Petition to UCLA, Chancellor Gene D. Block
UCLA: Stop endangering us; let disabled Bruins learn remotely!
The Disabled Student Union, Teaching Assistants, and students/student-workers of UCLA have the following demands: All in-person lectures be live-streamed with students having the choice to go in person or attend the live-stream Not mandating in-person attendance for students and teaching assistants Providing recordings of classes for students with the modified attendance accommodation and for students with COVID-19 Ensuring closed captioning (not auto-captioning) is accessible for all recording and live-streams as compliant with WCAG guidelines and ADA requirements Approving all TA (teaching assistant) and faculty requests to teach and hold discussion sections remotely Disabled, immunocompromised, and otherwise concerned students and employees of UCLA deserve to work and learn under safe conditions. Anxieties abound as the delta variant of SARS-CoV-19 takes hold across the country, making both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans ill. But UCLA is denying requests to learn and work remotely. The administration also refuses to implement hybrid course models that would allow for equitable access. In trying to adhere to their dangerous promise of nearly all in-person instruction, UCLA is putting all students at risk and failing to meet the needs of disabled students. Disabled students requested remote learning access for years prior to the pandemic; we were told it was too difficult and expensive to implement. The immediate switch to remote instruction in March 2020 proved that these accommodations were possible the entire time. Even without Covid, disabled students have difficulty making it to courses in person and/or have symptom flares that require them to miss class. It is not too difficult to accommodate this: UCLA already has the infrastructure for hybrid and remote instruction, via Bruincast and Zoom. It is essential that all courses utilize these tools to provide remote access so that all students can have equal access to education. The Center for Accessible Education at UCLA asserts that requesting remote learning accommodations can be denied if it "fundamentally alters the nature of the course." Apparently, any form of learning remotely “fundamentally alters the nature of the course.” If that's the case, then every class between March 2020 and June 2021 was "fundamentally altered” –– yet UCLA charged full tuition rates. Charging full tuition for this coursework implies that UCLA considered these classes equivalent to standard in-person work in quality and efficiency. There's no reason that that would not continue to be the case going into the 2021-2022 academic year. UCLA administration only sees remote study/work as reasonable if administrators feel unsafe––never mind the safety of high-risk Bruins. According to UCLA’s Faculty FAQ document, "Classes cannot be changed to remote modality based on … generalized concerns about classroom ventilation or potential virus transmission … [or] immunocompromised or unvaccinated family members." In other words, even faculty hesitant to go in-person due to safety concerns are not allowed to conduct their courses remotely. This is a potential violation of OSHA and ADA guidelines. Students have even less power: We're being told that after a full year of remote learning, it's suddenly too difficult to let us learn from home. Many of us are being denied remote learning accommodations, even for classes required to graduate. Or, the university advises students to drop out until the pandemic subsides. Both of these options jeopardize the education and livelihood of students on financial aid or scholarships. This also forces disabled students to delay their careers or graduate school, harming their earning potential. UCLA is shutting out disabled students, faculty, and TAs in the middle of a pandemic. UCLA is prioritizing the goal of in-person instruction over protecting our lives. We deserve to learn and work where we feel safe: Tell UCLA to require remote access to ALL courses and approve ALL faculty requests for remote work!
