Advocacy

By Sunrise Group on January 4, 2017

Advocacy Season Starts Now!

We’re mere weeks away from the first of the 2017 state sessions. As a disability advocate, your help is needed to promote, protect and defend the human rights of people with disability. In addition to the threat of a federal repeal of the Affordable Care Act, many states are proposing Medicaid Block Grants for all enrollees including people with disabilities. The challenge of block grants is compounded by the issue that many states already have existing Wait Lists with thousands of families in need of community-based disability services. Needless to say, there is a lot of work to do in the months ahead. Sunrise urges you to sign up as a self-advocate or ally via: advocacy@sunrisegroup.org.

By Sunrise Group on August 23, 2016

National Public Policy: Service Providers Turn To Washington For Help

The Disability Community Act, which is supported by United Cerebral Palsy, Autism Speaks, the Autism Society and Easter Seals in addition to ANCOR, is estimated to cost about $300 million. The bill was introduced by Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and has support from Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, as well as both chairs of the Congressional Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., and Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I. If passed, the bill would offer a temporary increase in federal Medicaid dollars for programs serving people with developmental disabilities. Advocates are still working to get a companion bill introduced in the U.S. Senate.

By Sunrise Group on August 10, 2016

Disability History: The Hidden History of Eugenics

The first eugenics law in the United States was passed in Connecticut in 1895. Then in 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court decided, by a vote of 8 to 1, to uphold a state’s right to forcibly sterilize a person considered unfit to procreate. The case, known as Buck v. Bell, centered on a young woman named Carrie Buck, whom the state of Virginia had deemed to be “feeble-minded.” All told, as many as 70,000 Americans were forcibly sterilized during the 20th century. The victims of state-mandated sterilization included people like Buck who had been labeled “mentally deficient,” as well as those who who were deaf, blind and diseased. Who was Carrie Buck, and why must we never forget her legacy?

By Sunrise Group on June 22, 2016

Sunrise Celebrates Community Inclusion on the 17th Anniversary of Olmstead

ODAY IN DISABILITY HISTORY: On June 22, 1999, the Supreme Court issued its landmark “Olmstead v. L.C.” decision fundamentally changing the lives of Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson–who had both been languishing in an institution for years after their initial treatment ended. Lois and Elaine filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for release from the Georgia facility–and, in doing so, affirmed the constitutional right to self-determination not only for themselves, but also for other Americans with disabilities to live outside of institutions, opening avenues and increase opportunities to enhance our communities and our lives.

By Sunrise Group on June 14, 2016

UCP of Southwest Florida in Clewiston Supports REVUP!

“REV UP” is a national campaign led by The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). REV UP is the acronym for “Register, Educate, Vote and Use your Power.” The goal is to promote and ensure that people with disabilities are fully participating in the political process. UCP of Southwest Florida strongly supports self-advocacy and self-determination. As part of that effort, on June 9, 2016, Clewiston’s Adult Day Training Center hosted a legislative advocacy program featuring a voting demonstration from Hendry County. Program participants met their local candidates, ensured their respective voter registrations were up to date, and engaged in practicing their voting skills with the help of, Ms. Brenda Hoots, Supervisor of Elections of Hendry County.

By Sunrise Group on May 19, 2016

Public Policy: Georgia Commits To De-Institutionalization by 2018

On Wednesday, May 18th, Georgia state officials acknowledged their efforts, to to find appropriate, safe homes for people with disabilities who have been institutionalized for decades, have fallen short. In a statement from Governor Nathan Deal, he described the new agreement as “a significant accomplishment for the state of Georgia. They agreed to at least two more years of federal oversight, pledging new spending if necessary. Advocates for people with disabilities praised the new agreement, saying it indicates the state will try much harder to ensure quality care for patients transferred into community facilities. The state’s new efforts will specifically focus on former hospital patients with particularly complex medical issues. As of January, 266 Georgians with developmental disabilities remained in the hospitals.

By Sunrise Group on May 16, 2016

Sunrise Supports #REVUP – Making the Disability Vote Count

More than any time in recent memory, Americans with disabilities have the power to influence the outcome of the 2016 Primary and General Election. Elected leaders and political candidates are recognizing the 57 MILLION Americans with disabilities—from birth to advanced age—as a powerful, important constituency. Issues important to people with disabilities – like accessibility, community inclusion and aging in place – must be part of the platform for any candidate running for public office. Join Sunrise in support of the REVUP campaign to advocate for policies that allow people with disabilities to fully participate in the political process, including ensuring the accessibility of polling locations and through promoting the availability of accessible voting technology.

