WBEZ | disability http://www.wbez.org/tags/disability Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Global Activism: Equally Able Foundation provides disability services in India http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-equally-able-foundation-provides-disability-services-india <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/08 Bookstore for muscular dy patient.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mohammed Yousuf survived polio. It led him to care deeply about empowering people with disabilities in the U.S. and abroad. He started the <a href="http://www.equallyable.org/">Equally Able Foundation</a>, an organization dedicated to providing services in India and other countries to give assistive equipment, education and employment opportunities to disabled individuals. Yousuf joins us to tell us about the foundation and what it&#39;s doing to try to help change the lives of the disabled in India.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/176779688&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Mohammed Yousuf wants to change attitudes toward accepting individuals with disabilities:</p><blockquote><p>From education to providing equipment to creating self-employment, at Equally Able, we have dedicated ourselves to bringing a change in the lives of people with disabilities. We have also tried to find ways to increase inclusion and disability awareness within the communities by organizing workshops and seminars. Because more than the accessible ramps and restrooms, we need welcoming environments and attitudes towards accepting individuals with disabilities.</p><p>Over the years, Equally Able has transformed the lives of thousands of individuals with disabilities around the world. This would not have been possible without the tremendous support of our board of trustees, donors and volunteers. And certainly not without the support and encouragement of my family, my kids and especially my wife, Humera, who is there for me always.</p></blockquote></p> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 11:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-equally-able-foundation-provides-disability-services-india Wheelchair-bound couple describes budding romance http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/wheelchair-bound-couple-describes-budding-romance-110626 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140808 Greg Rebecca_bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve actually known each other for six years,&rdquo; Rebecca Wylie says while talking to her boyfriend Greg Anger in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, recorded at the Chicago Cultural Center. They met on Facebook when he was a freshman at the University of Missouri, her alma mater.</p><p>&ldquo;I was in the hospital and I was not sleeping, and Greg was the only one on Facebook at one in the morning, and it kind of just turned into a romance.&rdquo; &ldquo;You&rsquo;re a tough egg to crack, let me tell you,&rdquo; Anger says.</p><p>Wylie is working towards a Law Degree from Loyola University in Chicago with a focus on health care. She is also a quadriplegic, and uses a wheelchair. &ldquo;I wasn&rsquo;t born with my disability,&rdquo; she says. &rdquo;I was seven years old when it happened. So I do know what it&rsquo;s like to ride a bike and run around.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;What about you?&rdquo; she asks Anger, who is getting a Master&rsquo;s in higher education administration from the University of Alabama, and who also uses a wheelchair. &ldquo;You haven&rsquo;t had the experience of riding a bike like everyone else.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Everything that I&rsquo;ve gotten in my life is somehow connected to me being disabled,&rdquo; Anger said. &ldquo;Which is weird because it&rsquo;s not something that I like to use to identify myself, like, &lsquo;That&rsquo;s the wheelchair basketball player,&rsquo; or &lsquo;That&rsquo;s the guy in the wheelchair.&rsquo; And I don&rsquo;t really like that per se, but then again everything I have gotten in my life is because I&rsquo;m disabled. I wouldn&rsquo;t have went to the University of Missouri to play basketball. I wouldn&rsquo;t have started talking to you.&rdquo;</p><p>And it&rsquo;s the talking to each other that has helped sustain both of them through difficult times.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s kind of hard for me to put into words,&rdquo; Anger said. &ldquo;She has a wonderful heart and personality.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s just very accepting of who I am regardless of any of my abilities or disabilities,&rdquo; Wylie said.</p><p>&ldquo;Living with a disability provides so many daily challenges,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And you have no idea what those challenges are going to be because everyday the challenge is something different. Dealing with that and pushing through it, are the hardest and most rewarding things.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s really nothing we can&rsquo;t do together,&rdquo; Anger said. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re gonna get me to move back to the freezing cold Midwest, you can pretty much do anything because I will tell you that that was not on my plans and now there&rsquo;s nowhere I don&rsquo;t want to be as long as you&rsquo;re there too.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/wheelchair-bound-couple-describes-budding-romance-110626 Artifacts from life, excluded workers tell their stories in 10 objects http://www.wbez.org/news/labor/artifacts-life-excluded-workers-tell-their-stories-10-objects-108871 <p><p dir="ltr">Millions of workers in the U.S. are beyond the reach of basic labor protections. Either by law or by practice, they are excluded from minimum wage laws, overtime rules or the right to organize. Earlier this year, WBEZ profiled some of these workers in the series <a href="http://www.wbez.org/exceptions-rule-108610">Exceptions to the Rule.