Women with Disabilities & Allies Forum -- Linking Arms for Equality & Justice for All

Women with Disabilities and Allies Forum
Linking Arms for Equality and Justice for All
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Session 1: Saturday, 10:15 am - 11:45 am
Session 2: Saturday, 2:15 pm - 3:30 pm
Session 3: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5 pm
Evening Session 1: Saturday, 7:45 pm - 9:15 pm
Evening Session 2: Saturday, 9:30 pm - 11 pm
Session 4: Sunday, 10:45 am - 12 noon

Session 1: Saturday, 10:15 am - 11:45 am

Voting for our Lives
Room: Cabinet Suite
We will discuss the historical significance of women getting the vote, the civil rights movement and feminist movements of the 50's, 60's and 70's and the parallel development of participation of people with disabilities in voting activities and the election process. We will discuss the most updated information on the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and Accessible Voting Machines. We will conduct non-partisan voter training techniques and information for people to utilize in their own communities, increasing voting opportunities for women.
Linda Berg, Political Director, NOW; James Dickson, VP, Governmental Affairs, AAPD; Lorre Leon Mendelson, CEO, en-LIGHTNING Consulting, Nashville, TN

Building Coalitions for Women with Disabilities
Room: Crystal Ballroom
Coalitions are a constant force and presence in the search for civil rights. This workshop discusses the need for coalitions and why women with disabilities can reap enormous benefits from forming them. This workshop will also discuss how to use technology (web-site and email lists) as an instrument for empowerment while building a virtual community to facilitate communication between women with disabilities and allies in the resistance to political, economic, social and gender inequality.
Barbara Anello, DisAbled Women's Network (DAWN), Ontario; Rosaline Crawford, National Association of the Deaf Law & Advocacy Center, Silver Spring, MD; Melissa Felder, National Association of the Deaf Law & Advocacy Center, Silver Spring, MD

Equality in the Workplace: Exploring Issues Facing All Women
Room: Judiciary Suite
In this workshop, we will review issues of equality faced by women and persons with disabilities in today's workplace. In particular, we will review the legal history, statistics, pertinent discrimination lawsuits, employment issues, and the resources available for women and persons with disabilities should they be faced with discrimination. Participants will be asked to contribute throughout the workshop by citing specific examples from their work experiences.
Renee Champagne, Independent Health Care Consultant, Chicopee, MA; Peggy Mastroianni, Associate Legal Counsel, EEOC, Washington, D.C.

The Challenges of and Public Policy about Women with Disabilities in Mid-Life and Later Life
Room: Old Georgetown
We will lay the groundwork for understanding both early- and late-acquired disabilities, using recently released findings that expand implications for public policy. The workshop will also address the various challenges faced by aging women with disabilities who require both independence and integration in the community. Finally, this workshop will present a "tools" based tour of an "Interface Model" (meeting place) to illustrate the value and means of linking older individuals, especially women, with groups they wish or need to interact with to help insure they are "invisible no more."
Teddie-Joy Remhild, Community Liaison Coordinator, Personal Assistance Services Council, Los Angeles County Public Authority for In-Home Supportive Services, Sherman Oaks, CA; Mary Jo Gibson, Senior Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute, Washington, D.C.; Linda Misek-Falkoff, Speaker of the National Disability Party, Civil Society/Non-Governmental Rep. to the U.N. Disability Convention, Pleasantville, NY

Session 2: Saturday, 2:15 pm - 3:30 pm

Women with (Dis)Abilities: Facts and Fictions of Identity and Ally Building
Room: Judiciary Suite
We will explore the relationship between social forces and the representation of women with (dis)abilities in popular culture, focusing especially on how social attitudes maintain, transform and complicate popular images in our culture. Stigma management strategies, passing, ableism, the culture of disability, activism, and alliance building will be presented. How we as college students understand disability, our participation in oppressive practices and what it means to be an ally will also be discussed.
Annie Torres, Roohi Abdulia and Erin Stevens, with Kathy McMahon-Klosterman and Jean Lynch as Moderators, Miami University of Ohio, Oxford, OH

