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.
Disability Rights California works to help people with intellectual/developmental disabilities access language services that reflect their needs, choices and cultural values.
The California Memorial Project (CMP) seeks to honor and restore dignity to individuals who lived and died in California state institutions. From the mid-1800s to the 1960s, it is estimated that more than 45,000 individuals died while residents in state institutions. For the most part, the remains of the individuals were placed in unmarked or numbered graves in mass sites, where numbered markers long ago disappeared. Many records identifying where bodies were buried have been misplaced or destroyed.
When the California Department of Rehabilitation did not provide services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals, Disability Rights California stepped in on their behalf.
Members of DRC’s Multicultural Affairs Unit teamed up with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Center in Fresno to conduct an employment forum where members of the community shared their concerns and received information about their rights.
Disability Rights California strives to ensure effective communication for blind and visually impaired individuals. We also work to make sure people with disabilities can access the same products and services as everyone else.
Suit forces California State Lottery to make businesses that sell its products accessible to people with disabilities
Disability Rights California sued the California Lottery in 1998 because it placed its products in businesses that weren't accessible to people with disabilities.
Mendocino homeless shelter saved from possible closure
For more than three decades, Mendocino Coast Hospitality House (MCHC) has steadfastly followed the same mission, “To feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and to provide a personal path to self-sufficiency.” In 2017, that mission was threatened when the shelter faced “Not in My Backyard” opposition from a small but vocal group of neighbors. The shelter provides critical services to people in the City of Fort Bragg, including people with disabilities.
The primary goal of special education advocacy at Disability Rights California is to ensure that students with disabilities receive an education designed to meet their unique needs and educational opportunities that enrich them academically and socially. These three cases highlight DRC’s efforts.
DRC reaches largest settlement of its kind with BART
Ann Cupolo was dressed for an evening at the theater with her husband. When she rolled her wheelchair onto an elevator at a San Francisco BART station, she had to go through urine and feces. This was a common experience for people with disabilities. There were other problems with BART. BART often had broken elevators and escalators with no advanced notice for riders, leaving them stranded upon arrival at their destination stations.
Disability Rights California has been a state and national leader in investigating and highlighting the risks of behavioral restraint and championing legislation to prohibit dangerous practices.
The Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA) provides advocacy services to regional center consumers who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In 1999, Disability Rights California, then known as Protection and Advocacy Inc. (PAI), was awarded the contract by the Department of Developmental Services to provide clients’ rights advocacy services to consumers of California’s 21 regional centers. Soon, OCRA would become PAI’s largest unit with 65 employees.
The California Office of Patients’ Rights (COPR) was created in 1993 to advocate for the rights of residents at California’s state psychiatric hospitals. COPR also provides technical assistance and training to county patients’ rights advocates. Before Disability Rights California was awarded the contract to provide these services, state hospital advocates were employees of the state of California.