</a></p><p dir="ltr">But that wasn&rsquo;t the end of the conversation.</p><p dir="ltr">Recently, WBEZ combined forces with Heather Radke at the <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/">Jane Addams Hull House Museum,</a> an organization dedicated to the legacy of social reformer Jane Addams and her many colleagues. Together, we worked with three labor organizations to host an exhibition.</p><p dir="ltr">We asked participants to choose artifacts and write labels about their personal experiences as excluded workers. You can navigate the online version of this exhibition by clicking on the images below or scrolling through the page. These labels are excerpted from the workers own words.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="width: 620px;"><tbody><tr><td><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/labor/artifacts-life-excluded-workers-tell-their-stories-10-objects-108871#cellphone"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/09 phone.jpg" title="" /></a></div></div></td><td><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/labor/artifacts-life-excluded-workers-tell-their-stories-10-objects-108871#pen"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/06 pen.jpg" title="" /></a></div></div></td><td><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/labor/artifacts-life-excluded-workers-tell-their-stories-10-objects-108871#tamale"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/04tamale.jpg" title="" /></a></div></td><td><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/labor/artifacts-life-excluded-workers-tell-their-stories-10-objects-108871#measuringtape"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/02tape.jpg" title="" /></a></div></td><td><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/labor/artifacts-life-excluded-workers-tell-their-stories-10-objects-108871#notebook"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/08 notebook.jpg" title="" /></a></div></td></tr><tr><td><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/labor/artifacts-life-excluded-workers-tell-their-stories-10-objects-108871#desk"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10desk.jpg" title="" /></a></div></td><td><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/labor/artifacts-life-excluded-workers-tell-their-stories-10-objects-108871#trashcan"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/01trash.jpg" title="" /></a></div></td><td><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/labor/artifacts-life-excluded-workers-tell-their-stories-10-objects-108871#screwdriver"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05 screwdriver.jpg" title="" /></a></div></div></td><td><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/labor/artifacts-life-excluded-workers-tell-their-stories-10-objects-108871#painting"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/07 paint.jpg" title="" /></a></div></td><td><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="http://www.wbez.org/news/labor/artifacts-life-excluded-workers-tell-their-stories-10-objects-108871#cooler" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/03cooler.jpg" title="" /></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div><div class="image-insert-image "><br /><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">Donna K. Shaw</strong><br /><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;"><a name="cellphone"></a>Cellphone</strong></div></div><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong>Mail Handler and Machine Operator at the Post Office<br />Access Living, Disabled Workers Want Work Now</strong></span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Online%20Museum_Cellphone_sized.jpg" style="height: 438px; width: 620px;" title="(Photo by Christine Frei)" /></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">I purchased this phone myself, and also purchased several apps that help me with translators. I use the phone to communicate with coworkers or customers that do not know ASL [American Sign Language] (which is almost everyone), including at work meetings where there is never an interpreter. The phone can be used to translate between ASL and spoken language through interpreters and pictures. It is almost a lifeline, without it I could not understand or communicate with other people.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><a name="pen"></a>Pen<br />Robert Hansen<br />Student at Northeastern Illinois University<br />Access Living, Disabled Workers Want Work Now</span></span></strong></p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Online%20Museum_Pen_sized.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="(Photo by Christine Frei)" /></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">This helps me get through the day<br />The power of writing. My expressive tool.<br />The tool of expression &ndash; the pen.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">We all know people with disabilities aren&#39;t even acknowledged when it comes to getting employment. I don&#39;t think people take us seriously. They may think, &lsquo;How can a legally blind person do this?&rsquo; I&#39;ve shown up for employment and sometimes I&#39;m led to believe that I&#39;m on target. I&#39;m glad when I get a rejection letter, so at least I know. But a lot of times, I don&rsquo;t get called at all. If I try to call and find out why, I get voicemail.