Monday, July 4, 2022

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July 4th: an opportunity to examine the state of U.S. Democracy in places like MT; disturbing bodycam video of a fatal police shooting in Ohio; ripple effects from SCOTUS environmental ruling.

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The Biden administration works to ensure abortion access, Liz Cheney says Jan 6th committee could call for criminal charges against Trump, and extreme heat and a worker shortage dampens firework shows.

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From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Disability Rights Champion Spotlights Need for Accessible Housing, Voting

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022   

It is Developmental Disability Awareness Month, and groups are spotlighting housing and voting as two major areas of concern.

To mark International Women's Day, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities held a virtual event Tuesday.

Tameka Citchen-Spruce, a disability justice advocate and former Ms. Wheelchair Michigan 2006 who spoke at the event, said it is crucial to make sure every polling place has a working voting machine for people who cannot fill out a paper ballot. And while the affordable housing crisis affects many in Michigan, she said there are additional factors if you are living with a disability.

"Finding accessible and affordable housing, as everyone knows, is a tremendous challenge, particularly when you have a physical disability; use a wheelchair, like myself," Citchen-Spruce explained.

Nationwide, roughly 57 million Americans live with some form of disability, and about 180,000 Michiganders have a developmental disability.

Citchen-Spruce is a filmmaker in addition to being an activist, and she said advocating for disability rights and storytelling go hand in hand.

"I think it's so important, because we need representation in the media," Citchen-Spruce asserted. "People need a reflection of themselves and their stories matter. And so that's why, alongside my disability advocacy, I think it's so important to create representation and tell stories."

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed March to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Michigan. She said the state Department of Health and Human Services encourages residents to recognize Michigan's advances, but also to acknowledge the work is not yet done to ensure full inclusion of people with disabilities.


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