Petition to Senator Adam Gomez, Representative Michael Finn, Senator Karen Spilka, Represenative Ronald Mariano, Representative Natalie Blais, Senator John Velis
Stop Shocking People with Disabilities #StoptheShock and Pass H.225 in MA
MASS Advocates Standing Strong is asking you to sign the petition to have Massachusetts legislators pass the bill H.225. Video: MASS Advocates Standing Strong board read a letter to ask legislators to pass the bill. Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk3RlV00Zls Learn more about MASS Advocates Standing Strong and #Stoptheshock: https://www.wearemass.org/stop-the-shock Background information: Since the 1990s, The Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, MA has been using the Graduated Electronic Decelerator (GED) to shock students with disabilities for punishment. The device was exclusively developed for the JRC center. A method that they say is “treatment”. This is not true at all. Even the center’s founder, Matthew Israel said “it has to hurt enough” to modify behavior. The GED devices are given as aversive therapy to students in the form of 2 second electric shocks through a remote control. Quoted online, the shocks are very painful and can cause burns. A reporter said it felt like a bee sting, others say the shocks felt more painful. Imagine being given shocks multiple times a day, for doing anything outside your behavior plan. Many students are shocked for being non-compliant, which is as simple as standing up when they are not supposed to. For many students, they have been shocked for many years, and have developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The devices are only used by the Judge Rotenberg Center. It was deemed a torture device by the UN. It is illegal to use the devices on animals, neurotypical children and adults, but not for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). The FDA finally banned the devices in 2020, after years of activists fighting against the use of GED devices and JRC. BUT, in July 2021, a Federal Appeals court overturned the FDA ban citing the FDA had no right to regulate a medical practice. The bill H.225, introduced by Danielle Gregoire, would prohibit an institution funded by MA to administer any procedure that would cause obvious physical harm, such as electric shock, as a form of punishment. The bill also states that no such program can give any form of physical punishment that is prohibited by law, or would be prohibited if used on a person without a disability. Who is the petition for: Appeal to Massachusetts legislators to pass the bill. We at Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong, an organization based in MA that is run by the board and for self-advocates with Intellectual and Developmental disabilities (IDD), created this petition because we strongly believe in banning the GED device and other forms of painful punishment. We have developed a letter and video in protest against the device and ask all of you to help sign the petition to appeal to legislators to pass the bill. Passing the bill would be the next step in the fight against the GED Devices and Judge Rotenberg Center. About Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong: MASS was founded in 1998 by a group of self-advocates with Intellectual and Developmental disabilities (IDD). The group has been recognized for various legislative initiatives. We advocated for the change of the name DMR (Department of Mental Retardation) to Department of Developmental Services in 2009. In 2014, MASS testified at the Massachusetts state house to help pass Real Lives Bill. We continue to advocate for human rights issues and we need your support!
Petition to BBC
Take down BBC article
Time to talk about this trash by @bbcnews that was posted last week. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s not worth reading. Everyone I know with a disability is upset after reading this article. Including the people they interviewed. Originally BBC reached out to influencers who openly talk about their disabilities. BBC told the people they were interviewing this article would focus on the toxic and harmful forums with trolls attacking disabled influencers. Instead after completing the interviews and article, BBC chose a clickbait title accusing influencers of faking their disabilities for attention and completely changing the story. To make it clear, I was NOT one of the influencers interviewed by this article, but plenty of my friends were personally affected and are now experiencing more harassment than ever. Just one example is how BBC told @thechroniciconic they would use the interview, and then they completely cut it to change the message. Those are the screenshot messages I included in my post on Instagram @butyoudontlooksickofficial You can keep trying to attack us. But we won’t stand down. We’ve been fighting stigma and ableism our entire lives.It’ll take more than a clickbait title to tear us down. But I can assure you @bbcnews you’ve added fuel to our fire for why our advocacy is so important. To continue to tear down the ableism this world thrives on. So thank you for being a prime example of ableism and why our community stands so strong together. You attack one of us, you attack all of us.
Petition to Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Dr. Jeffrey Shuren
FDA: Ban Torture of People with Disabilities and #StopTheShock
The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts is a “treatment center” that uses their own, non-FDA approved electric shock devices on disabled people, primarily autistic people with and without intellectual disabilities, as a way of controlling their behavior. Children and adults at the JRC wear shock devices all day and staff of the facility deliver painful electric shocks remotely. It is the only program in the U.S. that uses these devices as punishment. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture determined that the use of these devices is not treatment -- it is torture. In 2012 the American public became aware of what was going on inside JRC when video of Andre McCollins being shocked was released. Andre was a teenage resident of JRC. In 2002, he one day refused to take his coat off. The staff responded by placing Andre in restraints for 7 hours and shocking him 31 times. After this torture, Andre was in shock, comatose, and suffered burn wounds on his arms and legs. The trauma that he went through continues to negatively affect his mental health to this day. In 2014 the FDA held hearings about these devices. In April 2016 it drafted regulations to ban contingent shock -- but it has not implemented them. It is time for FDA to release the regulations. What happened to Andre McCollins is not an isolated incident at JRC. The Judge Rotenberg Center claims that the electric shocks keep people from hurting themselves or others, but residents at the JRC are shocked for everything from swearing to standing up. Furthermore, electric shocks do not work to help people with disabilities avoid self-injury or aggression -- positive supports do. For every person being tortured at the JRC, there are many more people with the exact same disabilities, dealing with the exact same issues, being successfully supported in their communities without the use of dangerous and painful punishments. The worldwide autistic community and our allies call on Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to immediately ban the use of contingent electric shock in behavior modification. Additionally, we call for the state of Massachusetts to immediately shut down the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts. Shock torture is only one of the abuses at JRC. It needs to be closed entirely, and appropriate services created in its place. All people have the right to freedom. This includes autistic people. The United States and the State of Massachusetts must protect those rights. Stop the shock, close JRC, and provide our people with the supports they need. Please sign this petition.