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">One time a potential employer asked how I would get to work each day in an interview. But you are not supposed to ask that question.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">I&rsquo;ve encountered other people who say, &ldquo;Oh you are so amazing.&rdquo; They are very patronizing.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">The pen allows me to express myself and write about these experiences. My pen needs to be reliable. It&rsquo;s not going to leak or run out of ink. I need to be able to hold it in my hand. It&rsquo;s my therapy, my way to remember things, my way to calm my mind and relax.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">A piece of paper is right here, while a voice can be forgotten. I can do a voice recording and accidentally hit the wrong button and it&rsquo;s gone. I don&rsquo;t have to hit save or remember a file type with a pen. The file type is universal. It puts my mind at ease, it&rsquo;s more intimate, it&rsquo;s more personal when I&rsquo;m hunched over writing with a pen. I sit here and write with my fingers. It&rsquo;s not using a $300 device, a pen can cost as little as a dollar, but it is valuable because it has the intimate touch that people enjoy. It&rsquo;s less of a commodity, it&rsquo;s not like you have the latest and greatest.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;">If we can pick up our pens, we can communicate what we need and want. I want people to know the power of communicating.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><a name="tamale"></a>Tamale Pot<br />Anonymous<br />Asociación Vendedores Ambulantes</span></span></strong></p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Online%20Museum_Tamale%20Pot_sized.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="(Photo by Christine Frei)" /></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">I sell tamales. I use this pot to cook them. I leave them in there to keep warm and to carry them. It&rsquo;s a very functional object. It&rsquo;s the only object that works for cooking tamales. Without it I can&#39;t do anything. I can&#39;t work. I bought this pot because it&rsquo;s specifically a steamer.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><strong><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><a name="measuringtape"></a>Measuring Type<br />Anonymous<br />Construction Worker<br />Latino Union</span></span></strong></p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Online%20Museum_TapeMeasure_sized.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="(Photo by Christine Frei)" /></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;">I do a lot with the tape measure. I use it to make sure that the length of everything is correct, from pieces of wood to windows. Without it my job is not possible. Numbers are a huge part of my life, and without this measuring tape, I&rsquo;d feel lost. I use it so much that I have to buy a new one every year. The old ones get rusty and break. Compared to some bigger and more expensive tools, it might look unimportant, even insignificant. But believe me, it is indispensable. I&rsquo;d say essential.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;">As an undocumented worker, I have battled unemployment. When I do find an opportunity, it is tough to actually get it due to competition and the bad economy. I often hang around Home Depot hoping for work. But lately its been difficult because the businesses do not like us loitering outside, and there has been trouble in the past with other groups of workers.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;">It is very difficult for undocumented workers to simply find work and keep a steady income.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong><a name="notebook"></a>Notebook<br />Vicky Lugo<br />Vice President, Asociación Vendedores Ambulantes<br />facsimile</strong></span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Online%20Museum_Notebook_sized.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="(Photo by Christine Frei)" /></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;">I bought my notebook at a Target store. The notebook itself is not worth any value, but what is of tremendous value is what I have written in it.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;">In this notebook I keep a record of all agreements, discussion, notes, ideas, and projects. I keep everything that has to do with my work helping street vendors. With my notebook, I feel a sense of pride and power at the same time. I feel that this object is my life and in a way the air that I breathe because without it I have felt lost and empty.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><strong><a name="desk"></a>Higher Desk<br />Susan Aarup<br />Employment advocate, Disabled Workers Want Work Now</strong></span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Online%20Museum_Desk_Sized.jpg" style="height: 396px; width: 620px;" title="(Photo by Christine Frei)" /></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;">This object is a higher desk. It helps me to do my job more effectively because I use a wheelchair and it gives me more space for sitting down at my desk.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;">If I get a higher desk it&rsquo;s a symbol that someone hired me &ndash; someone wanted me for something and my struggle to find a job was worth it.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;">If there wasn&rsquo;t a higher desk at a workplace it would symbolize that you aren&rsquo;t paying attention to what I need. It&rsquo;s my job to tell you that. But a lot of times people don&rsquo;t want to hear what I have to say.