Thursday, August 17, 2017

On the Road Again

Drive for Our Lives bus visits Memphis

By Allison Donald
Save My Care is a grassroots community of Americans from all fifty states who have come together as a movement to oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and push for positive solutions for our health care challenges.  As a result of their work and the work of countless organizations like the Memphis Center for Independent Living and ADAPT the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act never made it out of the Senate.  The Drive for Our Lives bus tour is a continuation of the Save My Care movement which aims educate and engage in civic outreach to protect our healthcare.   

Allison Donald being interviewed

On Thursday the Drive for Our Lives bus returned to Memphis in front of City Hall with Diana Baker, a nurse, Faith Pollan, Planned Parenthood representative and myself, representing Mid-South ADAPT and MCIL. The program was telling real stories of Tennesseans who have been affected the Affordable Care Act.   

Diane Baker spoke about being a nurse at a rural hospital and the desperate need for them to remain open. Hospitals like the Copper Basin Medical Center in Polk County are at risk of closing due to lack of funding. Copper Basin Medical Center is the only critical access hospital in Polk County, Tenn. Many other rural hospitals across Tennessee will meet this fate and the people who rely on this hospital for medical treatment will suffer because there means of getting help has been forced to close its doors.

This healthcare debate ultimately is about people like Faith Pollan who chose to use the services provided by Planned Parenthood have an abortion and take charge of her own reproductive health.  Planned Parenthood guided her through one of the most difficult decisions a woman may have to make.  It is important for us as disability community to stand with organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Organizations such as this one allow women with disabilities access to care who may not have health insurance and cannot afford some aspects of prenatal care.

In Tennessee people receiving Long Term Supports and Services make up 3% of Medicaid enrollees, but account for 20% of the cost.  The services provided by Medicaid that help people with disabilities live in the community are at risk of being cut severely if law makers choose to constitute block grants.  If we did not have those provision in the Affordable Care Act then we will be forced into nursing and our liberty and freedom as Americans will be taken away.  Mid-South ADAPT and MCIL are working to gather support for the Disability Integration Act (HR 2472) and (S910).  This piece of civil rights legislation will make it a mandate that people with disabilities receive supports and services that allows us to live, work, and play in our respective communities.  We realize that we even though we may have won the battle the fight for our lives is not over.

Michael Heinrich of MCIL leads the rally

If you would like to join us in the fight to protect our healthcare you can visit for more details and to find out where the next stop on the Drive for Our Lives bus tour will be.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Total Eclipse Audio Description

Audio Description to Allow the Blind To “See” the Total Eclipse

WASHINGTON, August 10, 2017 — The Audio Description Project, an initiative of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), along with the Mid-Tennessee Council of the Blind, the Tennessee School for the Blind and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, announces an opportunity for blind people world-wide to experience the upcoming total eclipse of the sun.

On Monday afternoon, August 21, at exactly 1:27 p.m. (CDT), the Sun above Nashville, TN will disappear from view. The sky will go completely dark. But through the use of succinct, imaginative and vivid language – audio description –the event will be accessible to the millions of people who are blind or have low vision, or anyone who wishes to experience a verbal version of the visual.

Between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. (CDT) on August 21, Dr. Joel Snyder will host “A Total Eclipse — Audio Described!” on ACB Radio.  Snyder, the director of ACB’s Audio Description Project, will present an hour of songs (“Ain’t Got No Sunshine,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Blinded by the Light,” “When The Sun Goes Down,” etc.), interviews and special guests — with the main event being described live from the Tennessee School for the Blind between 1:15 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. (CDT). Trained audio describer, Nashville-based Julia Cawthon, will describe the eclipse as it happens and provide a vivid “translation” of the visual event into words for the benefit of anyone who tunes in.

“Audio description uses the spoken word to provide access to visual images that would otherwise not be accessible to people who are blind or have low vision,” stated Kim Charlson, president of the American Council of the Blind. “Audio describers help make so many aspects of our culture accessible.  We’re delighted to sponsor this program on August 21 and help people experience this important event.”

How to access the broadcast: Go to and select “Click Here to Play.” Then be sure to select the link that opens the player that you use to listen to music or stream internet radio stations. You can also listen on any telephone by dialing (605) 475-8130 and select option 4. If you are using an iOS device such as an iPad or iPhone, install “ACB Link”; open the app, select the radio tab and then tap on the menu button. Select “live streams” and “ACB Radio Interactive,” select the play button and the stream will launch.

Additional information about ACB’s Audio Description Project is available at:

About the American Council of the Blind

The American Council of the Blind is a national membership organization. Its members are blind, visually impaired, and fully sighted individuals who are concerned about the dignity and well-being of blind people throughout the nation.

