Wednesday, August 27, 2008

History Made in North Carolina General Assembly

As we had mentioned in our "Monday Quick Hits", legislators returned to Raleigh today to override Governor Easley's veto of House Bill 2167.  This is the first time that our General Assembly has successfully voted to override a governor's veto.  Read about this vote at WRAL.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Election 2008: We Are Blogging the Convention Coverage

Just a quick reminder....we are blogging both conventions this election year at The Arc of North Carolina Election 2008!

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse: Agenda

This committee will be meeting today at 10am in room 643 of the Legislative Office Building.  You can also listen on line by going to the General Assembly's website.

Todays Agenda:


1. Greetings and Introductions 10:00 – 10:15
Representative Verla Insko, Co-Chair
Senator Martin Nesbitt, Co-Chair

2. Review of 2008 Legislative Actions 10:15 – 10:30
LOC Staff

3. Community Support Services 10:30 – 11:00
a. Review of Related 2008 Session Actions
LOC Staff
b. DHHS Update
Tara Larson, Chief Clinical Operations Officer, Div. of Medical Assistance, DHHS

4. State Psychiatric Hospitals 11:00 – 11:45
a. Review of Related 2008 Session Actions
LOC Staff
b. DHHS Update
Dr. Mike Lancaster, Co-Director, Div. of MH/DD/SAS, DHHS

Lunch 11:45 – 12:45

5. LME Administration 12:45 – 1:15
a. Review of Related 2008 Session Actions
LOC Staff
b. DHHS Update
Leza Wainwright, Co-Director, Div. of MH/DD/SAS, DHHS

6. Crisis Services 1:15 – 1:45
a. Review of Related 2008 Session Actions
LOC Staff
b. DHHS Update
Leza Wainwright, Co-Director, Div. of MH/DD/SAS, DHHS

7. CAP-MR/DD Tiered Waivers 1:45 – 2:00
a. Review of Related 2008 Session Actions
LOC Staff
b. DHHS Update
Rose Burnette, Tiered Waiver Project Manager, Div. of MH/DD/SAS, DHHS

8. MH/DD/SA System Indicators 2:00 – 2:15
LOC Staff

9. Discussion of Committee Goals for Fall 2008 Interim 2:15 – 3:00
LOC Members

Adjourn 3:00

Monday, August 25, 2008

Election 2008: We Are Blogging the Coverage

Come visit our Election Website and follow us as we follow the convention in Denver.

Election 2008: Democratic and Republican Conventions

The Arc of North Carolina Policy Blog will be doing some live blogging during both the Democratic and Republican Conventions.  These live blogs will be on our election blog site, The Arc of North Carolina Election 2008.

Quick reminder: The Arc of North Carolina is a non-partisan organization.  We do not endorse any candidate or any party.  We do however encourage our membership and our community to vote. 

So tonight through the end of the Democratic National Convention visit our Election 2008 website for information on the party platform, what the speakers are saying, and how it will affect you.

NC Legislative Update: Upcoming Study on Eugenics

The Insider reported today that House Speaker Joe Hackney "is assembling a special panel of lawmakers to study compensating people sterilized as part of a state-sponsored eugenics program. The panel will study how much the state should pay those affected and how claims for compensation would be considered. Between 1929 and 1975, the program sterilized about 7,600 people who were considered mentally handicapped or genetically inferior. Most of the women sterilized in the 1960s were poor black women. It was the third largest program in the nation, behind those California and Virginia. The committee will report to the House by the end of the year. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/22/08)."

Current Legislative Background Information:

During the 2007 North Carolina Legislative Session, Representative Larry Womble introduced House Bill: 296 Sterilization Compensation Study.


This study bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to study
“a proposal to compensate persons who, as a result of the eugenic sterilization program were sterilized between the years of 1929 and 1975.” The study will also create a process for evaluating claims and study how to create an equitable compensation process. In addition the Department of Health and Human Services will be asked to study the cost of providing health care, counseling and education assistance that may be required to people affected by the forced sterilization laws of our state.

House Bill 296 pass the House with a vote of 104 Aye to 0 nays with 8 legislators not voting due to excused absence.

Historical Background Information:

In North Carolina 7,600 people were forcibly sterilized between 1929 and 1970’s. Many of those who were sterilized were young adults and teens with intellectual disabilities or mental illness. Many of the young women sterilized during the 1960’s were black women and girls.