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Employers don&rsquo;t provide accommodations easily. Some do, because they realize the importance people with disabilities bring.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;">When I have a higher desk it makes me feel in control. When I don&rsquo;t have a higher desk I just feel stuck. But I am not going to let myself be in that situation. I am going to say something.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Accommodating people with disabilities is the law. But it also makes good business sense, because my money and my time are just as valuable as anyone else&rsquo;s.&nbsp;</span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><strong><a name="trashcan"></a>Trash Can<br />Curtis Harris<br />Disabled Workers Want Work Now<br />facsimile</strong></span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Online%20Museum_TrashCan_sized.jpg" title="(Photo by Christine Frei)" /></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">I have been struggling to find a job in the the last year. I have been dealing with rejections from employers, disappointments and frustrations. I have put in over 100 applications with eight interviews with no callback. I&rsquo;m a person with autism associated with psychiatric disorders and it has made it harder for me to get interviews, let alone a job. In May 2013, the Employment Services Representative told me one of the red flags on my resume is a 15-year employment gap from 1996 to 2011. During those 15 years I attended college for two stints and did volunteer work. In addition, I had medical issues during those 15 years, which I have since resolved. I think employers look over my applications and resumes and toss them in the garbage while overlooking the accomplishments and volunteer work I did. Each time I make a call back to check on my job status they tell me they haven&rsquo;t reviewed it or they let me know they interviewed and hired another candidate.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">I want to work to gain money, self-esteem, empowerment, and pride. </span></span></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><a name="screwdriver"></a>Screwdriver<br />Luis Torros<br />Construction Worker<br />Latino Union</span></span></strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Online%20Museum_Screw%20Driver_sized.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="(Photo by Christine Frei)" /></p><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><em>How did you get this object?</em><br />I bought it.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><em>What do you do with this object?</em><br />I use it for all sorts of jobs. It has two tips, one crossed and one flat, and a hexagon for screws. I think that it is an indispensable tool in all of its uses, whether residential, commercial or industrial.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><em>How do you feel when you use this object?</em><br />I feel the security of performing my job.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><em>Who made this object?</em><br />Apparently it was made in China.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><em>What do you most enjoy about your job?</em><br />What I most enjoy about my job is when the client is satisfied with the finished work.</span></span></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><a name="painting"></a>Basic Tools for Painting<br />Alejandro N. Serrano<br />Day laborer</span></span></strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Online%20Museum_Paint%20Roller_sized.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="(Photo by Christine Frei)" /></p><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">I get up very early hoping to be able to do what I like most, which is painting. I give thanks for the opportunity for another day looking for new clients and offering my painting services and making estimates. I feel excellent every time that I have the opportunity to use my tools and especially when I see my clients happy and content when the job is finished.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">When the estimates are accepted I prepare my tools and even though they are basic, for me they are very important. Without them I wouldn&rsquo;t be able to finish my work. I take my toolbox and put in my roller, my brushes, paint tray, a stick for mixing paint before emptying it into the tray, etc. I head to the assigned address, say &ldquo;hi&rdquo; to my client and prepare the worksite.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">I take the paint and stir it, I also take the brush and start to outline the corners of the walls and ceilings, tracing each line as straight as possible so as not to get any paint on any of the other walls, ceilings or floors. Once I finish that, I empty the paint into the tray and prepare my roller, which I soak in the paint in order to then slide it along the walls or ceilings.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">I think that if I lost any of my tools it would be painful for me because even though they are easy to replace, each one of them has a different history to it. Thanks to these tools I have been able to get ahead and I have improved my painting technique. Each object reminds me of the different projects that I have had the opportunity to carry out throughout my career. For me, each project represents a work of art.</span></span></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><a name="cooler"></a>Thermos<br />Claudia Pérez<br />Asociación Vendedores Ambulantes</span></span></strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Online%20Museum_thermos_sized.jpg" title="(Photo by Christine Frei)" /></p><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">With this thermos, I can keep the champurrado warm for customers. The thermos allows me to work, which makes me feel proud. I have been arrested three times. My children have been arrested. I have gotten tickets. I have paid fines. All for being a vendor.