Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Demand your right to vote privately and independently!

It is Empowering to Vote

By Judy Neal
Judy Neal and two other women at the White House

I just got back from early voting and it reminded me so much about the connections between advocacy, consumer control and empowerment. The poll was staffed with very helpful people who knew little or nothing about disability.  Upon seeing the white cane that I use because of my visual impairment, I was asked if I needed to "sit down." When I got to the table for checking my registration I was asked, "Did you bring someone with you to help?"  My response was that I expected to vote independently on an accessible voting machine.  Completely ignoring what I had to say, the worker said, "then, we'll get someone to assist you. Sign this form for assistance."

Another worker heard me laughing and came over to take me to the machine with the headphones. I was able to talk to her about my expectations to vote privately and independently. Even so, she asked, "Do you want me to stand here and help you?"

When I was finished, I pulled the card out of the machine and handed it to the poll worker. In her most earnest voice, she suggested that I leave by the “handicapped door.”

I know we still have a long way to go before we're recognized as independent and equal. The more people with disabilities that show up at the polls, the easier it will become for all of us.  So, after years of advocacy, testimony, and voter machine testing, I was able to silently and independently vote for the candidate of my choice. Knowing that I worked hard for the right to vote independently and standing up for that right was definitely empowering.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Transportation Survey

Transportation Access and Experiences

The ADA Participation Action Research Consortium would like to invite you to participate in a national survey titled, Transportation Access and Experiences, which is designed to improve understanding of accessibility of public transportation for people with disabilities. This survey ADA-PARC, a collaborative research project of ADA Regional Centers (PIs: Lex Frieden and Joy Hammel). This project focuses on community living, community participation, work and economic participation disparities of people with disabilities (For more information, visit the website: We would like to improve our understanding on transportation access of people with disabilities and use this information to make improvements at regional and national levels.

We are very interested in receiving as many responses as possible from people with disabilities based on their personal experiences with public transportation. The results will serve as crucial evidence to support improvements to accessible transportation.

Please use the link below to access and complete the survey. The online survey can be completed in English or Spanish. This is the second round of data collection for this survey, so if you have already completed it, please do not complete the survey again.

Survey Link:

If you would like to complete the survey by phone in English, please contact the research team at 312-996-9655. If you would like to complete the survey by phone in Spanish, please contact Ancel Montenelli at 312-413-1439. Please mention that you are calling about the ADA transportation survey.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this survey, please contact Jill Bezyak from the Rocky Mountain ADA Center at

Thank-you for taking the time to assist us with this survey.


Nos gustaría invitarle a participar en una encuesta nacional titulada, Acceso y Experiencia de Transporte, el cual está diseñada para mejorar la comprensión de la accesibilidad del transporte público para personas con discapacidad. Esta encuesta está siendo realizada por el Consorcio de la Investigación sobre la Acción para la Participación de la ADA (siglas en inglés ADA-PARC), un proyecto colaborativo de investigación que colabora con siete Centros Regionales de la Ley para americanos con Discapacidades (ADA)  (Investigadores Principales: Lex Frieden y Joy Hammel). Este proyecto el cual se enfocan en la vida en la  comunidad, la participación comunitaria, el trabajo y desigualdades de participación económica de las personas con discapacidad (Para obtener más información, visite el sitio web: Nos gustaría mejorar nuestro entendimiento sobre el acceso al transporte de personas con discapacidad y utilizar esta información para hacer mejoras a nivel regional y nacional.

Estamos muy interesados en recibir tantas respuestas como sea posible de las personas con discapacidad en base a sus experiencias personales con el transporte público. Siéntase en libertad de  compartir la encuesta con entidades potencialmente interesadas. Los resultados servirán como evidencia clave para mejoras al transporte accesible. Utilice el siguiente enlace para acceder y completar la encuesta. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta o comentario acerca de esta encuesta, por favor, póngase en contacto con Joy Hammel a su correo electrónico

Agregue el enlace de la encuesta aquí:

También deseamos informarle que estamos en la disposición de ayudarle a participar en la encuesta vía  teléfono si así lo prefiere, especialmente si el acceso a Internet es un problema para usted o usted prefiere completar la encuesta verbalmente. Puede llamar a nuestro equipo de investigación al 312-996-9655 si desea realizar la encuesta por teléfono. Si desea completar la encuesta por teléfono en español, por favor póngase en contacto con el Sr. Ancel Montenelli al 312-413-1439. Y Por favor, haga mención que usted está llamando acerca de la encuesta de transporte ADA.

Gracias por tomarse el tiempo para ayudarnos con esta encuesta.

Parent Summit

MCIL focus on Transportation

By Allison Donald
Alison Donald
The Parent Summit and Transition Fair that was held on October 22, 2016 at the Colonial Middle School. The Fair is a one stop shop for information and resources for parents of children and young adults with disabilities that caters to parents who are looking for post-secondary education options.   

There are many choices for parents in areas ranging from education and employment to educating themselves and their children on the different modes of transportation.  Parents have the opportunity to speak with as many vendors as they like about their respective programs and how the programs can assist their child or young adult.  

“I am very pleased that our visitors, community members and vendors are willing to connect parents and guardians with resources and services today,” said Celia Moore, the Director of Shelby County Schools Exceptional Children and Health Services. “I’m grateful to each of you and thank you for your support and for your participation.”

During the breakout sessions which last no more than thirty minutes the vendors present on a particular subject that pertains to the transition of young people and their parents from a school setting to community living.

The Memphis Center for Independent Living breakout session for this year’s summit was centered on transportation options for people with disabilities in Memphis.  Our presentation was primarily focused on letting the parents know that transportation is a vital part of independence for people with disabilities.  

Also, Christina Clift and I wanted to introduce these parents to other modes of transportation aside from them transporting their child everywhere they needed to go.   The most important piece of information I think we wanted to leave them with is independence is a process that can start by teaching your child how to travel independently.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Success Happens Here!

Finding affordable, accessible, integrated housing is difficult in Memphis

By Tim Redd
It’s no secret that our community, people with disabilities face many challenges. In September I met a woman with a disability who was looking for housing. I provided her with several resources to get started in her housing search. I followed up with her on a weekly basis, offering more information as it was needed.

On October 12th I received the news from the woman that she had found housing would be moving on the 24th of this month. She thanked me for all my help. I am happy to help people and I celebrate her success. MCIL is a place of action and we encourage self-advocacy. I am happy to help empower my community, success happens here!