Petition to Movie Theaters
Movie Theaters - Open Captions (Subtitles) Are Healthier for Everyone!
What are open captions (subtitles, OC)? OC is on-screen text dialogue. OC lets deaf and hard of hearing people enjoy movies the same way as hearing people do. Closed captions (CC) require use of equipment. Given a choice, most CC equipment users will choose open captions because CC equipment has multiple issues, so many (including discomfort) that we put the list at the bottom of this petition.** (AFTER SIGNING -- PLEASE SHARE!!) OPEN CAPTIONS ARE FOR EVERYONE! Captions also benefit many others, such as kids learning to read and people learning English as a second language (longer list at bottom***), as discussed in the research article "Video Captions Are for Everyone." Plus, many people who do not have hearing loss enjoy watching streamed movies and TV with the subtitles on. The majority of people who use captions are NOT deaf or hard of hearing. These hearing people are very receptive to the idea of OC in movie theaters. Also, OC is HEALTHIER for everyone because of no-contact accessibility! CC equipment requires TOUCHING. Users must touch either captioning glasses, or seat-mounted equipment. With OC, there is no touching! LIMITED AVAILABILITY OF OPEN CAPTIONS While a growing number of theaters are willing to offer OC, usually only poorly attended time slots are offered. (Then the OC may be blamed for the low attendance without considering the times and dates.) Theaters resist offering OC during higher attendance times like Friday and Saturday nights, at a time when demand for subtitles is growing among young moviegoers. Your signature demonstrates to both theaters and legislators how much demand and support there is for OC in movie theaters! Legislation is STILL needed even though some theaters are voluntarily offering OC. Voluntary means just that, voluntary. There's nothing to prevent theaters from deciding to cut back or drop OC altogether. Only legislative requirements can protect access to OC permanently. Voluntary is not good enough! Because of public health risks, and growing demand from people without hearing loss as well as those with hearing loss, movie theaters need to give OC a real chance with better dates and times. Normalize OC and make them a standard option alongside CC. Most importantly, we call on movie theaters to stop looking at OC as being only for deaf and hard of hearing people, and start looking at OC as being for everyone! Want to experience OC? Check the list to see if there is a theater near you possibly offering OC: https://www.facebook.com/ocmoviesnow --------------------------------------------------- ** List of Problems and Complaints About Closed Caption Devices: often uncomfortable may cause eyestrain dizziness headaches malfunctions drop lines show the wrong captions may repeat lines batteries die may not have been recharged between users may be unsanitary theater staff may not know what to do with equipment can't stay in place without being held have to move it into position (seat-mounted devices) may bring unwanted attention to the user due to looking "different" can not be used by some people due to vision impairment. *** List of people who benefit and benefits of captioning Kids learning to read (1) Kids learning to read (2) Autism (neurodivergent) Learning English as a second language Improves general literacy Auditory processing disorder or issues, such as auditory neuropathy Sensitivity to noise (hyperacusis), tinnitus, or meniere's Attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Down syndrome (1), Down Syndrome (2) Starting to lose their hearing Traumatic brain injury Veterans with battle-acquired hearing loss Difficulty understanding dialogue when there is noise, mumbling, whispering, or accents. Roommates or parents with young children Dyslexia Learning disabilities Wrist injuries that prevent them from being able to position a closed caption device Watching video content on personal electronic devices with the mute on
Petition to Tennessee State House, Tennessee Governor, Tennessee State Senate
Change conservatorship laws! Let me visit my son!
