[nfbmi-talk] Fw: Media Alert: Michiganders with Disabilities to Protest Subminimum Wages at State ADA Celebration September 17

David Robinson drob1946 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 14 19:10:39 UTC 2015

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Eleanor Canter 
To: Susan Fitzmaurice 
Cc: joe harcz Comcast ; Darma Canter ; Mark Johnson ; David Robinson NFB MI ; Fred wurtzel ; Jill Gerrie ; Laura Hall ; Mark Eagle ; Norman DeLisle ; Leigh Campbell Earl ; Larry Posont NFBMI Pres. ; Scott Heinzman ; terry Eagle ; Clark Goodrich 
Sent: Sunday, September 13, 2015 3:05 PM
Subject: Media Alert: Michiganders with Disabilities to Protest Subminimum Wages at State ADA Celebration September 17

  a.. Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern

  b.. Michigan Capitol Lawn in Lansing – Directions and parking at: www.dnmichigan.org/ada-25-getting-there

Media Contacts: 

  a.. Susan Fitzmaurice Southeast Michigan / 248-767-2217 / susan at disabilitysavvy.com / adamichigan.wordpress.com

  b.. Eleanor Canter / Muskegon / 231.755.5063 / 765.414.2014 / eleanorcanter at yahoo.com / peeractionalliance.com

Michiganders with disabilities will use the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 to protest the rampant practice of subminimum wages for people with disabilities across the state.

Consumers from across the state will gather on the Michigan Capitol Lawn in Lansing during the ADA 25th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. 

Michigan’s ADA celebration is being sponsored by the very organizations who lobby to continue the practice of paying subminimum wages to people with significant disabilities in sheltered workshops. The event is sponsored by Peckham, the largest provider of sheltered work in Michigan, and MARO, an association of subminimum wage employers whose members include Source America.

Many Michiganders with disabilities were shocked. Negative reactions from across the nation soon followed. Kelly Buckland (Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living), Billy Altom (Executive Director of the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living), and the Road to Freedom Bus Tour have cancelled planned appearances at the event. 

“The ADA bus hit the brakes and made a U turn on our way to Lansing, Michigan for their ADA celebration,” explains Tom Olin, Director of the Disability Rights Center and Captain of the ADA Bus. “The Freedom Bus has crisscrossed the U.S.A. bringing displays to celebrations and educational forums. We’ve supported advocates for consumer control and independence. A question that is asked time after time is ‘has the promise of the ADA been fulfilled?’ And yes, we have gained some tools in our fight for civil rights but economic justice and equality for all is still elusive for many with different disabilities in our community. Until we come together and say ‘You and I are equal,’ the ADA will be unfulfilled and justice denied. The ADA was written by us for us, not to make money from oppressing us. Let that stop here and now.”

The protesters believe that subminimum wages are unethical, dehumanizing and discriminatory – and a violation of the ADA. Sheltered workshops unfairly segregate members of the disability community, which violates the integration mandate - the seminal principle of all disability rights legislation, including the ADA. Protesters support an end to subminimum wages immediately and the responsible phase-out of segregated employment for Michiganders with disabilities. 

Specifically, they are asking Michigan Centers for Independent Living – taxpayer funded nonprofits that are meant to be disability rights organizations – to cease their financial support of subminimum wage employment through membership in MARO. The Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and the state’s IL Association, Disability Network / Michigan, both headed by Sara Grivetti, played a large role in planning the celebration and are also being asked to end their financial relationships with Peckham and MARO.

Anyone supporting civil rights for Michiganders with disabilities is welcome and encouraged to join the protest. Our petition is available online.


  a.. CNN - Sources: Nation's disabled work program mired in corruption, fraud

  b.. CNN - At ADA rally, calls to overhaul AbilityOne program for disabled people

  c.. Disability Network / Michigan - Event Sponsors

  d.. MARO – Membership Directory

  e.. DOJ - Justice Department Reaches Proposed ADA Settlement Agreement On Oregon's Developmental Disabilities System

  f.. Peer Action Alliance - NCIL Director Cancels Michigan Visit Amid Growing Concern Over Ties to Subminimum Wage Employers

  g.. Road to Freedom - Peer Action Alliance – The Road to Freedom ADA Bus Tour Made a U-Turn From Michigan

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