By Sunrise Group on May 9, 2016

National Public Policy: Feds Say Relying On Nursing Homes For Those With Disabilities Not OK

The issue of inappropriate placement of children and young adults with developmental disabilities has been in the Florida news for almost a decade. However, the problem is not isolated to just one state. In fact, according to the Feds, many states in the US are guilty of forcing thousands of people with disabilities to live in segregated nursing facilities to receive services. To a large degree, the controversy is over money: Now, the Justice Department is calling for states to expand their community-based services offerings and transition services for those who can and wish to move to more integrated settings. It is a move towards community inclusion, which Sunrise strongly supports.

By Sunrise Group on April 26, 2016

MARYLAND: Disability Voter Guide Released

As voters head to the polls in Maryland today, RespectAbility released its Maryland Disability Voter Guide. Fully one-out-of-five voters have a disability, and 52 percent of likely voters have a loved one with a disability. According to the latest census, 35 million Americans with disabilities are of voting age. This means that voters with disabilities are now one of the largest groups of potential voters (called voting blocs) in American politics. Some have called the disability vote the “Sleeping Giant” of American politics. This is because people with disabilities have not voted in the same numbers as most Americans. If people with disabilities register and vote at the same rate as the rest of the nation, between 5 and 10 million more votes will be cast in the next Presidential election! Make your voices heard & VOTE TODAY Marylanders!

By Sunrise Group on March 11, 2016

Florida’s Governor Scott Includes People With Disabilities To Make Florida First!

On Thursday, March 10, 2016, self-advocates and staff from Sunrise operations in Tallahassee made their way to the Capitol to award appreciation plaques to the Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House and other key legislative champions that worked to include Floridians of all abilities in this year’s record $8.2 Billion State Budget. Florida’s House and Senate put together a spending plan for this year that increases the state budget by roughly 5 percent. Sunrise was represented at the appreciation awards by self-advocates from UCP Tallahassee’s LifeLinks program, Jeremiah Johnson and Grant Williams. UCP LifeLinks Program Coordinator, Sarah Whittington, and Direct Support Associate, Shareka Frazier accompanied the self-advocates as they met with Florida’s legislative leaders to thank them for their support of people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

By Sunrise Group on March 8, 2016

Florida Legislative Leaders Protect Services for People With Disabilities

On behalf of The Sunrise Group, those we serve and their families from Homestead to Panama City, we extend our deepest gratitude to Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner and Speaker of the House Steve Crisafulli. Due to their personal commitment to include Floridians of all abilities, $9,687,008 for critical services were allocated from recurring General Revenue. This means that $25 million will be used to help ensure that people with intellectual and physical disabilities may access community based services in the most person-centered and cost-effective manner possible. This is great news for Florida’s tax-payers as well as families and loved ones of people with disabilities!

By Sunrise Group on February 19, 2016

Team Tally Takes on The Capitol!

#TeamTally is made up of self-advocates, Sunrise staff and executive leaders from UCP of Tallahassee. They were among hundreds of Floridians concerned about funding and services for people with developmental disabilities who descended on the state Capitol on Thursday, February 18th for the annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day. Advocates and allies were on hand to ask legislators to consider a two-point plan to address the funding crisis, the Wait List and access to care issues for Floridians with developmental disabilities. There was a noon press conference asking legislators, policy makers and others to correct the iBudget rate problems. The day was rewarding for attendees and educational for those working in the State Capitol. Great job #TeamTally!!

By Sunrise Group on February 11, 2016

UCP on the Potomac Treks To Annapolis for DD Day in Maryland

On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, UCP on the Potomac joined a group of 600 advocates and allies from the greater disabilities community in Annapolis for “DD Day” at the Capitol. 2016 marked yet another year with a standing room only crowd. Despite morning snowfall, hundreds of dedicated advocates engaged with leaders at the Capitol and shared legislative priorities. Represented by Gale Gray, this year marked UCP on the Potomac’s inaugural participation in the annual event which is sponsored by the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition. Just days after DD Day, the Maryland General Assembly’s Administrative, Executive & Legislative Review Committee (AELR) put a ‘hold’ on controversial proposed regulations impacting children and adults with developmental disabilities. Advocacy works! Our thanks to the Maryland General Assembly.

By Sunrise Group on January 13, 2016

What Does The Disability Integration Act Propose?

On December 18, 2015, U.S. Senator Charles Schmer (D-NY) filed S. 2427 before the 114th Congress. The Bill is known as the “Disability Integration Act of 2015.” Many are asking exactly what the proposal will do for people with disabilities. Basically, the bill would expand access to community living for millions of Americans. Known as the Disability Integration Act, the legislation would dramatically alter the status quo. Current law generally assures people with disabilities care in nursing homes and other institutional facilities if they need assistance with eating, bathing, housekeeping and other daily activities. Unfortunately, the availability of community-based services is often more limited and subject to long waiting lists. Schumer’s proposal would outlaw such waiting lists and prohibit caps on services as well as other measures like low pay that may restrict access to community living. Sunrise encourages everyone to ask their Congressmen to support this bill!