Violence Against Women in the Mental Health System
Room: Cabinet Suite
This workshop will examine how the mental health system often serves to re-traumatize women, the vast majority of whom have already suffered some form of abuse in their lives. Issues to be discussed include the risk of physical and sexual assault, as well as routine practices such as forced psycho-tropic drugging, electroshock, seclusion and restraint, and being confined against one's will; these practices, far from fostering healing, give women additional trauma to cope with. Also to be discussed is the work of psychiatric disability activists to ensure the inclusion of the rights of people with psychiatric disabilities into the United Nations Convention on Disability.
Laurie Ahern, Associate Director, Mental Disability Rights International; Leah I. Harris, Board Member, National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy; Kevin Ann Huckshorn, RN, MSN, CAP, Director of Office of Technical Assistance, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors; Tina Minkowitz, J.D., Board member, World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry

Dykes, Disabilities and Discrimination
Room: Old Georgetown
This workshop will explore the intersection of sexism, homophobia and disabilaphobia. We will also address the issues of medical power of attorney, wills and other such necessary papers that lesbian couples must have to insure their rights. Via a dialogue between panelists and the audience, we will focus on solutions to these vexing issues.
Tobi Hale, President, Colorado NOW, former NOW Foundation board member; Greta Edwards, freelance writer & NOW Foundation board member, Northeast Region; Laura Hershey, writer and activist, CO; Susan M. Bader, NOW Foundation board member and President of Ohio Women, Inc.; Josie Byzek, Associate Editor, New Mobility Magazine

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Women, Long Term Disabilities, the Workplace and Work-Based Benefits in North America
Room: Crystal Ballroom
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer and AIDS are just a few of the long-term debilitating illnesses that strike a disproportionate number of women in the prime of their lives in North America. These diseases are so complex medically and socially that the women who live with them sometimes fall outside what are considered to be the boundaries of our workplace systems and work-based benefits systems. This panel of women from Canada, Mexico and the United States, who have suffered from, counseled or represented women who suffer from one or more of these diseases, will talk about being a woman, having a long-term debilitating illness and what it's like to "fall off the sidewalk."
Tequila Brooks, Labor Law Advisor, Commission for Labor Cooperation Secretariat, Washington, D.C.; Margarita Concepcion, Associate Trainer, HIV Prevention Network, Rural Opportunities Inc.; Barbara Grimster, Lupus Canada, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada; Margarita Andrade Zavala, Mexican Foundation for the Struggle Against Aids, Mexico City, Mexico; Patricia Smith, attorney, Alexandria, VA

Session 3: Saturday, 3:45 pm - 5 pm

Social Security and Disabilities: Policy Issues for Women with Disabilities and Women who Care for Family Members with Disabilities
Room: Crystal Ballroom
The workshop will discuss what the privatization of Social Security would mean for women with disabilities and women who care for family members who are disabled. We will focus on the methods of calculating benefits under Social Security and how these methods could put women and individuals with disabilities in an even more vulnerable position under privatization.
Diana Zuckerman, President, National Center for Policy Research for Women and Families, Washington, D.C.

Caregiving Issues
Room: Cabinet Suite
Women today are often strained by the demands of balancing careers and family life. This workshop will look at some of the experiences that women with disabilities face as they pursue careers as well as manage family life and disability-related concerns.
Laura Hershey, writer and activist, CO; Lora Brugnaro, Institute for Community Inclusion / U. Mass-Boston

End-of-Life Choices, Physician Assisted Suicide and "Mercy" Killing: Feminism and Disability Rights-Point/Counterpoint
Room: Old Georgetown
The issues of end-of-life choices and physician assisted suicide, while strongly supported in the feminist community, have created controversy in the disability community. While assisted suicide and euthanasia have been viewed as a progressive social cause, 12 national disability organizations have adopted positions opposing legalization, asserting that it poses a threat to people with disabilities. This workshop will address these contrasting views, the right to control our lives and bodies, state legislation, legal challenges and safeguards against abuse.
Nancy Buermeyer, End-of-Life Choices, Washington, D.C.; Diane Coleman, President, Not Dead Yet, Forest Park, IL; Marilyn Golden, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund; Paul Spiers, End-of-Life Choices, Boston, MA. Moderated by Greta Edwards, NOW Foundation board member, Northeast Region.