I have an Autistic son that I raised for 19 years. In 2019 his paternal grandmother picked him up from Georgia for a visit and took him to Tennessee. They never bought him home. That summer his father and paternal grandmother filed for conservatorship over my son. I retained an attorney who advised me that the judge did not have jurisdiction over this case because my son wasn’t a resident of the state of Tennessee. At the court hearing Chancellor L McMillan granted their request simply because My family was in the process of a move to Germany and a therapist that had treated my son in TN stated that she did not believe there would be autism services available in Germany. It’s been 2.5 years and I now have no rights to my son. He is currently experiencing a mental health crisis and has regressed significantly but his father “the conservator” is refusing to allow me to visit him. I flew from Germany to Clarksville just to visit my son. I have contacted attorney after attorney in Clarksville only to be told there is nothing I can do. My son has always stated that he doesn’t want to live with his father. His conservator helped him obtain a driving permit. If they believe he is he is capable Of driving a vehicle, he should be capable of choosing where he wants to live. No one is advocating for him and what he wants. There is no oversight once a person is placed in conservatorship other than the court system. There should be an oversight committee or agency. In 2019 I was forced to accept that I could not take my son to Germany with me and I did my best to live with the Judges decision but I refuse to allow anyone to keep me from my son forever. I will not stop fighting for the right to have access to my loved one. I hope that no one else has to endure a situation like this. After continued research to try to advocate for my son, I have found that the issue of visitation for people placed under conservatorship has already been addressed by Senator Rusty Crowe of Tennessee. Senator Crowe introduced the “Campbell/Falk Act," which addresses visitation rights for people under conservatorship. I am incredibly thankful that this law exists. The fact remains that there is still no oversight, and violations of this law continue to happen. There is no easy way to report violations, and depending on the severity of the situation hiring an attorney that is familiar with this law and waiting for a hearing to take place could be costly and cause undue stress to both the family and the respondent. I hope this campaign continues to gain attention and a change is made to address these concerns so that no other family has to deal with this.
Petition to U.S. Senate, Dan Brown, Kathy J. Byron, Lee Ware, Mike Cunningham, Timothy Hugo, Bill Eigel, Jason Holsman, Daniel Marshall, III, Jacob W Hummel, Robert B. Bell, Israel D. O'Quinn, Jamilah Nasheed, Bob Onder, Ron Richard, David E. Yancey, John Joseph Rizzo, Caleb Rowden, Margaret B. Ransone, Dave Schatz, Scott Sifton, Wayne Wallingford, Michael J. Webert, Paul Wieland, Tony O. Wilt, Christopher T. Head, Jeion A. Ward, Mark L. Keam, Eileen Filler-Corn, Kaye Kory, Joseph C. Lindsey, Lamont Bagby, David J. Toscano, Steve E. Heretick, Michael P. Mullin, Jeffrey M. Bourne, President of the United States, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, U.S. House of Representatives
Stop Forcing Mail-Order Pharmacy as the Only Option of Coverage
Patients' lives depend on choice. **Since starting the petition, I have realized that there are many issues other than temperatures with forced mail-order pharmacy. Mail-order pharmacy is very loosely regulated. There are life-threatening delays, lack of face-to-face relationships with pharmacists for people with chronic conditions, and rapid closures of our independent pharmacies; although, a recent study showed people prefer independent pharmacy (2018, Gill). *************Our Story************* Our son received a life-saving liver transplant at the age of 2 from a 3-year-old little girl. His life depends on the potency and effectiveness of chemotherapy or immune suppression medications every 12 hours to prevent his body's immune system from fighting off his transplanted liver. In the past mail-order pharmacy delivered his liquid oral medications in nothing but a plastic envelope on a 102-degree day on a hot enclosed non-temperature controlled UPS truck. Shortly after, he went into liver rejection which could have resulted in complete liver failure or death. I speculated that the medication could have been too weak after the delivery of medications in high heat. I vowed to never again risk his life with mail-order pharmacy. Recently, we were mandated or forced to only use mail-order pharmacy in order to receive coverage for his life-saving medications. The package arrived in only a bag on a hot day without an ice pack. I now know that the hot non-temperature controlled enclosed delivery truck and mailboxes can reach temperatures up to 120-170 degrees. His labs elevated again afterward. My son wants to know, "Why would they do that?" I contacted the manufacturer, who performs the testing, who informed me that both of my son's medications should be discarded and considered less potent once stored above 86 degrees