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The Arc Reacts to SNL’s Pete Davidson Using the R-Word

Washington, D.C. – The Arc is disappointed that Saturday Night Live Actor and Comedian Pete Davidson used the r-word during a comedy show at the University of Central Florida in Orlando on Monday, August 26. He became upset at an audience member recording the performance on their cell phone. During an expletive-filled rant, Davidson used the slur against students in attendance.

“Pete Davidson’s use of the r-word is unacceptable. The word is dehumanizing and offensive to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and advocates,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc. “The Arc and our allies across the disability community have worked hard to put an end to the r-word and bring awareness to the painful history of exclusion behind the word. It has no place in our society, and it is shameful to hear it still used by anyone. We are asking Davidson for an apology.”

The Arc has been involved in diligent efforts to eliminate the word. We advocated heavily for the 2010 passage of Rosa’s Law, which removed the offensive term from federal health, education, and labor statutes. The Arc’s state and local chapters have successfully advocated for similar changes in states across the country as well, including removing the r-word from the names of the state government agencies that serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Arc advocates for and serves people wit­­h intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

The Arc Urges HHS to Address Caregiver Crisis

Washington, D.C. – In a series of critical meetings this week, The Arc will take important steps in urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address the caregiver crisis facing millions of families. Nancy Murray, President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh at ACHIEVA, and James Cheely, President of The Arc of Barren County, Kentucky serve on the newly-formed RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council. The Council meets for the first time on Wednesday, August 28 and Thursday, August 29 in Washington, D.C. to develop recommendations to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

Murray, who is co-chair of the Council, and Cheely bring a deep personal and professional understanding of the caregiver crisis for families and people with intellectual and development disabilities (I/DD). Murray is the mother of two adult children with Down syndrome and was a caregiver to both of her aging parents. Cheely has a son with I/DD. He is also a former president of The Arc of Kentucky.

“The RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council has been charged with a huge task.  I am honored and excited to be a part of it,” said Cheely. “I am looking forward to representing families of The Arc in these discussions.”

Murray and Cheely are available to speak about the growing national caregiving crisis and efforts to alleviate it.

“I am honored to be selected to be a member of the new Family Caregiving Advisory Council and to create awareness of the vital role that family caregivers play in the United States. At one time or another, many, if not most Americans, become a caregiver for an elderly parent, child with a disability, or spouse with a disability or illness,” said Murray. “We need to increase and strengthen the resources and supports for family caregivers. One possible solution to help ease the crisis is a federal paid leave policy.”

Less than half of caregivers reported having paid leave in The Arc’s Family & Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) 2017 Survey. The survey reflects the true extent of the crisis and the need for change.

The Council was established by the RAISE Family Caregivers Act enacted last year to help HHS address the caregiver crisis for family members and persons with I/DD, seniors, veterans, and others. Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Michael Bennet of Colorado were original sponsors of the legislation. Florida Rep. Kathy Castor and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik originally sponsored the House version of the bill.

 

The Arc advocates for and serves people wit­­h intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

Nancy Murray from The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh Selected to Serve on National Family Caregiver Council

The Arc is honored that Nancy Murray, the President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh at ACHIEVA, has been selected by the Administration on Community Living to serve on the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council. Nancy brings a deep personal and professional understanding of the caregiver crisis facing millions of families and people with intellectual and development disabilities (I/DD).

Nancy is the mother of two adult children with Down syndrome and has been a caregiver to both of her aging parents. Nancy has also been a powerful voice in the disability field for over 40 years in the areas of family support, advocacy, public policy, supports coordination, and health care. As a member of the Family Caregiving Advisory Council, Nancy will help develop recommendations to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on effective models of family caregiving and support to caregivers, as well as ways to improve coordination across federal programs.

The Council was established by the RAISE Family Caregivers Act enacted last year to help address the growing national caregiver crisis for family members and persons with I/DD, seniors, veterans, and others. This crisis for caregivers is reflected in the findings of The Arc’s Family & Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) 2017 Survey which shows that nearly two thirds of caregivers surveyed are employed and 45% of respondents provide more than 80 hours of care per week. Not surprisingly, nearly half of FINDS caregivers report feeling “very or extremely stressed.” The findings also underscore the need for accessible respite programs: 92% of caregivers say they have difficulty finding respite care.

We are confident Nancy will help leaders in the federal government find solutions for families. The RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council will hold its first meetings on August 28 and August 29, 2019 in Washington, D.C. and will be live streamed.

For more on Nancy’s contributions to the I/DD community, please click here.

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The Arc Visits Walmart Corporate Headquarters to Deliver Disability Inclusion Training

Washington, DC – On July 30, The Arc’s staff traveled to Walmart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas to deliver a disability inclusion training to members of its leadership and staff. Nearly 300 participants, both in-person and virtual, took part in the session which provided an introduction to the history of the disability rights movement in the United States and examined some of the core issues affecting today’s disability community.

