Fighting for the Disabled

Disability

Dr. Frederick R. Best sponsored The Disability Rights in Raleigh, North Carolina. Here he met with Vicki Smith, Executive Director.

Through the power of sports, Special Olympics North Carolina transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities like Susie Doyens. Susie was born with Down syndrome and remained practically mute for most of her childhood due to social pressure and anxiety. Special Olympics had a profound impact on Susie and gave her confidence. Help us make a difference.

Olympics girl

The mission of the Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. They are given continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and share personal skills, gifts of the spirit, and friendship with their families, their fellow Special Olympics athletes, and the world.

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Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted in 1990, many social barriers have been removed or reduced for people with disabilities. But there is more work that needs to be done for people with disabilities to become more independent and involved in their world. Good health is important to be able to work, learn, and be engaged within a community.

Over the years Dr. Frederick R. Best has traveled to many cities by airway, and he still finds it difficult to find a comfortable seat because most airplanes are still not up to date with meeting the needs of those who are in wheelchairs, those that may have rods in their legs, or other special needs. Over the years I have observed how poorly some payees take care of the disabled. Must the payees have name brand clothes and their hair nicely groomed, while the disabled’s clothes look like they were purchased from a yard sale, and their hair is not groomed well at all?

DISABILITY RIGHTS

People with disabilities are the poorest, least employed, and least educated minority in America. At the end of 1995, it was estimated that one out of five people in the U.S. had some level of disability, one of ten, severe. Too often, people with disabilities have been treated as second class citizens, shunned and segregated by physical barriers and social stereotypes. They have been discriminated against in employment, schools, and housing, robbed of their personal autonomy, and too often, hidden away and forgotten by the larger society. By and large, people with disabilities continue to be excluded from the American dream.

America has a shameful history of cutting off people with disabilities from the rest of society by sequestering them inside their homes, or consigning them to isolated, often squalid institutions. In Hawaii, for example, thousands of people with Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) were permanently quarantined to isolated islands, cut off from their families and their livelihood. This forced separation, which had no public health justification, continued well into the 1950′s. In 1972, the nation was shocked by film footage showing the filthy and dehumanizing conditions endured by 5,400 mentally disabled children at New York’s Willowbrook “School.”

Historically, people with disabilities have had little success in vindicating their rights in court. In 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the forced sterilization of a woman whose mother and daughter were both mentally retarded. People with mental disabilities were, the Court said, a “menace” who “sap the strength of the state.” Society would be wise to “prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind…. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

The Disability Rights Movement is the initiative to get equal opportunities and equal rights for people with disabilities.

The opportunities and rights in such fields as education, employment, housing and in public life.

The Disability Rights Movement have achieved a lot for persons with disabilities in the United States of America. The good work in America spread out to other countries such as the United Kingdom, Europe and other parts of the world.

Rights for person with disabilities in developed countries are respected.

Persons with disabilities in developed countries enjoy independent living.

To all the physically challenged, you are indeed Born 2 Win.

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