On January 12th thirty members of the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) sent a letter of congratulations to Sen. Charles “Chuck” Schumer (D-NY) as he becomes the Majority Leader of the US Senate in a few weeks. The letter also encouraged him to take advantage of this historic time of having the US House of Representatives, the US Senate and the White House in Democratic leadership to swiftly pass the Disability Integration Act.
From the letter:
During the last year, the world has been fighting to survive the worse pandemic in modern history. The Coronavirus of 2019 (COVID19) is the leading killer of people with disabilities who are confined in long-term care facilities, specifically nursing home. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation COVID has claimed the lives of 100,000 Long-term care Residents and staff as of November 24, 2020. It has been reported that a majority of the lives lost were those of Black people; as it has been reported COVID is ravaging the lives of those in this community throughout this country.
Passing DIA will dismantle the oppressive system that keep disabled people institutionalized and causing their deaths as this pandemic rages on. It is also integral to the work you have embraced to improve the lives of Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) through your commitment to racial justice.Letter of Congratulations to Senator Schumer Final
It is our plan to work to get this historic civil rights bill for people with disabilities passed into law swiftly and signed by President Elect Joe Biden. Join us in this work by supporting the new bill (to be introduced soon) and following our advocacy work! It is only through the work of the people that this bill will become law. The lives of thousands of disabled people depend on the passage of DIA. The COVID pandemic has proven that congregate settings are not a place for people to thrive and they are “death traps”.
The Disability Integration Act (DIA) is a civil rights, bipartisan and bicameral legislation, to address the fundamental issue that people who need Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) are forced into institutions and losing their basic civil rights. The legislation builds on the 25 years of work done to end the institutional bias and provide seniors and people with disabilities home and community-based services (HCBS) as an alternative to institutionalization. It is the next step in our national advocacy after securing the Community First Choice (CFC) option.