The training is the first of two that The Arc’s national employment initiative, The Arc@Work, will be conducting over the coming months. The next step will be to develop an eLearning training module that will span multiple topics related to disability, inclusion and employment. This training module will be made available to the staff at corporate headquarters as well as all of Walmart’s US-based associates.

“The Arc is a leading voice in the disability community, advocating for and implementing change for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the lifespan. The Arc is honored to be bringing nearly 70 years of knowledge and expertise in the disability rights field to Walmart and its employees. Our trainings will allow Walmart to learn more about the disability community and further their understanding of how fostering employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is the right thing to do, and good for business,” said Jonathan Lucus, Senior Director, Workforce Strategy, The Arc.

The Arc@Work supports corporate clients in meeting their diversity and inclusion goals, from recruiting qualified job candidates with disabilities, to conducting staff and management disability awareness trainings, to creating disability-inclusive workspaces.

Employment rates for people with disabilities – especially people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – are critically low compared to people without disabilities. The US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2015) estimates that people with any disability or a cognitive disability are employed at much lower rates (34.3% and 24.8% respectively) than those without disabilities (73.6%)1. Additionally, the National Core Indicators Survey of 2015-2016 reported that 19% of people with I/DD in the workforce reported having a paid job in the community2.

The Arc advocates for and serves people wit­­h intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

A woman in a scooter and a dog play on a grassy field in front of houses.

The Arc Opposes HUD’s Proposed Change to Fair Housing Rule

The Arc has serious concerns about a new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed rule that could threaten important protections under the Fair Housing Act. The Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, and disability. The HUD proposal would make it significantly harder to prove discrimination in housing for policies that seem neutral, but in practice unfairly exclude certain groups of people or segregate particular communities. 

The Arc has fought long and hard for fair access to housing for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). We promote stronger enforcement of existing civil rights laws for people with disabilities, including the Fair Housing Act, and work to prevent discrimination based on disability, race, or any other protected status. We call on HUD to withdraw the “disparate impact” proposed rule, and we urge Congress to provide oversight of HUD to ensure it is delivering on the promise of fair and equitable housing.

The Arc advocates for and serves people wit­­h intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

The Arc Rejects President Trump’s Comments on Bringing Back Institutions

Washington, DC – The Arc, the nation’s largest civil rights organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), which was founded by parents and family members who rejected institutions and fought for decades to close them, released the following statement on President Trump’s comments about creating new institutions for people with mental health needs.

“The Arc and our constituents are all too familiar with calls to reopen the institutions of the past, where people with all different disabilities were imprisoned against their wills and subject to horrific torture and abuse. For nearly 70 years, The Arc has focused on advocating for deinstitutionalization to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and other disabilities, can live meaningful, independent lives in the communities of their choice among their families and peers, with accompanying supports and services.

“We have spent decades building the community services we need and we still have so far to go to ensure that people with all disabilities, but especially those with dual diagnoses of I/DD and mental illness, have access to the critical services they require to support community living.

“People with I/DD and mental illness are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators of it. The misguided idea that mental illness causes violence is inaccurate, harmful, and discriminatory to the disability community.

“Re-institutionalization would bring people with disabilities back into the dark ages of isolation and segregation. Nearly 30 years after the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its ‘integration mandate’, we have come so far. Yet 37 states still have institutions, and these comments impede our progress. Clearly, we have more work to do, and encourage people to join our efforts to build a world where people with disabilities do not face this harmful stereotyping,” said Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc.

The Arc advocates for and serves people wit­­h intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

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The Arc Responds to Cruel DHS Public Charge Rule That Hurts People with Disabilities and Their Families

Washington, DC – The Arc denounces the harmful rule that will be finalized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday, August 14. This new rule discriminates against people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families, among others.  It allows the federal government to deny admission into the U.S. and unfairly restructures immigration in a way that is detrimental to individuals based on their disability and the use of vital programs like Medicaid.

The DHS final rule means the government will consider a significantly expanded list of factors to determine whether a person will be considered a “public charge.” A public charge is a person that the government thinks will (currently or in the future) be dependent on the government for support. The rule will hurt children and adults based on disabilities and chronic conditions. The use of many programs such as most Medicaid services, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance, and other important benefits will also be considered in the public charge test.  DHS acknowledges that the new rule may have an outsized impact on people with disabilities.

“This new policy is devastating to many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. It discourages immigrant families from utilizing critical public services out of fear of harming their immigration status. The rule will increase poverty, hurt public health, and worsen housing instability. It’s the latest callous tactic in restricting access to necessary services and supports. The Arc continues our work to ensure that non-citizens with any type of disability have a fair opportunity to enter and reside legally in the U.S., without unnecessary or discriminatory restrictions based on their disability,”  said Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc.

The Arc opposed the rule and submitted comments with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities when the rule was proposed in 2018.

For more information, see this short explainer.

The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.