Celebrating 40 Years of Advancing an Inclusive and Barrier-free California
For 40 years, Disability Rights California has advanced and protected the rights of Californians with disabilities. We have stopped abuse, obtained critical benefits and prevented the state from cutting important services. Our advocacy and litigation has directly helped almost a million individuals while having beneficial outcomes for millions more. Last year alone, our advocacy resulted in over $5 million dollars in services and benefits to Californians with disabilities.
To celebrate DRC’s 40th anniversary, each week we will feature the moving story of an individual or group that DRC has helped over its 40 years. After each story is released, it will be archived below in chronologically order of when it occurred in our 40 year history.
Join us in our celebration by making a donation and sharing the stories about your work with your network and in your community.
Thank you for your years of support and for helping us advance and protect the rights of Californians with disabilities.
DRC opposes cruel and inhumane immigration policies, including the separation and/or indefinite detention of immigrant families. These policies are especially harmful to immigrants with disabilities. We are conducting monitoring programs at these facilities.
Catalina is an immigrant with mental health disabilities who is seeking asylum in the United States. She fled her country due to violence and sexual abuse at the hands of her partner. Men raped her multiple times while she traveled to the U.S. looking for a safe haven.
DRC work on Access to In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)
The In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program in California serves approximately 550,000 people with disabilities, including seniors and children. The purpose of the IHSS program is to provide attendant care services to people who would otherwise be forced into institutions. It is the backbone of home and community based services in California.
Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, California has quite a history. Founded in 1888 by the County of Los Angeles, “Rancho”, as it’s often called, is a respected, nationally known rehabilitation hospital for people with disabilities, serving thousands of patients each year. Important health care innovations, including the “halo” device used to support the head and neck of spinal cord injury patients were invented at Rancho. Rancho was also legendary for its physical, occupational and respiratory therapy services.
Frances tried to apply for a place to live with the Richmond Housing Authority. She wanted to stay at one of the apartment complexes for seniors and people with disabilities. The housing authority told Frances it was not accepting applications and it could not add her to the waiting list since she was under the age of 62.
A pregnant Jessica Franks and her one-year-old son went to the San Diego Rescue Mission after she separated from her abusive husband.
The Mission’s Center for Women and Children is a residence for homeless women and children who live at the facility while completing a 12-month program. The shelter told Jessica it required residents of the program to attend chapel services and religious programs.
People with disabilities have the right to vote privately and independently like anyone else. When that doesn’t happen, DRC helps individuals advocate for that right. Here are the stories of three people who helped advocate for their voting rights.
David Oster is active in his community and passionate about disability rights issues. He has autism and a mental health disability so he relies on his In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provider to help him with cooking, cleaning and going to doctor’s appointments. David knows that without support from IHSS, his ability to live independently and safely in his own apartment is seriously at risk.
Mark Chambers was a successful computer systems manager before suffering a head injury in 1999. Soon after, he was institutionalized at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, a large nursing facility in San Francisco.
“I don’t want to spend the rest of my life here. I want to be part of the world outside,” Chambers said in a 2006 press release by Disability Rights California, then known as Protection and Advocacy, Inc. (PAI).
There’s no place like home for Joaquin and Leonarda
Everyone wants to live in the community of their choice with their families and friends. Unfortunately, some people with disabilities don’t receive the services they need or have to move far from their family and friends to get them. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. If people have access to specialized services and supports they can stay in their homes even if they need extra help.
DRC advocates for people with disabilities to hold jobs in typical workplace environments with coworkers who do not have disabilities.
Bill Chandler worked in a sheltered workshop earning less than $6.00 a week. He knew he was capable of holding a more satisfying job in the community and one that would help him support his family. DRC Advocate Rebecca Hoyt helped him get a job he enjoys, doing maintenance work at a Sam’s Club.