North Carolina’s sterilization laws were repealed in July of 2003. At that time Governor Mike Easley apologized on behalf of the state for this practice.

Throughout the United States over 60,000 Americans were legally sterilized against their will during the 20th century.

“North Carolina Assembly Strikes Sterilization Law”, By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express -July 22, 2003

Dispatch from the GA: Governor Easley Calls Them Back to Raleigh

This afternoon Governor Mike Easley has delivered a Proclamation of Reconvened Session.  The Session will convene on Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 11:00 a.m.

The General Assembly will only be directed to take up the vote to override the Governor's veto of House Bill 2167 - Towing of Recreational Boats/Exemption.

This bill would have permitted recreational boat owners to tow boats that are 9 1/2 feet in width without a special permit.  It session did not re-convene then the bill would have become law without an override.

Election 2008: Democrats Head to Denver

Democrats are gathering in Denver to begin the Democratic National Convention.  The convention will run from August 25th through the 28th. 

On Saturday, Senator Barack Obama (the presumptive Presidential candidate for the Democrats) announced his choice for Vice President running mate, Senator Joe Biden.

You can get wall to wall coverage of the convention on C-SPAN.  Other coverage can be found on MSNBC and CNN.

(Republican National Convention is in Minneapolis St. Paul - September 1st through 4th)


Monday Quick Hits: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina

Veto Override?
Rumors continue that the General Assembly will head back fro a Special Session to override the Governor’s veto of House Bill 2167 –Towing of Recreational Boats Exemption.

MH,DD,SA-Committee Meetings Start Again
The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse holds its first meeting this Tuesday at 10am in room 643 of the Legislative Office Building.

This first meeting will be held at a time when there is new public and media focus on the handling of the transition to community services for people with mental illness and the treatment of patients at our state hospitals.

Last week the Legislative Program Evaluation committee issued its report on the start up and management of community support. Read the report.

On the heels of this report, major media outlets began reporting on the death of a patient at Cherry Hospital.

It is probably safe to assume that both of these issues will be addressed at some point during this meeting or next months meeting.

General Assembly Meetings of Interest:

Monday, Aug. 25
10 a.m. | The Child Fatality Taskforce - Intentional Death Committee meets, 1228/1327 LB.

Tuesday, Aug. 26
10 a.m. | The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse meets, 643 LOB.

3 p.m. | The House Select Committee on a Comprehensive Rail Service Plan for North Carolina meets, 1228/1327 LB.

Thursday, Aug. 28
10 a.m. | The Subcommittee on Autism - Alternative Means of Testimony meets, 1228/1327 LB.


National

Congress remains on break.  


Friday, August 22, 2008

What does The Arc stand for????

This week a person posted this comment as a reply to the article regarding “Tropic Thunder”.

“We have to remind ourselves. What does ARC stand for? Association of Retarded Citizens. Until you change that name you have no excuse to complain.” - Anonymous
August 20, 2008 4:45 PM


First let me thank our reader for posting their point of view on this blog. Now let me clear up the history of our national name change from ARC to The Arc.

It is true that ARC did stand for the Association of Retarded Citizens. However, fifteen years ago on the floor of our national convention self-advocates stood up and voiced their strong opposition to the word “retarded”. The membership of this national non-profit heard them loud and clear and voted to remove the “R-word” from the title of the organization. We became “The Arc”. "The Arc" is not an acronym.

Our values and our mission remain the same. We work with and for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. We are a strong national membership organization that promotes the inherent worth and dignity of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. We are a democratic organization that believes in the learning from our members and listening to their concerns and vision for a strong future.

We as a national non-profit recognized the negative and demeaning effects of the “R-word” when we removed it from our name.  This is why we at The Arc are advocating against the use of the “R-word” in films like “Tropic Thunder”. It is why we advocate so diligently counteracting the negative stereotypes of people with disabilities in this film and in media.
We ask you to help us in our efforts to end the use of “R-word”. Sign the petition today.




Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Movie uses humiliating stereotypes

BY GAYLE BUTZGY
You’ve heard the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me.” Ask an 11-year-old girl walking into a new classroom or an 8-year-old boy waiting for his turn in gym what they think. They may have a much different opinion.
There’s a word in the newly released movie “Tropic Thunder” that has hurt, angered and stunned people with intellectual disabilities and those who know, love and work with them.

