One community meeting
Traditionally underserved communities of color and poverty that have been affected in myriad ways by proximity to industrial waste and hazard sites also experience a high prevalence of disability. Adults and the families of children with disabilities who live in these communities are profoundly unaware of federal and state laws designed to protect them from disability discrimination and ensure reasonable accommodations that will help achieve access to equal educational, employment and social opportunities.
Your contribution will support one half-day community meeting with local leaders and residents with disabilities in West Oakland, California. DREDF has been reaching out to grassroots community organizations that have organized in response to environmental injustice in their neighborhoods. Community meetings provide a forum to strengthen our collaboration and plan future steps including methods to promote disability anti-discrimination education, training and, if necessary, litigation in conjunction with self-advocacy for environmental justice. Such meetings enable us to determined the legal and policy needs of individuals with disabilities in these communities, and advocate for physical access and programmatic accommodation needs of residents with disabilities to be taken into account during a neighborhood’s planning process and not only as an afterthought. A longer-range goal is to refine a working model of a disability rights-environmental justice relationship that could be replicated and further refined in any community that has been affected by environmental injustice.