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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Prayer For Sue Marsh, British Disability Campaigner, Who Is In Hospital

May the One who was a source of blessing for our ancestors, bring blessings of healing upon Sue Marsh, a healing of body and a healing of spirit. May those in whose care she is entrusted, be gifted with wisdom and skill, and those who surround her, be gifted with love and trust, openness and support in her care. And may she be healed along with all those who are in need. Blessed are You, Source of healing. Amen.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Turns Out That British Conservative MP Philip Davies, Who Tore Strip Off The UN, Is A Hypocrite

The Daily Mail's hatchet job on the UN ( includes this comment from Tory MP Philip Davies:

‘These people at the UN are idiots, frankly. There’s no other way to describe them.

‘This country has led the way in the support and rights that we give to disabled people – such as through the Disability Discrimination Act which was passed by a Conservative government in 1995.

‘If the UN drew up a list of countries in the world showing how much they gave to disabled people they would find the UK was the highest in the world.

‘They are exposing the UN for the completely useless organisation that it is.’

It can be revealed that Conservative MP Philip Davies sparked controversy in 2011 when he suggested that people with disabilities should be paid less than the minimum wage.

Tory MP Philip Davies: disabled people could work for less pay | Society | The Guardian

As for his assertion that Britain "has led the way in the support and rights that we give to disabled people", it doesn't pass the smell test.  Here's just one example:

Tens of thousands of sick and disabled patients face YEAR-long wait for cash help - Mirror Online

Disabled people in Britain will lose their independence, jobs, and Motability vehicles because of failure to quality for Personal Independence Payments (PIP). Hundreds of thousands of lives will tragically be destroyed.

The government has admitted that, at minimum, 400,000 disabled claimants will not qualify for PIP. Moreover, claimants who can walk more than 20 metres (65ft) will no longer be entitled to the £56.75 enhanced weekly mobility allowance and could be offered the standard rate of just £21.55. If they depend on PIP for paying bills and basics, how will they survive on such a meager benefit?

Working for disability equality in Higher Education - the global perspective July, 20-24, 2015 - Manchester, UK.

Working for disability equality in Higher Education - the global perspective
                                           July, 20-24, 2015 - Manchester, UK.

                                                     Proposals due 10/31/2014.

NADP-UK International Conference 2015

The National Association of Disability Practitioners International Conference –‘Working for disability equality in Higher Education – the global perspective’ will be taking place in Manchester from 20th – 24th July 2015.  It is supported by the University of Manchester Directorate for the Student Experience and Disability Support Office and will provide a global perspective, focusing on disabled student support from pre-entry to University or College onto successful transition into employment.

Support systems and services around the world are often recognized as being of a high quality, however, there is still much to learn and develop.  This conference will enable delegates from the global community to come together and share knowledge, practical skills and good practice in the provision of support for disabled students

We are delighted that Scott Lissner (AHEAD and The Ohio State University), Ann Heelan (AHEAD Ireland) and Nicole Ofeish (Independent Learning Consultant and Stanford University) have agreed to give keynote presentations at the conference.

Please go to the International Conference tab for information about submitting an abstract for consideration.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Anthology on Autism and Race (by autistic people of color)

Hello everyone,

I'm collaborating with the Autism Women's Network to edit a new anthology
on autism and race to be written entirely by autistic people of color. The
vast majority of literature about autism, whether written by autistics or
non-autistics, largely excludes the voices and experiences of autistic
people of color, and we're hoping to change that conversation. You can read
more about the history and vision for this project (and watch/listen to our
captioned and transcribed intro video) at our fundraiser page

Right now, we are fundraising on IndieGoGo
<> to cover the
costs of printing and publication, since AWN is a tiny nonprofit with a
small budget, and we'd like to produce the anthology independent of any
corporate publishing house. The costs will go toward publishing the
anthology in a variety of formats so it will be as accessible as possible
-- large print, standard print, Braille, e-book formats, etc. We have a
total projected budget of $10,000 to cover all associated costs, and in the
first week of the fundraiser, have raised the first $1,000, but need to
find the rest in the next four weeks. If you can donate anything, or know
anyone else who might be able and willing, it would be awesome to pass on
the link.

We have also published the submission guidelines for the anthology
<>, so please share
far and wide. We're especially hoping that autistic people of color who
live *outside *the United States will submit since much literature focuses
only on U.S. perspectives. We're also particularly interested in centering
people who are Black, queer, trans*, chronically ill, poor, migrant, young,
mad, or multiply-disabled. We welcome artists and activists, as well as
scholars. The submission deadline is November 15th.

Thank you so much for any help on either front, and I'm looking forward to
reading any submissions!