The R-word (retard) has long been a harsh reminder of the ridicule and negative stigma directed toward people with intellectual disabilities. The word is used 17 times in a barrage of insults in the movie “Tropic Thunder.”

The Arc of North Carolina, Special Olympics North Carolina and their affiliates across the state have joined together to speak out against the DreamWorks film because the film features the prominent use of the R-word and portrays people with intellectual disabilities in a disparaging way. When Regenia Sanders heard an audio clip from the movie, she was speechless. All she could think was “Oh my gosh.” What really astounded her was the way the actors kept layering and layering more ridicule on top of what was already being said.

Regenia and her family, including daughter Theara, moved to Cary in 1992 as part of the vast migration of IBM employees and their families to the Triangle.

Theara Sanders has been a Special Olympian since she was 8 years old. In fact, she won her first gold medal in shot put. Now 24, Theara sticks mostly to tennis.

Regenia Sanders knows “Tropic Thunder” is supposed to be a comedy and she has a sense of humor. But there’s a big difference between comedy and ridicule, she said.

“I think sometimes people take the easy road when they are trying to make a buck. It was overplayed. I didn’t see any redeeming value to it. I hope people can become more sensitive.”

Considering the fact that individuals with intellectual disabilities are four to 10 times more likely to be victims of crime than people without disabilities, there’s much work to be done to prevent abuse — including emotional abuse and bullying.

Karen Stallings, who has cerebral palsy, is the executive director of N.C. Self Advocates Association. The association trains people to become their own advocates and to establish groups in their communities.

Stallings attended a prescreening of “Tropic Thunder” with friends and colleagues and felt the movie used the stereotypes and clich├ęs from films in the 1950s.

Karen said the movie not only demeans people with intellectual disabilities but demeans the actors themselves. She likes Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. and thinks they are great actors. But this time they blew it.

She feels Ben Stiller didn’t do his research. If he had, he would have found that people want and deserve respect and want to give back to their community. It frustrates her because it shows that people don’t want to know people with disabilities.

In the end, this is not a matter of promoting political correctness. It isn’t about free speech and the First Amendment. It’s about whether we choose to label and humiliate people because they look, act or speak differently than we do.

The Arc of North Carolina is an affiliated chapter of The Arc of the United States. Visit arcnc.org to learn more about how The Arc of North Carolina serves children and adults with developmental disabilities and advocates for their rights.


Gayle Butzgy writes on behalf of Arc of North Carolina and Special Olympics North Carolina.


Thanks to Cary News for running this article.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Representative Verla Insko Speaks Out Against "Tropic Thunder"

On August 17, 2008 Representative Verla Insko wrote the following letter to the editor in reaction to the release of the movie "Tropic Thunder".  We appreciate the action taken by Representative Insko in supporting our state and national efforts to educate people on the negative images portrayed in this film.


A Demeaning Movie

In the Aug. 13 edition of The N&O, staff writer Craig Lindsey characterized the movie "Tropic Thunder" as a must-see summer comedy. Yet the movie makes heavy use of the derogatory R-word, "retard." It also portrays people with intellectual disabilities as lesser people. The R-word is not funny. It is not OK to ridicule this wonderfully diverse and individually gifted population that is increasingly mainstreamed into our lives.
Lindsey went on to say that the movie "could have so turned sour if the slightest hint of racist stereotyping revealed itself," but he seemed innocently unaware of the demeaning, dehumanizing effect of the R-word -- a word all of us heard as pre-teens on the playground and a word that is increasingly used today to put down and shame anyone who does not measure up.
The producers, actors and critics associated with this movie know better.
I join Special Olympics of North Carolina and the Arc of North Carolina in their efforts to eliminate the use of the R-word in today's society. Please go to www.r-word.org and pledge not to use this word. It is not funny.

Rep. Verla Insko
Chair, Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services


Published August 17, 2008 – News and Observer Letters to the Editor.








News and Observer Letters to the Editor

Monday, August 18, 2008

Important Meeting Notice: Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee

AGENDA
The Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee will be meting on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 from 9:30 AM until Noon.
The meeting will be held in room 544 Legislative Office Building.


