Editor’s Column – March 2003

Since the governor’s budget came out there have been rallies at the Capitol on a regular basis. Many of the […]

Since the governor’s budget came out there have been rallies at the Capitol on a regular basis. Many of the disability organizations have sponsored their own “day on the hill.” If you haven’t gotten involved with the organizations important to you for a day at the Capitol, call and find out if you missed their day and if there’s another coming up that you could attend.

Arc Minnesota’s Web site, www.arcminnesota.com, has advice on how to lobby your legislators. Visit the site and become your own self-advocate. Your state senator, representative and the governor should all hear from you, by letter (handwritten if possible) and in person, about the specific effects of the cuts on you and how you feel about cuts to the most vulnerable citizens. Legislators can be located using your zip code through the “District Finder” on the legislative Web site www.leg.state.mn.us. The present budget will affect all Minnesotans in one way or another.

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ADA Watch, a group that keeps an eye on the Americans with Disabilities Act cases and responds to threats against the ADA and the civil rights of people with disabilities, is asking for our help. Specifically, they are asking us to contact our senators to stop the lifetime appointment of Jeffrey Sutton to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Sutton is a leader in what is called the “states rights movement”—their ideology is to take away Congress’ ability to protect individuals rights and give it back to the states. In recent years, Mr. Sutton—according to ADA Watch—has pushed to weaken the ADA to the point of arguing that it is not unconstitutional to institutionalize people with disabilities. I think this alone shows the importance of us acting by contacting our senators urging them not to confirm the appointment of Jeffrey Sutton. For more information on this, visit www.adawatch.org.

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We have increased the size of the Board of Directors. The five new members will add experience and expertise in areas that were needed. I’m as eager to get to work with the new board members as they are to get to work with Access Press. Their introductions are below.

Bridget Smith, sister of our founder and original editor, Charlie Smith, has been elected chairman of the Access Press board. Congratulations Bridget!

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Take a breather from legislative issues and check out Edie Fischer, a new volunteer writer who supplied a review of the movie “Daredevil,” nother Marvel comic superhero brought to life on the big screen! This crimefighter happens to be blind and Edie makes several interesting observations about that. Make sure to read her review either before or after you go to the movie. We appreciate your input, Edie, and look forward to hearing from you again.

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Another media review, on the TV show “Survivor,” is also in this issue. There the producers have enlisted a woman with a hearing disability as a contestant. Read about it on page 6. Overall, it is refreshing to see more people with disabilities in the mainstream media.

Again, I need to introduce a new contributor. According to Cameron Oakes, she submitted her review on a whim. We are excited to have this pair of reviews on disabilities in the media.

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And thanks to all of you readers. Feel free to send us your comments—and if the spirit moves you, as it did Cameron, we welcome any volunteer submissions for review. We would love to hear from you!

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