Formed in 1961, the ACB is one of the largest organizations of blind people in the world, with more than 70 state and special-interest affiliates and a nationwide network of chapters and members spanning the globe.

For more information about the American Council of the Blind, contact: Eric Bridges, Executive Director, American Council of the Blind, 1703 N. Beauregard S., Suite 420, Alexandria, VA 22311; phone (202) 467-5081 or toll-free, 1-800-424-8666; or visit the web site,

Director, Audio Description Project
(202) 467-5083
Author of The Visual Made Verbal: A Comprehensive Training Manual and
Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description -
get your copy at
President, Audio Description Associates, LLC 

"The Visual Made Verbal"
6502 Westmoreland Avenue, Takoma Park, MD  20912
Tel: 301 920-0218; Fax: 208 445-0079

For more information about audio description, please visit: 

Director, Audio Description Project
American Council of the Blind -- 202 467-5083
cblogoscan002™ ACB logo id:image004.jpg@01CBED4F.9FF9D220 ADP logo

Donna Wolke
MTSU Physics & Astronomy
Box 71, WPS 220
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Phone 615-898-2130
Fax 615-898-5303

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Friday Game Night

Food, fun and games with the Grey Panthers

By Bobbie Fields
The Grey Panthers Game Night kicked-off last Friday night full of fun, food, music, and games.  The Memphis Center for Independent Living Grey Panthers is a peer-to-peer support Group for the mature crowd. Big thanks to our members for going the extra mile to make the first game night a great event.  It would have never been a success without the help of each member who attended.

Game night at MCIL

The Grey Panthers would like to thank the Direct Service Professionals for volunteering to serve and clean. A special thanks to Ms. Alecia for facilitating the Bingo game.  It was a lot of fun and excitement!

Also the food and drinks were enjoyed by everyone!

Life after 55 does not have to be boring, lonely, or isolated.  You are invited to come out and be a part of our vibrant Grey Panthers. If you would like to know about upcoming events; please contact Ms. Bobbie Fields Co-Facilitator at 901-726-6404 ext. 112 or Mr. Jerry Gamble Co-Facilitator 901-726-6404 ext. 122.

Friday, August 11, 2017

MCIL and Disaster Recovery

MCIL to be part of the Memphis and Shelby County Recovery Initiative

By Tim Wheat
Dale Lane of the City Office for Emergency Management and Rick Keith of Shelby County OEM invited MCIL to be part of the Memphis and Shelby County Recovery Initiative. This idea sprang from the May 27th storms and is intended to collaborate with recovery services for the city and county.
Memphis O E M Communications Center
MCIL along with about 30 groups met in the OEM communications center that is designed to keep emergency responders informed in the event of a city-wide disaster. It was set up like the White House situation room with communications, multiple screens and emergency lap-tops. Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross, Hospitality Hub, Deaf Connect and Disability Rights Tennessee were among the groups present along with MLGW, Tennessee state agencies and many city departments.

The focus of the symposium was to assist individuals and families affected by natural disaster, especially those most vulnerable, helping them return to safe, secure and sanitary housing. A natural disaster will consist of the emergency phase followed by response, recovery, mitigation and preparation. Following the crisis, the recovery phase may include many local, state and national resources and will benefit from prior planning and coordination.

The goal of the Recovery Initiative is to build a collaborative network and to communicate effectively following a disaster. The initial goal of the meeting on August 11 was to assist those who may still have needs associated with the May 27th thunderstorm. Continuing to serve as a coalition and prepare for future response and recovery is the long-term goal.

MCIL can certainly help with many parts of the initiative. Most notably is the Center’s ability to understand and advocate for the unique and diverse issues of people with disabilities. Accommodating disability, making physical accessibility possible as well as including sensory, psychiatric and intellectual accommodations is necessary for the Recovery Initiative to be successful.

The OEM reported that more than 800 homes experienced damage in the May storm. They estimate that there are still 500 with unmet needs. This estimate only looks at the structural damage and does not include the human and social harm of the thunderstorm. MCIL noted problems from people in the Memphis area. Topping the list was communication and transportation. People also reported difficulty getting their medications and having access to relief and recovery actions.

The Memphis and Shelby County Recovery Initiative is planning to include disaster case management, communications, construction management, volunteer management, mental health and spiritual care, donations management long-term recovery administration and financial controls. The concept is to create a 501(c)3 non-profit to coordinate the effort among the local participants including MCIL. 

Please check-out our emergency preparedness article for people with disabilities at: