The Fourteenth Amendment to The Constitution of the United States guarantees all citizens equal rights and our nation's song talks about a land where we are free. Yet, unless equal means having no access into most public buildings and activities, or even worse left, by fearful relatives, to rot away in asylums; for many of the 50 million Americans with a disability, this is anything but true. Only in recent years has any real progress been made, regarding the rights of individuals with disabilities.
People with disabilities have been mercilessly discriminated against and stigmatized for centuries, affecting all aspects of their lives. Matters that most people take for granted, such as walking up a few stairs, using public restrooms or reaching for items on store shelves, present huge challenges for people with disabilities.
[...] Employers are very aware of this, so the ones who are less than ethical, will continue to get away with until they are stopped. Every day one still hears horror stories about the mistreatment and exploitation of an individual with a disability. This seems to be more prevalent with people who have mental verses physical impairments, as we are all taught, at a very young age, it is not nice to “pick or point at people who look “different.” Furthermore, as sure as Christmas comes each year, a new set of “politically incorrect” criteria is established and words, references and euphemisms just used yesterday, become highly inappropriate and deeply offensive, discriminatory language. [...]
[...] When I read the issues that were critical to the protest, I was appalled, not because I agreed with their complaint, but I had a hard time believing people really would waste time on such petty issues. It appeared that many of the complaints stemmed from slurs Jerry Lewis made 20 or 30 years ago. They seemed to completely disregard the fact Lewis has raised literally billions of dollars for MDA, and all the good he has done, and only focused on a few areas that made me not believe what I was reading. [...]
[...] Because of his struggles, he made great strides in civil rights issues and founded the March of Dimes (Roosevelt, Curtis) Late in the 1960s, minority groups, who, overall, were still dominated by discrimination, bigotry and negativity; all rallied together and took a stand for equal opportunity and equal treatment. The civil rights movement paved the way for disability rights activists to demand equality of opportunity, treatment and access for all persons with disabilities. The disability rights movement focused on improving the quality of life, by removing barriers, addressing accessibility issues and providing the means for education and employment opportunities. [...]
[...] Even though much of this language is explicitly defined, terms such as “reasonable” accommodation, hardship and “qualified” applicant are still open to interpretation. Worse yet, one of the greatest limitations of the entire law has been the ongoing controversy and contradiction regarding the fundamental definition of word disability! According to the ADA, an individual with a disability a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment” (The U.S. [...]
[...] 250,000+ volunteers are involved in the annual Telethon percent of every dollar spent by the MDA goes toward services, research and education, while the balance is applied to fundraising and administration. Lewis has never disclosed his reasons for devoting so much time to this cause, saying, isn't important why he's involved, it's important that he's involved.” (MDA Telethon). Most people would probably agree, this sounds like a man who has devoted much of his life to helping others. In spite of the billions of dollars, Jerry Lewis has helped raised and the benefit it has done, protesters believe MDA should replace Lewis, stop using children on the air and actual put an end to the telethon. [...]
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