*Lydia Brown*
+1 202-618-0187 (voice or text)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I will be submitting a UN inquiry request into Britain's benefit-sanctioning regime, and I need your assistance

Ahead of the September meeting of the Human Rights Council (see third paragraph of, I will shortly submit an inquiry request to the CRPD and Human Rights Council, petitioning them to open an investigation into Britain's benefit-sanctioning regime. (At the request of Jorge Araya, UNCRPD Secretary, I am completing a bibliography of media articles on this subject, with particular focus on inappropriate sanctions.) You may already know my views on this matter:

My bibliographic assignment for the UNCRPD Secretary might be an indication that the UN has already opened an investigation into Britain's benefit-sanctioning regime, but for the sake of certainty I'll make that request myself.

In my opinion, there's enough compelling evidence (especially from MPs and the Work & Pensions Committee) to persuade the UN to open an investigation into Britain's benefit-sanctioning regime. (See, for instance:

 1) Stitching-up claimants is all part of the job, says Jobcentre insider - Ros Wynne Jones - Mirror Online

2) Former DWP Staff Set Up Website To Help Wrongly Sanctioned Jobseekers

3) MPs 'Lying' About Benefit Sanction Targets, Says Whistleblower

4) A selection of especially stupid benefit sanctions

5) Press release from Sheila Gilmore MP: Work and Pensions Committee member slams overuse of benefits sanctions

6) DWP target mental health claimants for ESA sanctions

But there are a couple of caveats. The first, as Jorge Araya, Secretary of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, points out: "Please be aware that most if not all of the human rights mechanisms cannot base their findings and recommendations solely on media reports."

The second is that the UN lacks the statutory power to enforce the UNCRPD, although legally bound signatories to this international law usually comply with its judgements. (In many countries, the UNCRPD becomes domestically operational when it is made part of a national legislation.)

I am looking for any news articles, Hansard transcripts, reports and studies, videos, Parliamentary debates, personal testimonies and correspondence (permissions may have to be obtained) which pertain to or mention benefit-sanctioning and inappropriate benefit-sanctioning.  My e-mail address is:

Thanking you in advance for any assistance.

Samuel Miller

Thursday, August 7, 2014

An Inopportune Time

From my perspective, this is an inopportune time: UK Parliament is in summer recess; Navi Pillay completes her term as High Commissioner for Human Rights; and, Prince Zeid, who is currently Jordan's U.N. ambassador, begins his four-year term as U.N. human rights chief on September 1.  He will become the first U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights from the Muslim and Arab world and may be preoccupied with the Middle East conflict and its aftermath, in addition to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

New "poverty" UN special rapporteurs have been appointed, and I will have to spend time familiarizing them with U.K.'s draconian welfare reforms, especially their harsh and punitive impact on sick and disabled people.

The UN special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities will be appointed by the Human Rights Council, in September.  A 22-page letter, pointing out that cuts to social security benefits introduced by Iain Duncan Smith and enforced by his Department for Work and Pensions on behalf of the Coalition government may constitute a breach of the UK’s international treaty obligations to the poor, will also be discussed at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in New York, in September. It is signed by Raquel Rolnik, the former UN special rapporteur on adequate housing; Magdalena SepĂșlveda Carmona, the former UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty; and Olivier De Schutter, the former UN special rapporteur on the right to food.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Matilda Ziegler Magazine, once described by Helen Keller as a "godsend," ceases publication

I thought that some of you would want to mark the snuffing-out of a candle for blind culture. I'm very disappointed by this loss of a venue that has published writings by blind people. I'm even more disappointed that it wasn't for lack of funds, but because of the choice to focus on medical research instead.

Letter below.


July 25, 2014

As you are aware the Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind has been suspended for the past several months pending a review by the Board of Directors of The E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation for the Blind. Considerable time was spent evaluating its substance, breadth of distribution, and readers' responses. With heavy heart the directors voted to discontinue the weekly magazine and use the Foundation's resources solely for scientific research through grants to highly innovative medical researchers who are making important advances in vision research.

We've come a long way from when my great grandmother, Electa Matilda Ziegler, founded the magazine in 1907 with the goal of producing reading material for the blind "as much as possible like that published for the seeing." Raised type books of the era were expensive, and the freely circulated magazine helped to fill an information void.

Today's blind and those with visual impairment can obtain books and magazines in Braille, on cassette, and in DVD or CD format from the National Library Service and the American Foundation for the Blind. Radio, television, internet, and commercially produced audio books have all become accessible, and provide resources that could not have been imagined in 1907.

Your emails and letters show that we've touched the lives of thousands of blind and vision impaired people. The Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind was once described by Helen Keller as a "godsend," and Mark Twain described it as "one of the noblest benefactions of his lifetime." We hope to realize a medical breakthrough that will be worthy of the same praise.

On behalf of the E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation Board I sincerely thank you for your loyal readership over our many years.

Cynthia Ziegler Brighton