</span></span></p><p><strong>Program and exhibit curated by:</strong></p><p>Heather Radke, Exhibition Coordinator at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum<br />Isis Ferguson, Program Coordinator at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum<br />Shannon Heffernan, WBEZ reporter</p><p dir="ltr"><em>If you liked reading these stories, you might also enjoy visiting the current exhibition at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/_museum/_exhibits/_UnfinishedBusiness/_21stcenthomec/21stcenturyhomeecon.html">&ldquo;Unfinished Business: 21st Century Home Economics.&rdquo;</a> &nbsp;That exhibition was the inspiration for this project and includes artifacts and labels from domestic workers.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Feel free to tell us which artifact you would chose to represent your work and why in the comments below.</em></p></p> Tue, 08 Oct 2013 14:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/labor/artifacts-life-excluded-workers-tell-their-stories-10-objects-108871 Demonstrators demand Goodwill stop paying sub-minimum wages http://www.wbez.org/news/demonstrators-demand-goodwill-stop-paying-sub-minimum-wages-108210 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/DAWWN wages 1.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Over a hundred organizations in Illinois hold a license that allows them to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/labor-laws-allow-workers-disabilities-earn-less-minimum-wage-107389">legally pay workers with disabilities less than minimum wage</a>. <a href="http://www.accessliving.org/index.php?tray=content&amp;tid=top683&amp;cid=2al73">Disabled Americans Want Work Now (DAWWN)</a> says it&rsquo;s unfair places like Goodwill can pay CEO&rsquo;s six-figure salaries, while disabled workers earn less than a dollar an hour.</p><p>DAWWN activists marched in front of a Chicago Goodwill store and office building and then entered the building to deliver a letter on Friday. Activists were met by Pat Boelter, Chief Marketing Officer Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin.</p><p>Boelter said all their Chicago locations pay above minimum wage, but she defends other Goodwills that don&rsquo;t. &ldquo;These are individuals who are not employable in the community. This is an opportunity for an individual with severe disabilities to feel like they belong,&rdquo; said Boelter.</p><p>DAWWN activist Susan Aarup said that pay is a matter of dignity. &nbsp;&ldquo;When they pay you less than a dollar an hour, they are telling you that you are worthless. We want honest pay for honest work.&rdquo;</p><p>Activist Rene Luna said disabled workers can do equal work when given the right accommodations and opportunities. He praised the <a href="http://www.progressillinois.com/news/content/2013/07/17/quinn-signs-law-boost-job-opportunities-people-disabilities">Employment First Act</a>, a bill which was signed into law earlier this month with the goal of boosting employment for workers with disabilities. &ldquo;In some ways there is a kind of revolution going on for us,&rdquo; said Luna.</p><p>DAWWN says it will continue to protest until wages change.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h&nbsp;</a></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 29 Jul 2013 10:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/demonstrators-demand-goodwill-stop-paying-sub-minimum-wages-108210 Labor laws allow workers with disabilities to earn less than minimum wage http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/labor-laws-allow-workers-disabilities-earn-less-minimum-wage-107389 <p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-694b77d3-ec4c-245a-b7ec-68b893950fe7"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Disabled%20Workers_130604_sh.JPG" style="float: right; height: 232px; width: 350px;" title="Michael Grice outside Access Living, an organization working for the labor conditions for disabled workers. Grice says having a job with standard wages is a human right. (WBEZ/Shannon Heffernan)" /><em>There&rsquo;s currently proposed legislation for a higher minimum wage at both the state and federal level. But some of the fastest growing fields, like homecare and restaurant workers, aren&rsquo;t included in the minimum wage. WBEZ&rsquo;s Front and Center series, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/exceptions-rule">Exceptions to the Rule</a>, introduces you to people who aren&rsquo;t protected by the same labor laws as everyone else.</em></p><p>When I meet Michael Grice, he&rsquo;s sharply dressed in a turquoise pinstripe shirt and nice beige slacks. He says people are quick to judge him because he has Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair, so he pays special attention to his appearance.</p><p>A few years ago, Grice moved into supportive housing at Ada S McKinley. The agency provided him with a job doing piece work in one of their workshops. &nbsp;Grice remembers filling bubble gum machines and packing boxes. He hated the repetition of the work. He had previously done marketing at a University Gym and worked as a customer service representative at a bank.</p><p>But even worse, were the wages. Ada S. McKinley has a special license called a <a href="http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/14c/" target="_blank">14c</a>, which allows them to pay workers with disabilities below the minimum wage. The license was originally written into the Fair Labor Act of 1938. The agency said it allowed them to hire people for jobs they otherwise might not get because of their disabilities.