

The purpose is to empower and excite people with disabilities to pursue a career in the technology sector. In 2021, according to the US Department of Labour, 19.1% of PWD in the US were employed, compared to 63.7% of people without a disability. Similarly in Canada, according to Stats Can, 59% of people with disabilities were employed, compared to 80% of those without disabilities (while the rate of employment for persons with more severe disabilities was even lower).

Today Fable Pathways is launching with two courses. The first is “Getting started in web development” in partnership with Microsoft, which introduces VS Code and GitHub to screen reader users. Course instructors are specialists in their fields, and offer their expertise with the nuance of having built that knowledge as someone with a disability:

“Working with Fable to create my course was an enjoyable and rewarding experience. My hope is that the course provides the skills and coaching needed for learners to advance to their next level. Knowledge and my experiences are rewarding for me to share and Fable Pathways allowed me to do just that.” – Kelly Ford, Senior Accessibility Program Manager at Microsoft and Instructor, Fable Pathways

The second course released today is “Becoming a manager”:

“One of the most critical components of management is communication, and I’ve had a unique journey of building that skill as someone who’s hearing impaired and have relied on assistive devices since I was six years old. I’m thrilled to share what I’ve learned, and truly hope to see more people with disabilities in leadership roles in the tech sector.” — Kate Kalcevich, Head of Accessibility Innovation at Fable and Instructor, Fable Pathways

Year of the Tiger: Debut memoir by Alice Wong

From Disability Visibility Project: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Friends, the time is meow. Today my debut memoir, Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life, is available in paperback, audiobook, and e-book.

It’s been a hell of a summer and I am grateful to be alive to tell my story.

Free discussion guide by Sandy Ho: https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Discussion-Guide_YOTT_Ho-Remediated.pdf

Official book playlist https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2vN4440v9Lz9RegPjVpEev?si=b924c148e58046b2

Plain language summary (coming soon), online book events, and more: https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/book/tiger/

This labor of love has been a collective effort and I hope you love it as much as I do!

Ford Foundation Grants $1M to AAPD to Support Disabled Higher Ed Students and Employees in COVID-19 Landscape

From AAPD: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Today, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is proud to announce that AAPD has received a new $1,000,000 grant from the Ford Foundation U.S. Disability Rights Program. The grant has been established to support the advocacy of disabled students, faculty, and staff to center disabled university community members as postsecondary education navigates the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement marks the largest grant ever issued by the Ford Foundation’s U.S. Disability Rights portfolio, which launched in 2021, and builds on the powerful legacy of student and youth organizing in the disability rights and justice movement. 

Higher education is inaccessible to disabled students and employees in a multitude of ways, posing barriers even before the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic continues, and preventative measures such as masking and routine testing are now implemented inconsistently if at all, students, faculty, and staff with disabilities yet face additional threats to their health and safety.  Institutions of higher education are not just places of learning, but they are workplaces. Disabled workers have also faced immense barriers, discrimination, and impossible choices during the pandemic. 

Equal access to education and to workplaces without the presence of disability discrimination are protected civil rights. When campus COVID-19 protocols do not center the needs of disabled and high-risk community members, individuals are forced to choose between accessing their education or employment and their own health. This impossible choice has significant impacts on educational attainment and on student, faculty, and staff mental health. 

While all college students reported high levels of stress and mental health challenges during the pandemic, disabled college students were twice as likely as their nondisabled peers to experience anxiety, and three times as likely to face depression. And, according to the National Center for College Students with Disabilities, while over 22% of Americans have a disability, only 4% of higher education faculty are disabled. This indicates higher education’s inaccessibility to disabled employees, and that community and solidarity among higher education professionals may not be easy to find. 

“AAPD is thrilled to receive this generous grant from the Ford Foundation to directly support  disabled student, staff, and faculty advocacy efforts to ensure that institutions of higher education adopt more inclusive and accessible policies and support systems,” said Christine Liao, Programs Director at the American Association of People with Disabilities

Lugnuts and Disability Rights Michigan to Host Accessible Day Sunday

From The Lansing Lugnuts: For Complete Post, Click Here…

LANSING, Mich. – The Lansing Lugnuts and Disability Rights Michigan (DRM) have partnered to host an Accessible Day at Jackson® Field™ on Sunday, September 11th. This partnership hopes to raise awareness about the need for full inclusion, so individuals with disabilities feel empowered within the community.

Ballpark gates open at 12 noon, with first pitch at 1:05 p.m. between the Lugnuts and the visiting Dayton Dragons. This is the final scheduled game in the Lugnuts’ season.

Accessible Day at the ballpark will include ASL interpreters, menus in braille, sensory kits, quiet room, “get your wiggles out” station and a host of other accommodations. Fans can learn about advocacy organizations in the area and what assistive technology is available to them.

“Disability Rights Michigan would like to thank the Lansing Lugnuts for celebrating the beauty of inclusion,” said Executive Director Michelle Roberts. “To have an experience where everyone feels welcomed and included brings together a community. Baseball is for everyone, and we are excited to be part of this day.”

“We’re proud to partner with Disability Rights Michigan, whose values we share,” said Lansing Lugnuts general manager Tyler Parsons. “This is about celebrating inclusivity, extending not only through all Lugnuts fans but also through our staff. This will be an outstanding afternoon to connect, empower and root together at the ballpark.”

Cerebral palsy community comes together to spark the next breakthrough in accessible technology

By Disability Insider: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Organisers of World Cerebral Palsy Day are launching a new campaign, ‘Millions of Reasons’, calling on people with cerebral palsy all over the world to submit their ideas for accessible tech solutions.

There are more than 17 million people with cerebral palsy worldwide. The campaign aims to raise awareness about the unique experience of cerebral palsy and demonstrate the demand for accessible technologies.

“There is a growing demand for accessible technology all over the world, but product designers and technology companies are mostly still fixated on seeing disability as a charitable cause. Instead, companies need to shift to attract and delight customers and talent in disability markets” says Bronya Metherall, General Manager of Influence & Social Impact at Cerebral Palsy Alliance

TechTuesday AT for Remote Work

From MATP: For Complete Post, Click Here…

We hope you will join us for our #TechTuesday Training Series this year.

Session 10 of the training series will be aboutAssistive Technology (AT) for Remote Work You will learn how to use various Assistive Technology (AT) products and devices. We will be highlighting Assistive Technology for Remote Work.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 12 to 1 PM

This training is free.

CART captioning and ASL Interpreting will be provided.Register in advance for access to the live session and the recording for future viewing:
Click Here to Register
A Training Certificate of Attendance will be provided