On the evening of March 13th, Amateur Astronomers, Inc. came to ACI to do a wonderful interactive presentation on the night sky! The participants listened to presenter, Mike Gironda, talk about not only how to find things in the night sky, but expanding on last year’s event by teaching information about aspects within constellations and fun facts about our galaxy. The second presenter, Jim Nordhauser, brought equipment for participants to learn about and interact with. He had different types of telescopes and binoculars as well as a huge telescope that he built himself. Before and after going outside to look at the night sky, participants enjoyed cups of hot cocoa. Thank you to Mike, Jim, and Mary of Amateur Astronomers, Inc. who made the night entertaining and informative!
Disability advocacy organizations, including ADAPT and ACI have been advocating for passage of the federal Disability Integration Act of 2019. This proposed federal legislation ensures that any insurance company willing to provide institutional support would also be required to cover home and community based support for individuals with long term services and supports. When enacted, this law will allow individuals the option of obtaining those needed services in their home or community rather than in an institutional or segregated residential setting. In January, the Disability Integration Act was reintroduced in US Senate (Bill no. S 117) and in the US House of Representative (Bill No. H.R. 555).
Visit disabilityintegrationact.org for more information.
Senator Cory Booker, and Representatives Donald Payne Jr., Bonnie Watson Coleman and Chris Smith have signed their names onto this important bi-partisan (support from Republicans and Democrats) legislation, and we want to thank them. However, several lawmakers from NJ who have not yet publicly supported the Disability Integration Act, including Senator Robert Menendez, Rep. Frank Pallone (6th Congressional District) and Rep. Mikie Sherril (11th Congressional District).
The Alliance Center for Independence (ACI) is a Center for Independent Living and a DVRS vendor and a DDD approved Fee-For-Service agency in Edison, NJ. ACI provides support services in Middlesex, Union and Somerset counties. ACI supports the philosophy of independent living for all persons with disabilities.
We are currently seeking a pre-employment instructor. This person will be primarily responsible for working with high school students with disabilities to provide pre-employment instruction, as well as support in applying for jobs/college. Instruction is individualized as well as group-based, and takes place at our center in Edison, and at high schools throughout Middlesex, Somerset, and Union counties.
In the past 5 years, over 650 people with disabilities have been murdered by their parents/caregivers. 184 new murders this year. Disabled lives cannot be valued less than the lives of those without disabilities. It cannot be excused, minimized or normalized. On the night of March 1st, we honored the victims by reading their names out loud. Rest in peace...you are remembered. Thank you to those who joined us on this difficult evening.
On February 22nd, ACI and friends attended the George Street Playhouse production of Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical. The evening was a fun night out filled with the songs written and sung by Ms. Simone, “The High Priestess of Soul”. The play is an engaging mix of song and commentary about her life. Laiona Michelle, the writer and actress portraying Nina Simone embodies Ms. Simone’s passion, fierceness, and commanding stage presence. Ms. Michelle and company were amazing to watch for both Nina Simone fans and audience members who didn’t know any of her music. Thank you to the staff of George Street Playhouse for a wonderful night, especially to Lolly and Megan who made sure our visit went smoothly.
New Jersey’s Centers for Independent Living are a vital part of the disability community, yet are consistently underfunded. For this reason, the New Jersey Association of Centers for Independent Living is asking for state funding in the amount of 4 million dollars to be divided amongst the 11 Centers across New Jersey. Please sign our letter endorsing our efforts and showing the Governor the importance of disability-led organizations!
The Disability Integration Act (DIA) was recently reintroduced in the US House of Representatives and US Senate. DIA is a bipartisan, bicameral legislation that ensures that disabled Americans have the right to live and receive services in their own homes. ACI joined other advocacy organizations throughout the country in celebrating the reintroduction of this important legislation. ACI has been contacting our representatives to urge them co-sponsor this legislation. Advocates hope to have it passed the house by July 26, 2019, the anniversary of the ADA. We are happy to announce that US Senator Cory Booker and NJ Representatives Donald Payne and Bonnie Watson-Coleman have signed on as co-sponsors!
If you're interested in learning more about DIA and how you can advocate for its passage, please contact Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org or Maggie at email@example.com or visit disabilityintegrationact.org.