A new Raw Deal for the needy

Submitted by Jerry Halberstadt on Sat, 05/18/2013 - 01:52

The federal sequester is a cruel weapon: a raw deal that is part of an effort to undo the heritage of the New Deal and the safety net. It is striking home and eliminating programs that are essential to the needs and rights of the elderly, the poor, children, and the disabled. Today I learned about the end of an excellent advocacy program for the disabled.

Finding support for the Stop Bullying Coalition has not been easy, but Jonathan Gale and members of the Cross Disabilities Advocacy Coalition (CDAC) have been beacons of hope. We are working together to advocate for bills that impact people living with disability, including our S604 on bullying.

Unfortunately, due to the federal sequester, the CDAC work will end on June 30. From inception less than two years ago, the CDAC has grown to over 60 organization partners and more than 200 individuals and represents a wide range of disabilities. The CDAC, part of the Disability Law Center, received funding from a generous grant from the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities. The sequester threatens to silence an important voice for the disabled.

Our efforts to stop bullying will continue despite the challenges that face groups that advocate for those who most need help from society. Groups that advocate for the elderly, the disabled, or any other disenfranchised group are having financial difficulties. And of course, established advocacy groups have meaningful existing goals and priorities that may not leave time or energy for our new cause. But it is heartening to work with people who have the courage to fight for their right—elders who have been bullied, and people in the disability community who fully understand through experience the frustrations of meeting prejudice and hostility.

The Disability Law Center (DLC) is the Protection and Advocacy agency for Massachusetts. DLC is a private, non-profit organization responsible for providing protection and advocacy for the rights of Massachusetts residents with disabilities. DLC receives federal, state and private funding but is not part of the state or federal government.