Ending the Silence: Ensuring Access to Support for Survivors of Caregiver Violence
Room: Judiciary Suite
This educational workshop will focus on providing a foundation of knowledge about the dynamics of caregiver violence and disability. Participants will discuss the dynamics of power in caregiver relationships, a unique risk factor for abuse experienced by people with disabilities. Participants will also explore how feminist and disability advocates can build bridges and strengthen their working relationships so that women with disabilities who experience caregiver violence are ensured access to abuse prevention and intervention supports and services.
Michelle Schwartz and Rand Metcalfe, Disability Services ASAP (A Safety Awareness Program) of SafePlace, Austin, TX

Evening Session 1: Saturday, 7:45 pm - 9:15 pm

Stop the Violence, Break the Silence: Collaborating to End Violence Against Women with Disabilities
Room: Judiciary Suite
While the feminist movement has made great progress addressing sexual assault and domestic violence, the impact of abuse on women with disabilities is still not fully understood, resulting in the limited accessibility of services. Similarly, though disability advocates often know of experiences of victimization in the community, little collaboration is in place to prevent abuse or provide support for survivors. This gap in services creates a call for feminist and disability rights advocates to unite. This workshop will focus on how the shared ideals of these movements can work to end violence against all women.
Michelle Schwartz, Disability Services ASAP (A Safety Awareness Program) of SafePlace, Austin, TX; Linda Miller, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago; Ginger Lane, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Global Sisterhood is Powerful! International Opportunities For ALL Women And Girls
Room: Cabinet Suite
Explore the employment, volunteering and study opportunities open to women and girls through international exchange and disability rights program participation. Learn about the changes women with disabilities are making as leaders globally in international development and exchange. Identify the options and resources available to you as you explore your potential.
Lynnae Rutledge, Mobility International USA, Eugene, OR

Barriers to Ending Abuse: Tackling Issues of Abuse by Caregivers
Room: Old Georgetown
This interactive workshop will address the numerous issues related to the abuse of women with disabilities by caregivers. The workshop will look at the similarities and differences between caregiver abuse and domestic violence, as well as the barriers experienced by women with disabilities when trying to end the abuse.
Leslie Myers, Independence First, Milwaukee, WI

Women and Philanthropy: Fundraising for Women's and Disability Issues
Room: Diplomat and Ambassador Rooms
Disability Funders Network (DFN) and Women & Philanthropy are co-sponsoring a meeting to plan a new initiative to focus on funding issues of concern to women with disabilities. We also believe that our meeting will provide an opportunity for conference attendees to learn about the efforts and capacities of grant makers interested in women with disabilities and the intersection of women's issues and those of people with disabilities. Women & Philanthropy is an association of grant makers committed to improving the lives of women and girls; DFN is a national association of grant makers that facilitates communication and collaboration between the disability community and organized philanthropy in order to increase funding that benefits people with disabilities.
Jeanne Argoff, Executive Director, Disability Funders Network (DFN); Kim Otis, Executive Director, Women & Philanthropy

Evening Session 2: Saturday, 9:30 pm - 11 pm

"Singing the Body Electric!": Unlocking the Power of Comedy Improvisation
Room: Cabinet Suite
This is an interactive program that combines music with the art of comedy improvisation. If you love the TV show "Whose Line is it Anyway?" or if you've ever wondered "just how do they think that stuff up?" this workshop is for you. Come and see for yourself how simple improv exercises can unlock the power in you!
Jamie Ray, Too Many Lawyers Comedy Improv Troupe, Philadelphia, PA

Mothertongue: Including All Feminists in the Arts Room: Old Georgetown Mothertongue is an arts organization in Washington, D.C. that seeks to empower women by providing spoken word spaces and workshops. Rachel Brill and Kelly Mack have worked with Mothertongue to make it accessible to women with disabilities and build awareness about disability issues in the feminist community.
Kelly Mack & Rachel Brill, Mothertongue, Washington, D.C.

