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Petitioning Attorney General of Colorado Cynthia Coffman and 3 others

Allow Sharisa Kochmeister due process and appropriate supports so she can live freely and not under government guardianship! #FreeSharisa

36 year-old Sharisa Kochmeister has a dual degree with honors from the University of Denver. She is a published journalist, and has served on the executive committee of several national organizations. But all of her pursuits are on hold now, since the government has just placed her in nursing care, against her will.

Ms. Kochmeister has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism, and communicates by typing on a computer with one finger. She was recently, and very suddenly, removed from the home she shares with her father. County officials assumed temporary guardianship over her when they saw what they believed to be an abusive interaction between her and her father, placed her in a nursing home, and barred her family, friends and even her doctor from visiting. In addition, they have only just recently provided Sharisa with the communication technologies she needs in order to have a meaningful say in the abuse investigation after months of imposed silence.

Would they be holding her against her will if she could talk? Please join us in calling on Jefferson County, CO to allow Sharisa access to an independent advocate she trusts, the devices and accomodations she needs to contact and choose her own legal representation, and the due process rights that she is entitled to, regardless of her disability.

As a renowned activist with the Autism Society of America, former president of Autcom, representative to the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council and manager of Voices and Choices of Autism, Sharisa has spent her life fighting for the rights of disabled peers and their families, dispelling the myths associated with non-speaking persons, and becoming a powerhouse in the disability rights community.

Now it is our turn to fight for her. Typing on a computer is how she communicates, but she only does so when her father or sister, who lives in New York, are next to her. Without access to these family members, she is silenced. What’s more, for months she wasn't even allowed access to the assistive technology she needs to communicate, so she was totally unable to assist in decisionmaking about her own life. While she has access now, she does not trust those who forcibly removed her from home to assist in advocating for the appropriate supports or keeping her best interests at heart.

Clearly, Jefferson County has decided that Sharisa's disability, and their right to hold power over her, trump Sharisa's rights, voice and self-determination. They should be an aid to, not a deterrent from, Sharisa’s ability to live and thrive. They should empower her to live freely and continue her life's advocacy work.

Please join the fight for rights for people living with disabilities, and sign this petition to secure Freedom for Sharisa.

See more on Sharisa's case at:

Sharisa's story: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_28533686/meyer-an-outrageous-human-services-case-jefferson-county

AWN Demands Colorado Respect Sharisa's Rights: http://autismwomensnetwork.org/awn-demands-that-colorado-respect-sharisa-kochmeisters-rights/

Diary of a Mom, To Prove That You Exist: http://lm.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fadiaryofamom.com%2F2015%2F07%2F29%2Fto-prove-that-you-exist%2F&h=ZAQEbIflE&s=1

The Loving Lampposts Documentary: http://lovinglamppostsmovie.com/

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? https://adata.org/learn-about-ada What is tIn Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581, 119 S.Ct. 2176 (1999) ("the Olmstead decision"),? http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/

 

This petition was delivered to:
  • Attorney General of Colorado
    Cynthia Coffman
  • Disability Law Colorado
  • Director or Executive Board
    Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council
  • Colorado Governor


Jocelyn Eastman started this petition with a single signature, and now has 5,725 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.




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