Friday, August 28, 2020



Things may seem quiet, but important D.C. advocacy work and activities continue on virtual platforms:

 -          Rights of people during the pandemic. Over the last two months I’ve been part of a team helping DDS develop training guidance on protecting people’s rights during the pandemic.  Beginning next week DDS will be rolling out this training, entitled “Assuring Rights During Covid 19.”  Most DDS service coordinators have already received the training.  I’ve written frequently over the summer about the fact that some DDS provider agencies have been imposing their own restrictions on people’s movements and outside contacts during the District’s reopening, but this training should address that concern.  For more information contact Emily Ornstein at 

-          Getting some day services under way.  As of today, nine DDS day-services providers have submitted their reopening plans to DDS, and the first DDS responses will go out next week.  Individuals’ CPAQ (Community Participation Assessment and Questionnaire) meetings, to discuss people’s interest in, and specific support needs, to enable re-engagement in day services, are also starting up.  For people needing employment readiness services, DDS is indicating that there will be close coordination between the DDA and RSA sides of the house, with RSA counselors set to attend team meetings and a focus on moving people toward paid employment on an accelerated timetable.  Contact Kirk Dobson at for more information.

 -          DDS Friday calls. Each Friday at noon, Andy Reese continues to host calls to update the D.C. community on how the covid crisis, and the city’s response to it, is affecting the people it supports.  Archived recordings of those calls as well as other key covid-related information can be found on the DDS website at

 -          Memorial service being planned.  As of Friday, August 28, 33 people receiving DDS supports have died due to covid-related causes.  A group is meeting periodically to plan an in-person memorial gathering in the fall.  If you’re interested in being part of the planning, contact Rebecca Salon at

 -          Police interactions with the disabled community.  A group continues to meet on Mondays under the umbrella of the DD Council to consider recommendations we want to make about improving MPD interactions with disabled people.  Ron Hampton, former MPD officer and current president of the D.C. Autism Society chapter, is leading this group.  If you’d like to join the dialogue, please be in touch with Alison Whyte at

 -          New school year. The new school year is upon us, and although it will start virtually, parents are scrambling to make preparations.  (See Laura Lorenzen, the new DC liaison for MANSEF (see, joined a regular call of disability advocates on September 26 to talk about challenges parents are facing in obtaining necessary immunizations for their children, and the need to extend the waiver of telehealth licensing requirements, which is set to end on October 9.

I’ve spoken personally with any number of you over recent weeks, and I know we’re all managing as best we can.  Fortunately, our region is doing better at weathering this period of crisis than many other parts of the country, but we all need to be alert, careful, and mutually supportive.  Keep track of the latest D.C.-wide information at

Thursday, August 6, 2020

John Lewis Legacy

When I read my (print edition) Washington Post each morning over breakfast, I routinely flip past the full-page ads.  Today, though, page A5 grabbed my attention and held it.  A full-page photograph of late U.S. representative John Lewis is accompanied by the words, “I’m so blessed that my father’s story – as a servant leader and champion for civil and human rights – was shared with you, the people of D.C.” 

There have been so many tributes to John Lewis recently, but this one had a special, personal impact.  It was directed to us, the people of D.C.  We so rarely see ourselves, as people, recognized by anyone other than our mayor or other political leaders in our city.  Coming from John Lewis’ family, this acknowledgement sent a lump into my throat.

Just take a look yourself.  And while you’re there, you can leave a tribute to this great man at

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Mayor's Reopening Applies to People DDS Supports

In a blog post several weeks ago (, I pointed out that some DDA provider agencies continue to resist the idea that the mayor’s reopening guidance applies to the people they support. 

If there still was any confusion on this point, it should have been made crystal-clear as of yesterday when DDS posted this guidance:  

Please share this widely, since people’s rights continue to be restricted and it needs to stop now.  This is indeed a time of risk, and good support and guidance are needed.  But rights still are rights.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Helping a Friend in a Time of Trial

Many of you know Heidi Case, who used to be the Project ACTION! coordinator and now chairs DDOT's Multimodal Accessibility Advisory Council (MAAC).  She has recently suffered a grievous loss and now has funeral and related expenses for which she has established a GoFundMe page:  Please give if you can.