For MLK Day, this newsletter clipping about a speech I gave at Rev. King’s old church in Montgomery

Posted by – January 17, 2011

The University of Alabama
Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program
School of Law Clinical Program

2003 Alabama Disability Summit

On August 14, 2003 the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program hosted its
third annual Disability Summit. Disability rights activists, advocates,
consumers, family members, and others gathered at the historic Dexter
Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church for a morning session that featured
Mr. Nick Dupree, Secretary of State Nancy Worley, Department of Mental
Health and Mental Retardation Commissioner Kathy Sawyer, and Governor
Bob Riley.

Mr. Dupree led off the session discussing the Supreme Court's Olmstead
v. L.C. decision in relation to Brown v. Board of Education, comparing
the racial desegregation of schools in Brown to desegregation of persons
with disabilities under Olmsted through deinstitutionalization and
community placement. Nick Dupree is a veteran disability rights activist
at the age of twenty-one. His efforts, along with ADAP, and “Nick's
Crusade" (www.nickscrusade.com) led to the development of a new
Technology Assistance Waiver approved by Medicaid in February 2003. This
waiver allows qualified Alabamians with disabilities over the age of
twenty-one to receive services at home, thereby limiting the need to
place these young adults in institutions.

Following Mr. Dupree, Secretary of State Nancy Worley addressed
accessible voting for persons with disabilities and Alabama. Secretary
Worley expressed her commitment to ensuring accessible voting and
explained the provisions of the recently enacted Help America Vote Act
(HAVA) that apply to persons with disabilities. Secretary Worley
encouraged people to contact her office (www.sos.state.al.us) with any
questions or comments about the new HAVA requirements.

Any problems with voting for persons with disabilities should be
reported to her office. Kathy Sawyer presented an overview of the Wyatt
Settlement. Commissioner Sawyer praised the progress the Department of
Mental Health and Mental Retardation has made under Wyatt. The
Commissioner also urged the audience to exercise their right to vote in
the upcoming tax referendum on September 9.

Gov. Riley concluded the morning session by outlining his proposed tax
package. The Governor emphasized that the package will both increase tax
revenue for the state and relieve the tax burden of those least able to
pay. Warning that misinformation about the tax package is being
circulated, Governor Riley asked voters to educate themselves about
details of the program. At the close of the Governor's address, ADAP
staff and guests marched from the Church to the State Capitol Building
for lunch and the afternoon session.