</p><p>Under the license worker&#39;s wage is calculated based on their individual ability.</p><p>For Grice, it was less than a dollar an hour.</p><p>&ldquo;To buy the essential things was impossible,&quot; Grice said.&nbsp;&quot;To buy clothes, to get a haircut, to buy hygiene products. It was just impossible to do.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Grice&rsquo;s pride in his appearance was compromised. He also couldn&rsquo;t afford to go to movies, or out to dinner, so he was rarely out in public. &nbsp;He says that made him feel isolated and the wages made him feel unworthy.</p><p>&ldquo;I was embarrassed to cash a check that was $5.40 for 2 weeks,&quot; Grice said.&nbsp;&quot;I didn&rsquo;t even bother to cash my check. It was, believe me, very degrading.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Grice&rsquo;s wages aren&rsquo;t that unique for workers with disabilities. According to the <a href="http://www.nationalcoreindicators.org/charts/?i=68" target="_blank">National Core Indicators</a>, the majority of people in Illinois facility-based jobs (jobs in workshops separated from the general public) earned less than $2.50 an hour. Less than 10 percent earned at least the Federal Minimum wage.</p><p>Still, the licensed agencies say they are doing important work.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Disabled%20Workers2_130604_sh.JPG" style="float: left; height: 350px; width: 350px;" title="Envision's facility in Logan Square hires workers to make placemats at subminimum wages. The organization also trains people with disabilities to make and sell art. (WBEZ/Shannon Heffernan)" /><a href="http://carc.info/" target="_blank">Envision Unlimited</a> serves people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.</p><p>Susan Gardner is its Division Director of Day and Employment Services.</p><p>In their offices, people played card games, or relaxed in an area with quiet music and lowlights. In another area, a young man showed me his paintings of caves and another displayed a carpet he was weaving. Both will be able to sell their artwork through Envision, for a portion of the profits.</p><p>The actual workshop has cutting tables and big industrial looms. This is where people work the hourly jobs.</p><p>The organization gets contracts from for-profit organizations to make tablecloths and napkins. But Gardner stresses that Envision is a non-profit and says all the money they bring in from the contracts goes directly to materials or workers wages.</p><p>&ldquo;If we weren&rsquo;t allowed to pay subminimum wages and then those people would not be able to earn a check,&rdquo; Gardner said. &ldquo;And you can see they are invested in what they are doing, they are taking a lot of pride. And it&rsquo;s preparing them to take those jobs into the community and really be a functioning part of the community and the work world out there.&rdquo;</p><p>Envision says that about 60 people they employ now have regular jobs. Including two women who have worked at Shedd Aquarium for over 30 years.</p><p>But work placement rates like Envision&rsquo;s are rare. <a href="http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2012/August232012/" target="_blank">95 percent of people </a>with these sub-minimum wage jobs never go on to get regular work. Illinois is particularly weak. It <a href="http://www.ucp.org/the-case-for-inclusion/2013/" target="_blank">ranks 44th</a> in terms of placing people with disabilities in regular jobs. And over a hundred organizations in Illinois hold the 14c license that allows them to pay subminimum wages.</p><p>While many organizations continue to pay workers subminimum wages under 14c licenses, concerned that there are no alternatives, other disability organizations, such as the <a href="https://nfb.org/fair-wages" target="_blank">National Federation of the Blind</a> and <a href="http://tash.org/speak-out-against-subminimum-wages-for-workers-with-disabilities/" target="_blank">The Organization for the Severely Handicap (TASH) </a>&nbsp;have picked up subminimum wages as a civil rights issue.</p><p>Advocates have been especially critical of larger organizations <a href="https://nfb.org/americans-disabilities-protest-goodwill%E2%80%99s-subminimum-wages" target="_blank">like Goodwill</a>, where executive directors earn huge salaries and have multimillion dollar budgets, while workers make very little. Beyond wages, advocates say that segregating workers into special workshops, goes against the Americans with Disabilities Act.</p><p>Rene Luna organizes with <a href="http://www.accessliving.org/index.php?tray=content&amp;tid=top683&amp;cid=2al73" target="_blank">Disabled Americans Want Work Now (DAWWN)</a> and is an advocate with Access Living.</p><p>&ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t help our perceptions of disability,&rdquo; Luna said.</p><p>A few bills have tried to eliminate the subminimum wage, but never successfully. And this current round of minimum wage conversations doesn&rsquo;t seem like it will end it either.</p><p>In order to change things, Luna says we have to think about work differently. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We have to not think about a job description and trying to fit a disabled person into that description, but consider reasonable accommodations,&rdquo; Luna said.</p><p>Grice for example, was put in a job that required him to assemble materials, even though his disability meant he lacked hand dexterity. &nbsp;One day, about 5 months into his job, he looked down at his work, frustrated with how slowly it was moving.</p><p>&ldquo;I just said to myself I can&rsquo;t do this anymore, I can&#39;t do this.