1. Remarks by Co-Chairs

2. Approval of May 8, 2008 Minutes

3. Program Evaluation Division project status
a. Presentation by John Turcotte, Director of Program Evaluation Division

4. Committee discussion of review of State Personnel System

5. Program Evaluation Division report Compromised Controls and Pace of Change Hampered Implementation of Enhanced Mental Health Services, July 1, 2008
a. Presentation by Yana Samberg, Senior Program Evaluator
b. Remarks by agency representative
c. Committee questions and discussion

Joint Legislative Oversight Committee Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse: Agenda

The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse will have their first meeting on Tuesday, August 26, 2008. It will be held in room 643 of the Legislative Office Building and will begin at 10:00am. This meeting is open to the public. If you are unable to attend the meeting you can listen on line by connecting to the audio services offered at the North Carolina Legislative website.


Here is the proposed agenda:

1. Greetings and Introductions 10:00 – 10:15
Representative Verla Insko, Co-Chair
Senator Martin Nesbitt, Co-Chair

2. Review of 2008 Legislative Actions 10:15 – 10:30
LOC Staff

3. Community Support Services 10:30 – 11:00
a. Review of Related 2008 Session Actions
LOC Staff
b. DHHS Update
Tara Larson, Chief Clinical Operations Officer, Div. of Medical Assistance, DHHS

4. State Psychiatric Hospitals 11:00 – 11:45
a. Review of Related 2008 Session Actions
LOC Staff
b. DHHS Update
Dr. Mike Lancaster, Co-Director, Div. of MH/DD/SAS, DHHS

Lunch 11:45 – 12:45

5. LME Administration 12:45 – 1:15
a. Review of Related 2008 Session Actions
LOC Staff
b. DHHS Update
Leza Wainwright, Co-Director, Div. of MH/DD/SAS, DHHS

6. Crisis Services 1:15 – 1:45
a. Review of Related 2008 Session Actions
LOC Staff
b. DHHS Update
Leza Wainwright, Co-Director, Div. of MH/DD/SAS, DHHS

7. CAP-MR/DD Tiered Waivers 1:45 – 2:00
a. Review of Related 2008 Session Actions
LOC Staff
b. DHHS Update
Rose Burnette, Tiered Waiver Project Manager, Div. of MH/DD/SAS, DHHS

8. MH/DD/SA System Indicators 2:00 – 2:15
LOC Staff

9. Discussion of Committee Goals for Fall 2008 Interim 2:15 – 3:00
LOC Members

Adjourn 3:00

Monday Quick Hits: Hot Policy Topics for This Week

North Carolina:

Short session may be over but the General Assembly will once again be hopping with policy discussions as interim committees begin to meet. This week will see two different transportation committees be seated to discuss what is the best way to deal with transit in our growing state. One will look specifically at comprehensive rail options. The other will be a continuation of the 21st Century Transportation Committee.
Today we will also see the start up of the Child Fatality Task force for this interim break.
Next week the first Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse Joint Legislative Oversight Committee will meet. (See additional post for agenda.)

Monday, Aug. 18
10 a.m. | The Child Fatality Task Force - Perinatal Health Committee meets, 1228 LB.

Tuesday, Aug. 19
10 a.m. | The Select Committee on Comprehensive Rail Service Plan / Subcommittee on Railroad Corridor Management meets, 1425 LB.

Wednesday, Aug. 20
9:30 a.m. | The Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee meets, 544 LOB.

Thursday, Aug. 21

10 a.m. | The 21st Century Transportation Committee meets, 643 LOB.

1 p.m. | The House Study Committee on Unbanked and Underbanked Consumers meets, 1228 LB.

Friday, Aug. 22
10 a.m. | The Lottery Oversight Committee meets, 421 LOB.

National:

Congress is still on break. When they return we expect to see continued movement on the ADA Restoration Act.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The R-Word Isn't Just Hurtful, It's Hate Speech.

WHAT IS HATE SPEECH?
Hate speech occurs when a majority group freely makes jokes about a minority group including negative stereotypes and negative images, not just language. It is commonly seen as harmless by the majority, but it sets the stage for more severe outlets for prejudice, harm and abuse.

PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL AND INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES ARE AT GREATER RISK OF VIOLENCE.

- 1 in 3 children with disabilities are victims of some form of abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect. (Sullivan & Knutson, 2000).

- Individuals with developmental disabilities are 4 to 10 more times more likely to be victims of a crime than people without disabilities (Sobsey, et al., 1995).

