2/10/12 Meeting Minutes

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Meeting of the Disabilty Caucus
February 10, 2012, 5:30pm
Atrium – 60 Wall St.

Connie Lesold
Peirs Droms, Danny’s PA
Danny Robert
Phil Walls
Pat Walls
Nadina Laspina, facilitates
Philip Bennett, takes minutes

Nadina notes that the ReelAbilities Film Festival is happening at the same time as this meeting, so attendance here will be poor. Therefore no major decisions will be made, since there are too few people to have consensus.

An Agenda is agreed on:
Review of the draft of our Mission Statement.
Committee Reports – Outreach Committee.
Participation in OWS events
Possibility of an Action on April 1st

Nadina says that the rough draft of our Mission Statement has been posted online but the only one who has done any editing is Phil, who made some valuable additions.

The group reviews the Mission Statement word by word.

All agree to include “of all ages” after “people with all types of disabilities.”

We discuss whether we want to list different types of disabilities in a footnote, use the Americans with Disabilities Act definition in a footnote, include in the text of the Statement the words “physical and mental,” or include in the text “visible and hidden.”

We try listing different types of disabilities and come up with: physical, sensory, developmental, emotional, learning, cognitive, behavioral.

Some suggest we should add “included but not limited to.”

Pat says she prefers “physical and hidden” because a long list in a footnote is cumbersome and can put people off.

A temperature check results in everyone in the group liking “visible and hidden.”

Connie proposes that we change the line that reads “elected officials who have been bought by corporate money” to “most of whom have been bought by corporate money.”

Nadina asks if all present agree with calling Medicaid “an inherently discriminatory program,” and opines that Medicaid equals apartheid, creating a separate inferior class of health care recipients. All twinkle.

Danny and Pat propose taking out “placed” from the line “bigotry and ignorance of those placed in control of our lives.”

It is agreed that “age should be added after “gender,” and “immigration status” after “ethnicity” in the line that starts: “These conditions and factors are often compounded by other forms of discrimination…”

Phil and Danny suggest adding “by the dominant culture” at the end of the line “Our lives have been devalued and judged expendable.”

Nadina points out that “dominant culture” is commonly used and well understood in our community but is not really used in OWS philosophy. We decide to leave the line alone for the time being.

We will see at the next meeting if others agree with all proposed changes.

We go on to the topic of “Outreach.”  Connie speaks about bringing the message of OWS and of our caucus to Brooklyn and about the importance of PWDs coalescing with seniors. She announces a special meeting of the Crown Heights Interagency Council on Aging (CHICA) to be held February 15, 2012 from 10 AM to 12 Noon at the Albany Fort Greene Sr. Center, 196 Albany Ave. and Prospect Pl., Bklyn., NY.  Chairman the Rev. Augustin will officiate.  They will present and discuss new advocacy and action plans.  Scheduled special guest will be a representative from BWICA.  For further information contact CHICA at 718-773-1338 or email 0298@aol.com.  CHICA is located at 298 Schenectady Ave., Bklyn., NY, 11223.

Nadina says we need a good flyer to bring to ILCs and other organizations.  Alejandra is working on a flyer. It would be good if on the flyer we could say that we meet every week, same day, same place, same time. We have to decide on a regular meeting day.

We move on to “Participation in OWS Events.”

Connie mentions an event at West Park Church on Amsterdam and 86 St. on the next day. The building is not wheelchair accessible.

Nadina explains that the event is organized by Occupy Town Square. Every two weeks OWS goes to a different neighborhood. Nadina says the ground floor and Sanctuary of the Church are accessible and there will be a lot of activity there. Occupiers are trying to build a ramp to the next level where teach-ins will take place. Having seen photos of the steps, she’s sure the ramp will be too steep and unsafe. But we have to appreciate the effort. We also must require that all future OWS events be wheelchair accessible.

Two weeks from tomorrow the Town Square event will be held in a park (which one?). We should plan to attend as a group and speak to attendees and give out info. We should have the flyer by then. We should also start planning a teach-in about our issues for a future Occupy Town Square event.

April 1st Action.

Danny says that he realized, after getting excited about the possibility of having an April Fool action, that April 1st falls on a Sunday. The original plan to demonstrate at the Governor’s office on Third Avenue (block doors, etc.) therefore falls apart. On a Sunday, all offices will be closed.

Nadina says that maybe it is too early for us to have a “real” action. We don’t have enough people willing to risk arrest. She suggests doing a Speak-Out event with people telling personal Medicaid horror stories and expressing fear about for the future. The theme could still be: “We will not be your April Fools. Don’t tell us we need to sacrifice because of an economic crisis we did not cause. We will not suffer while the 1% thrives.”

Meeting adjourned at 7:10 pm.

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