Befriending Our Bodies, Soothing Our Souls: Stress-Reduction and Self-Care for Empowering Ourselves and Changing the World
Room: Judiciary Suite
We can only give what we have. As activists, it behooves us to serve, lead and create change from a place of fullness and vitality. This session will provide the empowering tools you need for body, mind and life so that you return home overflowing with peace and personal power.
Wendy Hilsen-Bernard, Still River Resources, Brookfield, CT

Session 4: Sunday 10:45 am - 12 noon

Reproductive Freedom and the Right to Maternity and Custody for Women with Disabilities
Room: Old Georgetown
This interactive workshop will examine the systemic barriers women with disabilities face when becoming and staying parents. Topics covered will include reproductive choices, the right to become a parent, the right to maintain custody of your children, important legal decisions, and ways to achieve independent parenting and to be autonomous in the parenting role when assistance is needed. Women with disabilities and allies will be able to identify the barriers to reproductive freedom for women with disabilities and also learn tools to break down those barriers in their own networks.
Carrie Ann Lucas, Colorado Cross Disability Coalition; Trish Day, Parents with Disabilities Online; Nancy Groth Blasdel, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Women and Hidden Disabilities in the Workplace
Room: Cabinet Suite
This workshop addresses the particular problems and needs that women may face in the workplace. When working or seeking work, women are more likely than men to face issues relating to hidden disabilities that range from depression, to domestic violence, to sex-specific illnesses. This workshop will review the range of innovative strategies, including education, appellate advocacy and legislative reforms, necessary to advance workplace rights for women with hidden disabilities.
Robin R. Runge, Commission on Domestic Violence, American Bar Association, Washington, D.C.; Claudia Center, Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, San Francisco; Elizabeth Kristen, Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, San Francisco; Patricia A. Shiu, Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, San Francisco

Health Care Access
Room: Crystal Ballroom
This workshop identifies barriers to health care for women with mobility disabilities, and presents creative and successful approaches for eliminating those barriers. Issues addressed include a woman's legal right to accessible health care under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the need for a system that focuses on the individual needs of each woman. The panelists will present two unique advocacy-based models—the first emphasizes the elimination of barriers to breast cancer education and screening, and the second focuses on the formation of a successful coalition between women with disabilities and traditional women's organizations that resulted in passage of a state law improving overall access to gynecological services for women with disabilities.
Anne Marie Pecht, M.P.P., J.D., U.S. Department of Justice, Disability Rights Section; Amanda Maisels, J.D., U.S. Dept. of Justice, Disability Rights Section; Pamela D. Dodge, MSN, RN, McGee Women's Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA; Kate McCarthy-Barnett, Ed.D., Rhode Island Breast Cancer Coalition ACCESS for Women with Disabilities Program; Cristine T. Fortunato, Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, Connecticut; Margaret McDermott, President, CT Women and Disability Network, Inc., Hartford, CT. Moderated by Irene Bowen, J.D., U.S. Dept. of Justice, Disability Rights Section.

Women in Business: Economic Independence through Self-Employment
Room: Judiciary Suite
This session will address barriers to business ownership for women with disabilities including the inaccessibility of mainstream business development resources, disincentives to asset accumulation, and access to credit. Lind will weave into the presentation stories of women who have succeeded in business despite the odds and will identify critical traits among successful entrepreneurs.
Patti Lind, The Abilities Fund, Centerville, IA; Elizabeth Lind, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Washington, D.C.

In consideration of those with allergies and respiratory problems, the Women with Disabilities & Allies Forum is a scent free event. Participants are asked to use unscented products in lieu of scented toiletries and detergents, and to refrain from wearing perfumes and colognes.

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