- Children with developmental disabilities are at twice the risk of physical and sexual abuse compared to children without disabilities (Crosse et. al., 1993).

PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL AND INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES ARE DISENFRANCHISED FROM JUSTICE.

- Many people with intellectual disabilities are not able to articulate the abuse they’ve sustained.

- Many victims with intellectual disabilities are not perceived as credible witnesses.

- Abuse often occurs as part of name calling, bullying, hazing, or other targeted attacks based on disability status. THIS IS A HATE CRIME.

ENDING THE USE OF THE R-WORD IS MORE THAN A “POLITICALLY CORRECT” NOTION.

- “Retard”, “retarded”, “idiot”, “imbecile”, and “moron” are derogatory and dehumanizing terms– on par with the N-word when used to describe African Americans, and various hateful terms used to describe members of the Jewish, gay and lesbian and other minority communities.

- Self-advocates with intellectual disability have clearly stated that negative language leads to harmful action, discrimination, abuse, negative stereotypes, disenfranchisement, and violence.
SHOULDN’T PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES JUST LIGHTEN UP?
IT’S A JOKE!

- NO! People with intellectual disabilities have a history of institutionalization, genocide, forced sterilization, segregation, and being regarded as ‘less than human.’

- More than any other group, they experience record unemployment, significant physical, mental and sexual abuse, and limited rights.

- This discrimination and victimization continues, in large part, due to antiquated, discriminatory portrayals in the media and pervasive prejudice.


WHAT’S FUNNY ABOUT THAT?

Take Action Today!! Help Stop the Negative and Hurtful Portrayal of People with Disabilities.

Today was the national release of the Ben Stiller film "Tropic Thunder". This film portrays people with intellectual disabilities in an extremely negative manner. We at The Arc of North Carolina are launching an educational campaign to counteract the portrayal of these negative stereotypes.

Here is how you can help....

1. Read more about our state and national efforts: Visit The Arc of North Carolina website and The Arc of the United States website.

2. If you have a Facebook account join the Tropic Blunder, Stop The Thunder page.

3. Sign the petition to Stop the R-word.

4. Contact your local movie theatre manager and ask them if you can hand out information regarding why the "R-Word" is hate speech.

5. Post your feelings about the movie "Tropic Thunder" on this blog!

6. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper.

We encourage you to take action today!!

Help Stop the Negative and Hurtful Portrayal of People with Disabilities!

Special Olympics North Carolina, The Arc of North Carolina and its affiliates across the state have joined together to speak out against DreamWorks' new film, "Tropic Thunder." The film features the prominent use of the R-word (retard) and portrays people with intellectual disabilities in a disparaging way.

The way a society refers to people with disabilities shapes its beliefs about and responses to them. The R-word has long been a harsh reminder of the ridicule and negative stigma directed toward people with intellectual disabilities, yet the word is becoming increasingly popular in today's culture. Although it is often not directed at a person with intellectual disability, it is used in a negative fashion, to demean or highlight someone's lack of ability - a direct reflection on what people view as the capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities.

"This is not a matter of promoting political correctness," said The Arc of NC Executive Director Dave Richard. "This film's depiction of people with intellectual disabilities is derogatory and demeaning. It does incredible damage to people with intellectual disability."

"Labeling and humiliating others is unacceptable in this day and age," said Keith L. Fishburne, Special Olympics North Carolina president/CEO. " I am calling on the people of North Carolina to be a fan of dignity -- stop using the R-word and do not support this extremely offensive film."

"This film also furthers the negative stereotypes that our state leadership has worked hard against through numerous legislative initiatives," said Richard.
"The leadership of the North Carolina General Assembly worked diligently this session to pass a budget and laws that positively affect people with intellectual and other disabilities."

To counter the film, The Arc of North Carolina is initiating a campaign to educate people about the negative consequences of inappropriate language about and towards people with disabilities. Chapters throughout the state will join the state office's efforts to promote people-first language that affirms the dignity of people with disabilities, fosters positive attitudes and paves the way for more inclusive communities.

Please visit The Arc of North Carolina's website for more information about this hurtful film. Make sure you watch the short video about RESPECT and read the materials about people-first language and Hate Speech.

Thank you for helping us promote respect for people with disabilities and their families.