"Newsletter – April 2006" table of contents
NEWSLETTER UPDATE – APRIL, 2006
FROM PHYLLIS F. RESNICK, PRESIDENT
HELLO, AGAIN, EVERYBODY!!!!!
It has now been six months since our last newsletter and we have several cases and other items of interest to report. Many of our larger cases, such as those involving hospitals and municipalities, are proceeding, but of course, as we are sure you can understand, those types of cases take a very, very long time to come to conclusion; more on those later in this newsletter. As you will see further along herein, where we acknowledge the achievements of other disability advocacy groups, the passage of several years from the inception of a case to its conclusion is not unique to “Access Now, Inc.” It is just the nature of litigation.
However, we at “Access Now” take pride in the fact that we do not limit our efforts to the high profile cases of first impression, but do, in fact, become involved in many, many small cases which have a great impact on the daily lives of members of the disabled community. Entities such as grocery stores, hotels, motels, restaurants, shops, gas stations and the like continue to fail to comply with the A.D.A. (Americans With Disabilities Act), despite the fact that the law was enacted in 1990. Therefore, we continue to receive complaints daily from disabled persons who are routinely being denied their rights under this civil rights law. Some of those about which we have undertaken litigation and which have been settled will be detailed later in this newsletter.
AS AN INTRODUCTION TO OUR WORK, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NEW TO US, WE WOULD LIKE TO BEGIN WITH THE FOLLOWING LETTERS SENT BY MEMBERS. I THINK THEY SHOW THAT WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE:
November 30, 2005
Thank you ACCESS NOW and especially to all the attorneys who have worked on improving accessibility for everyone at the Helen Keller Birthplace in Tuscumbia, AL.
It was a shame that it took legal action to finally get access for everyone at the birthplace of one of our most famous activists of all times. This case was dear to my heart because I come from a family with Deaf/Blindness. In fact, I resided only 2 blocks from the birthplace, which is located in the historic district of Tuscumbia. Shortly after moving to Tuscumbia my Deaf/Blind Mother crossed over and I was able to hold her CELEBRATION OF LIFE on the beautiful grounds of the Helen Keller Birthplace. What a fitting tribute to my Mom, Evelyn deVolpi, my Uncle Joseph Del Signore & Helen Keller. I am sure they all are smiling and approving the new changes.
Since I use a wheelchair, the changes really affect my ability to be a part of this memorable historic site. Just knowing that other disabled will share equal access at this site for all time and be able to enjoy the legacy of Helen Keller gives me the greatest joy ever.
What is sad though is that there are still people who do not understand the action that had to be taken to accomplish this accessibility. I would like to thank all of those people who did support the action to see that modifications occurred so EVERYONE can enjoy the birthplace.
Betty L. Ingram
FROM: JAMES LAWSON
TO: GREG SCHWARTZ
DATE: JAN. 31, 2006
SUBJECT: OKLAHOMA STATE FAIR CASE
Good Morning Greg,
I want to convey my most sincere thanks to you and your staff for your efforts on my behalf in the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds case. I am very pleased with the outcome. That case, in my opinion, has done more to end discrimination against people with disabilities in Oklahoma than anything else has in the 15 years since the ADA was passed. I believe that there is a genuine change in attitude toward the ADA within the City of Oklahoma City.
Stephan and Steve both did an excellent job. Stephan established an excellent non-adversarial working relationship with the City Attorney, Tina Hughes. Steve Mason did a thorough and accurate survey of a very big, very non-compliant facility. In fact there were only a few small differences between Steve’s report and the report that their expert prepared. I think that the fact that Oklahoma City’s expert supported virtually all of Steve’s findings was a key to the successful outcome of this case.
Again my most sincere thanks to all involved in this case.