Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ADAPT arrestees (including me) must appear in court 5/22!

I was just on a conference call with National Adapt, as most of you who read this blog regularly know, that's the group that gets arrested for committing civil disobedience in opposition to the institutional bias. That's the federal miscue that guarantees nursing home placement if you can’t handle your bodily needs but not home care.

There were 76 arrestees. I've been with ADAPT for 16 years now. They never have requested us to show up in person for our arraignment. I guess this is intimidation tactic #1. Well, it's not going to work on this woman and I don't think it'll work on any of the other women and men I'm so proud to call my sisters and brothers. In case the Capitol police missed it we’re not a bunch that scares easy.

Too many of us have lost people we care about to facilities and are more like jails than the homes they are supposed to represent. As far I'm concerned, they can make me go to court every day and even put me away, but as long as there is breath in my body I will keep fighting to make sure that no person who doesn't want to be there has to go to a nursing home to get services to survive.

But I do have one problem. My court date is in six days and I have no money to get there. It will cost approximately $367 to get there on a train with my assistant. It will cost approximately $200 to stay in a hotel room with other activists. That's almost $600 I don't have.

If you would like to help me out, please message me for my address or you can PayPal me at martina_robinson@hotmail.com. Any extra money I receive will go directly to National AD APT. Thanks for your support and please share this blog post with others. In answer to the obvious question, yes I am planning on doing this again and again and again, for as long as it takes to Free Our People!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fight the DOL's misguided attempts to help

Note: The following is a letter I wrote to the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. They had a hearing at 10 AM. You can still comment to the Department of Labor direct about the regulation until tomorrow. Click here!

I am deeply concerned about the effect, however unintended, that the new Department of Labor (DOL) rules will have in my life, that of my PCA's, and the lives of my many other friends with significant disabilities. I’m so glad that the subcommittee had this hearing.

Let me tell you what I face as person with Cerebral Palsy. The amendment against hiring friends is ludicrous. Am I to spend several hours per day with someone I don’t care for or about? Why would I or anyone choose to do that? I am very active and tend to pick PCA’s who enjoy the activities I enjoy. Most of my best assistants are already my friends when they are hired, if not they quickly become so. I go to their kid’s birthday parties, we go out to eat when they are not working, and/or we chat on the phone or Facebook. I am still friends with a good number of my former PCA’s. Now the DOL is trying to tell me that I can’t hire those people anymore, simply because we’re friends? Where then do I find new help?

Also the 40 hour a week limit without mandating overtime pay without increasing Medicare or Medicaid’s budget for PCA care is another big problem. If you were simply going to pay my PCA’s extra for the hours they worked over 40, I would be rejoicing, because this would mean that the people I took on trips, who work very hard with no breaks until I return would be especially rewarded, but because you don’t control the budget of Medicare or Medicaid, these same people would be forced to work just as hard for over $900 less in pay when they travel with me. This is not fair and will result in me missing events much more than usual. This will then affect my bottom line economically as a reporter, because I’ll be able to cover fewer things. I worked really hard to get where I am and don’t feel the DOL should interfere in my employability. Isn’t that the opposite of their intended effect?

If I must reduce my assistance hours to 40 weekly per person, one person who works for me would need to move. My emergency PCA would need to fill in, for probably no pay unless she wanted me to run out of hours- creating yet another problem in the long run, until I found a new person. This process sometimes takes weeks, especially if I’m not permitted to use my regular channels. How is that fair to her?

Passing this proposal would hurt me, hurt my PCA’s, and help no one. Please consider this in your decision making.

Martina Robinson