&rdquo;</p><p>Grice asked his social worker to take him out of the program and help him find a job in marketing or outreach, like he had before at the gym and bank.</p><p>&ldquo;Her response was, &lsquo;we are doing the best we can do. Just go along for now and we will try our best,&rsquo;&rdquo; Grice said.</p><p>But Grice didn&rsquo;t want to just wait. Many other people in workshops are afraid to speak up or leave, explained Grice. Keep in mind these organizations sometimes also provide housing, transportation and other services.</p><p>Grice felt like if he was able, it was his responsibility to take a stand. So he&rsquo;s left it all behind. He now organizes with DAWWN, lives in a nursing home and is looking for a job.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Tue, 28 May 2013 12:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/labor-laws-allow-workers-disabilities-earn-less-minimum-wage-107389 The GOP votes against international disability accord http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-12/gop-votes-against-international-disability-accord-104204 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS5134_AP120317161830-scr.jpg" style="height: 220px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Former Sen. Rick Santorum was a leading voice behind the scenes against passage of an international treaty to protect the disabled. (AP)" /></div><p>In the midst of all the headlines about how the cold-hearted GOP won&rsquo;t pass a middle-class tax cut until the president agrees to a tax cut on the rich, on Tuesday the Senate came up short on the two-thirds vote required to ratify the <a href="http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml">Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities</a>, a United Nations treaty aimed at securing rights for disabled people around the world.</p><p>The vote was <a href="http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&amp;session=2&amp;vote=00219">61-38</a>,&nbsp;and all 38 votes against setting international standards to protect and accommodate the disabled were cast by Republicans.<br /><br />The treaty, based on the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, is a non-binding international standard &mdash;&nbsp;as opposed to law or requirement &mdash;&nbsp;and demands <em>no change whatsoever</em> to U.S. law. The ADA, if you&#39;ll recall, was signed into law by GOP president George H.W. Bush in 1990, and was renewed by Barack Obama in 2009.<br /><br />This treaty has eight guiding principles: respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one&#39;s own choices; non-discrimination; full and effective participation and inclusion in society; respect for difference; equality of opportunity; accessibility; equality between men and women; respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.<br /><br />Because the treaty is designed as an international agreement that must also accommodate the resources and abilities of its complying countries &mdash; many of whom, like Afghanistan and Uganda, don&rsquo;t necessarily have the money to do all they might want to do&nbsp;&mdash; it goes out of its way to ease compliance. For example, it only requires &ldquo;reasonable accommodation&rdquo; of the disabled, what the treaty calls &quot;necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden.&quot;<br /><br />In fact, the treaty provides a great deal of flexibility to its signers. So much so that a number of countries &nbsp;&mdash; understanding that the treaty is in great part about <em>intent</em> &nbsp;&mdash; adopted it with exemptions and conditions. Both Malta and Poland interpreted the agreement without a right to abortion, in accordance with their constitutions; the Netherlands interpreted the right to medical treatment as also including the right to <em>refuse</em> medical treatment. And so on.</p><p><span style="font-size:16px;">Eight Republicans did vote for the treaty, including all three outgoing senators, plus John McCain, Susan Collins, John Barraso, the ever more independent Lisa Murkowski and that other presidential candidate in the wings, Kelly Ayotte.&nbsp;</span>So what was it that made 38 Republican senators, including all-but-announced presidential candidate Marco Rubio, vote against it? Here&rsquo;s an explanation from GOP Sen. <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/un-treaties/270831-senate-rejects-un-treaty-for-disabled-rights-in-vote?tmpl=component&amp;page=">Mike Lee, who led the floor fight </a>against the treaty: &ldquo;I and many of my constituents who home-school or send their children to religious schools have justifiable doubt that a foreign body based in Geneva, Switzerland, should be deciding what is best for a child at home in Utah.&rdquo;<br /><br />Setting aside the ungrammatical use of &ldquo;I,&rdquo; who is Sen. Lee talking about? The UN is an international body based in New York.<br /><br />Sen. Lee&rsquo;s partner on the quest to defeat the treaty was former Republican senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, the father of a special needs child, who&rsquo;s been <a href="http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/protecting-the-rights-of-parents-and-their-children/">crusading</a> since at least July on this issue.<br /><br />Their big complaint, besides fear of all things outside the Great 48, is anxiety that the treaty could somehow undermine parental rights over disabled children, especially those in home schools.<br /><br />But the treaty, which requires nothing and merely sets aspirational standards, does no such thing. And, even if it did, the U.S. Constitution&rsquo;s federal supremacy clause would trump any international agreement&rsquo;s particular clause.