Disabled Rights: American Disability Policy and the Fight for Equality

Disabled Rights: American Disability Policy and the Fight for Equality

Disabled Rights: American Disability Policy and the Fight for Equality

Disabled Rights: American Disability Policy and the Fight for Equality

Synopsis

"Freedom and Justice for all" is a phrase that can have a hollow ring for many members of the disability community in the United States. Jacqueline Vaughn Switzer gives us a comprehensive introduction to and overview of U. S. disability policy in all facets of society, including education, the workplace, and social integration.

Excerpt

The twenty-first century began with a series of contrasting events that illustrate both the salience of issues involving persons with disabilities and the continuing saga of discrimination that affects untold millions of Americans.

In March 2000, the Sixth District Court of Appeals overturned on a technicality the misdemeanor conviction of Kelly Dillery, who had been arrested in Sandusky, Ohio, in 1998 on a charge of being a pedestrian in a roadway. Dillery, who uses a motorized wheelchair because she has muscular dystrophy, used her wheelchair in the city's street because she said the sidewalks were raised or broken and therefore were inaccessible to her. She was charged four times in less than a year for her actions—once for child endangering because she carried her daughter on her lap (a first-degree misdemeanor for which she was later acquitted). During interviews, Dillery indicated that her daughter had learned to assist her—jumping off the wheelchair to pull her mother out of potholes in Sandusky's roadways.

The Dillery case became a cause celebre for disability rights activists. One advocacy specialist called her “our Rosa Parks” (referring to the black woman who symbolized the civil rights movement). In a rally outside Sandusky's City Hall, protestors braved near-freezing temperatures to shout, “Access is a civil right.” “Her cause is all our cause,” said one Ohio supporter.

In May 2000, actor Clint Eastwood faced a showdown that was a far cry from the battles that characterize his film and television career. The former . . .

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