Letter to the Editor - June 1991

To The Editor:

I would, first of all, like to congratulate ACCESS PRESS on their first year anniversary.  Your entrance into the print media offering information and assistance to the disabled community has the admiration of this reader and I am certain of many, many others.

As a Minnesotan who is currently residing in Louisville, Kentucky (at least for the next two years) each month’s issue helps me to keep in focus the state of those services provided to residents of Minnesota in comparison to those here in this state.  Believe me, you have much to be proud of despite certain gaps and inequities.

Consider this if you will, I recently attended a meeting of the Vocational Task Force of Seven Counties Services (a major funding source for vocational services to the MR/DD population).  According to the demographics provided to us at that meeting based on 1986 figures (they are way behind the times in up-dating these) there are 6188 persons who need services.  Of that number only 704 are being served in 20 programs within the seven county area or 0.113 percent of those in need.

While Minnesotans who are in the disabled community are feeling that their needs are only partially being met, try to think of what it would be like to live in a state where little is being done.  There is a paucity of small residential options (group homes, foster homes, etc.) serving the MR/DD population.  Physically disabled persons have great difficulty in achieving mobility within the seven county area because of the limited number of paratransit services offering low cost transportation.

Resources, as you can see, are inadequate for persons who are disabled in this part of the world.  To say that the state is 20 years behind times is putting it mildly.  There are advocate groups working hard to bring about change but they are where Minnesota was back in the ’70s struggling to effect a conscience in the non-disabled community.

If only there was an ACCESS PRESS here to prick those consciences and help to awaken them to the need.

Once more, you are to be congratulated for what you are doing to create an informed society aligning itself with its’ sisters and brothers in the disabled community in Minnesota.

To my friends in that community, just think of where you are in comparison to where Kentucky is and for a moment, be grateful.

Harold Kerner
Louisville, KY