as higher temperatures and freezing could both result in lower potency. I contacted the mail-order pharmacy who refused to replace or take back the medication. They said the law & USP Pharmacopoeia allows them to ship up to 104 degrees, although the manufacturer states it is not proven safe at these temperatures. However, I have received communication from USP Pharmacopoeia who writes guidelines for storage, and they also said that the mail order pharmacy should follow the manufacturer's guidelines of 59-86 degrees for storage. Again, the trucks reach up to 170 degrees which is much hotter than 104. I contacted the FDA, who states that the mail order pharmacy should be using the manufacturer's guidelines that have been proven safe. Since the mail-order pharmacies are regulated loosely by the State Board of Pharmacy, not the FDA, there was nothing that the FDA could do. I made over 30 calls to the insurance company begging for them to please let us pick my son's medications up at the local pharmacy at which they are filled. My son's physician wrote an appeal and his transplant team has stated that they have tried to voice their concerns about this issue with their pediatric/child patients and no one is listening! The insurance company still denied the doctor's appeal for us to pick up my son's medications in the safest way. It was not until the Media became evolved that the insurance company budged. I felt helpless and have united with many other pharmacists, physicians, patients, mothers and fathers, and caregivers who feel the same way. Helpless. Mail-order of prescription drugs should be a choice, not the only option of coverage. Mail-order pharmacies may appear to save money, but when my son ended up in the hospital after taking medications that could have been compromised by having lower potency, the cost of the rejection was thousands of dollars. If his liver would have fully failed, the cost of his liver transplant for just 5 days (he was in the hospital for 5 weeks) was over $1,000,000. The lax regulation and oversight may save money on prescription drug plans but may come at an increased cost to the health plan itself. Also, keep in mind the endless waste of medications that automatically are sent regardless of whether or not patients need them. Also, people with chronic, complex conditions, should always have the option of face to face interaction with a pharmacist who knows their complex needs and medical history. The pharmacist and patient relationships are crucial to the successful outcome of the patient's overall health. Taking this away is harmful to patients and be more costly to our already stressed healthcare system. Only allowing mail-order pharmacy for coverage is unethical and irresponsible. I share stories on my social media sites every day of patients who are suffering from a lack of choice. We need your help to make mandatory mail-order an option, not a mandate. YOUR URGENT SUPPORT WILL SAVE LIVES! THANK YOU!! WE APPRECIATE ALL OF THE SUPPORTERS, CAREGIVERS, & PATIENTS. Thank you, Loretta Boesing, Founder of Unite for Safe Medications You may make a tax-deductible contribution to support our advocacy here Email: email@example.com Facebook Page: Issues with Mail Order Pharmacy @justamomwholovesherson Twitter: @BoesingLoretta The greatest way that you can help is by sharing this petition & gathering 2-3 people in your community who are having issues and speak to your legislatures. Reference: Gill, Lisa L. “Consumers Still Prefer Independent Pharmacies, CR's Ratings Show.” Product Reviews and Ratings - Consumer Reports, 7 Dec. 2018, www.consumerreports.org/pharmacies/consumers-still-prefer-independent-pharmacies-consumer-reports-ratings-show/
Petition to Florida State University, Florida Governor
Demand Dr George Rust to resign immediately or atone for abusing his autistic nephew
Dr. George S Rust is an unethical doctor and medical professor who assisted other doctors into committing pharmaceutical malpractice against his autistic nephew for 10 years that he was granted custody of when his parents were unable to care for him but instead of providing his nephew the love and support in guidance he needed he turned pharmaceuticals to pacify him. Unfortunately these pharmaceuticals had a horrible side effects that greviously injured his nephew and instead of apologizing to his nephew Dr. Rust threw him away like a literal piece of trash and left him to die around the same time Florida State University offered him a job. Now his autistic nephew struggles to make ends meet and is constantly dodging homelessness and starvation and even been denied disability benefits four times in spite of the enormous health problems the pharmaceutical industry gave him with the help of Dr. Rust. All while Dr. Rust goes on luxury cruises and enjoys lavish benefits as a medical professor at Florida State University. It is shameful that Dr Rust goes on luxury cruises like the one in this picture while his autistic nephew he threw away like a literal piece of trash struggles to make ends meet and frequently goes without basic needs despite his best efforts. Dr. Rust should either resign or atone for all of the unjust and unnecessary suffering he’s brought upon his autistic nephew