Posted in Accesibility for People with disabilities, Baseball, disability civil rights, Disability sterotypes, Jim abbott

Avoiding Discrimination is a Proud Part of America’s National Pastime.

Even though Jim Abbott was born without a right hand, he won a gold medal for the 1988 U.S. Olympic baseball team and threw a no- hitter for the New York Yankees. Curtis Pride and Pete Gray, both outfielders, are deaf. And John Lester and Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs and cancer survivors, recently presented their long-suffering  fans with a World Series title.

They and other baseball players with disabilities were honored in 2015 by Topps Baseball Cards. In commemoration  of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Topps launched a series of baseball cards honoring players with disabilities.

“People with disabilities are often looked at for what they can’t do instead of being appreciated for what they can do…Imagine if a child or the parent of a child with a disability, by simply opening a pack of baseball cards, discovers that one or their heroes was legally blind or deaf or has battled cancer? They should truly feel empowered and encouraged,” said the Cubs’ medical director Mark O’Neal.

And just a few days ago, the Kansas City Royals signed the first baseball player with autism.

Baseball has a long and proud history of being among the first American institutions to break civil rights barriers. They did it with Jackie Robinson and other racial minorities, and they have also done it with players with disabilities.

Of course,  baseball is dimished if people can’t watch it. So in my next post, I’ll talk about the progress made in allowing spectators with disabilities into baseball games.


See the two USA Today articles below (as well as Joe Shapiro’s facebook page) for more information.

https://www.royalsreview.com/2018/4/2/17190224/royals-sign-player-believed-to-be-first-professional-baseball-player-with-autism

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2015/10/21/topps-to-feature-cards-of-players-who-overcame-disabilities-pride–perseverance/74314206/

 

Posted in Accesibility for People with disabilities, Americans with disabilities reform act, disability civil rights

A Potentially Huge Setback for the Americans with Disabilities Act

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Let’s say that you keep some valuable jewelry  in a public storage facility, and you need to retrieve it for your niece’s upcoming wedding. The facility has only one entrance and you need to use stairs to get inside. But when you get there, you see that some of the stairs have rotted through and it’s not safe to use them. You’ve called the manager and left voice-mail messages, but she has not returned your calls.

An obvious option is to file a lawsuit against the owner. After all, the wedding is fast approaching and the owner is not fulfilling her obligations to you.

But let’s say you then discover that a new law has just been passed, requiring that before you file a lawsuit, you first have to notify the owner (in writing) that there is a defect in her stairway.  You must also identify how the owner has violated the law, and then give her six months to work on the problem.

I deliberately said, “work on” instead of “fix” because this imaginary new law also says that you can only demand that the owner make “substantial progress” in fixing the stairs – not that she has to have actually fixed them.

What kind of an insane law would that be? You would be up in arms and so would everyone else who stores property in that facility. How dare Congress put these kinds of restrictions on your right to sue when you believe you have been wronged?

Yet there is a bill, currently making its way through Congress, that would require substantially the same thing for people with disabilities.  It is House Bill, 620, the “Americans with Disabilities Reform Act of 2017.”

This proposed law would require that if people with disabilities are unable to access public facilities because they have not installed the accommodations required by law, they can no longer immediately file a lawsuit. Rather, they have to take the steps outlined in the example above.

So for them, there is nothing hypothetical about it. Please contact your representatives and ask them to oppose this nightmarish law.

See the link below:

https://www.aclu.org/blog/disability-rights/house-members-are-pushing-bill-will-roll-back-rights-people-disabilities

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