Monday, October 25, 2021

Play

Younger children may soon be able to get the COVID vaccine, plus a legal dispute over social-studies standards in South Dakota simmers over references to Native American culture.

Play

President Biden makes his case for his spending package in New Jersey as Sen. Joe Manchin says a deal could be reached this week; plus former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testifies before Parliament in London.

Play

An all-Black Oklahoma town joins big cities in seeking reparations; a Kentucky vaccination skeptic does a 180; telehealth proves invaluable during pandemic; and spooky destinations lure tourists at Halloween.

Disability Activists: Dump the Pity

Play

Friday, September 3, 2010   

CHICAGO - For 60 years, Jerry Lewis has hosted the Muscular Dystrophy Association annual Labor Day telethon. And for about 20 years, one of "Jerry's Kids" has been at odds with him over the way the money is raised.

Mike Ervin appeared on the telethon when he was six years old. Now he's a writer and disability rights activist who speaks out against the telethon because he claims it promotes stereotypes of people with disabilities as objects of pity.

At the same time, Ervin says he understands that people who answer the phones and appear on the show mean well.

"Of course we all want to give, but we really need to use the telethon as an opportunity to really seriously think about what charity is. At what point does it become something to deny or to ignore what we have to do?"

Ervin says with the unemployment rate up around 20 percent for people with disabilities, he prefers investments in programs that promote jobs and help people stay out of institutions.

"The infrastructure is still bad. They're still in institutions because services aren't there, and all these problems continue to exist."

Because of stereotypes, Ervin says many people treat him like a helpless person when they see him in his power chair. He cites, for example, an incident outside a coffee shop as he waited for the streetlight to change. A passerby mistook Ervin's newly purchased cup of tea for a beggar's cup.

"A man came out and held out his hand, and his hand had change in it. Then he saw that I had a lid on the cup, and he said 'Oh, shut down for the day, huh?'"

People with disabilities need jobs, not pity, Ervin says. In past years, he has contacted the state attorney general to check the telethon organization's 990 federal tax form to try to get clear info on how much is raised in contrast to how much it costs to produce the telethon.

"That form will tell you exactly what they make and how they make it. And they raise, curiously enough, quite a bit of money without their telethons."

He adds that he has nothing against the Muscular Dystrophy Association raising money, he just thinks the organization should take a different approach. An association spokesman says that they try to portray people with disabilities as leaders in the community.

Disability rights groups have produced a half-hour documentary on Ervin's fight and posted it on the Web. It can be viewed at www.thekidsareallright.org.




get more stories like this via email

Cardiovascular disease occurs every 39 seconds and still is the No. 1 killer of Americans, according to the American Heart Association. (Adobe stock)

Health and Wellness

ARLINGTON, Va. -- COVID-19 has exposed inequities in health care, and this year's Greater Washington Region Heart Walk aims to raise funds to close …


Health and Wellness

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Congress has an opportunity to help lower prescription-drug costs for Ohioans, who, along with other Americans pay roughly three …

Social Issues

BLOOMINGTON, IN -- Universities in Indiana are working to support Afghan students and scholars; both those still in Afghanistan and those arriving to …


Advocates for clean energy say installation of air-source or ground-source heat pumps would be best to use in the switch to electricity for heating, cooling and cooking. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

ALBANY, N.Y. - Groups in support of renewable energy are pushing for legislation and other initiatives to accelerate complete electrification of …

Environment

BOISE, Idaho - Action on behalf of Northwest salmon could be in the works after announcements from the Biden administration, leaders in Washington …

The United States currently has 2,000 operational biogas systems linked to farms, landfills, wastewater treatment facilities and food waste, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- After the first settlement of its kind in North Carolina capping limits on emissions from a biogas plant in Sampson County…

Social Issues

HILLSBORO, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Agriculture recently completed an investigation into a suburban Portland school for the misuse of toxic …

Social Issues

HELENA, Mont. - Republican lawmakers in Montana want to investigate the 2020 election. Some are concerned this could weaken trust in voting. In a …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021