<br /><br />I shared the news of the treaty&rsquo;s defeat Tuesday on my Facebook page and my brother Mario responded with what I think is the best rejoinder to these very ignorant and shameless lawmakers: &ldquo;As a parent who homeschooled their kids, I&#39;m confident my kids would understand the phrase &lsquo;<em>nonbinding</em> treaty&rsquo; and know how to spot xenophobia.&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 08:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-12/gop-votes-against-international-disability-accord-104204 Poet Sheila Black considers pain, disability, selfhood and ‘the problem of normal’ http://www.wbez.org/story/poet-sheila-black-considers-pain-disability-selfhood-and-%E2%80%98-problem-normal%E2%80%99-97579 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-23/AP071025036303.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-23/AP071025036303.jpg" style="width: 512px; height: 511px;" title="Kahlo's 1939 painting 'Los Dos Fridas.' (AP/Collection Museo de Arte Moderno)"></p><p>Sheila Black was born with a rare medical condition that gave her crooked legs. Then when she was 13 years old, she underwent a procedure to straighten them -- although the word “procedure” might not adequately describe what she went through.</p><p>“I had my legs radically straightened,” she says. In the first of a number of surgeries Black would have over the course of her life, doctors performed a double osteotomy -- breaking her legs in six places, then re-pinning the bones back together. “I walked a lot better [after the surgery],” Black recalls. “But I had the strange sense of having betrayed the person I was.” Black elaborated: “For me the question of disability was really a problem of normal. The problem was all the normal people out there."</p><p>Black grew into an award-winning poet whose creative interests include what a collaborator has described as “anomalous embodiment,” or what one might more simply describe as physical disability. In one poem she channels that moment of teenage post-surgical self-betrayal, and imagines herself as two people – the person she was before the surgery, and the person she became afterward, as if existing side by side:</p><p style="margin-left: 0.5in;">She<br> was me before I became so fallen. Sneaking<br> Salem cigarettes with the other girls on the fourth<br> floor bathroom. Trying so hard to fit in you could<br> see that desire—a sheen on my skin. The year I<br> learned to walk again—a wheelchair, crutches, crutches<br> discarded, everyone said how it was a miracle, so<br> wonderful, such a great, great thing, as if I could now<br> be welcomed into the club of people. A door closed<br> somewhere, and she was behind it.</p><p>The poem’s title, “Los Dos Fridas or Script for the Erased,” alludes to the title of a 1939 self-portrait by Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, in which Kahlo also depicts two versions of herself side by side: one injured and one healthy, arteries intertwined. Kahlo was in a bus crash at age 18 that left her with a horrifying array of broken bones – pelvis, spine, clavicle, ribs, plus 11 fractures in her leg – as well as permanent damage to her reproductive system. She went through more than 30 surgeries over the course of her life, and was often in so much pain that she had to remain bedridden for weeks at a time.&nbsp;</p><p>Black says that she too experienced extreme pain because of her disability and surgeries, but that Kahlo’s work and legacy proved to be a powerful example of working through the pain. “Frida Kahlo taught me to see [pain] as sort of a forceful, creative thing,” Black explains. “A way of making me pay attention to the world around me.”</p><p>Together with co-editors Jennifer Bartlett and Michael Northen, Black helped assemble the anthology <em>Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability</em> (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011), which collects the work of several differently-abled writers.</p><p>Nine poets from the anthology read in Chicago earlier this month, including Black. You can hear her recite “Los Dos Fridas” in the audio above.</p><p><a href="../../series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range </a><em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from </em>Chicago Amplified’s <em>vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Sheila Black read at an event presented by </em><a href="http://www.accessliving.org/"><em>Access Living</em></a><em> in March. Click </em><a href="../../story/beauty-verb-97306"><em>here </em></a><em>to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 24 Mar 2012 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/poet-sheila-black-considers-pain-disability-selfhood-and-%E2%80%98-problem-normal%E2%80%99-97579 Illinois state officials review abuse of disabled placards http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-state-officials-review-abuse-disabled-placards-94297 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-22/3617154784_e29e433dff.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is looking to increase penalties for drivers who illegally park in spots reserved for the disabled.</p><p>Starting in January, White said his office will look into increasing fines for those who illegally park in reserved spots without a placard and for those who use fraudulent placards. This comes after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed fine increases for those who use fake, stolen or altered disability placards to park.&nbsp;</p><p>"I think it's a violation of all laws of human decency for you to be able bodied but yet you want to take advantage of a program that has been set aside for those in need," said White.</p><p>White said he's considering upping the fines for illegally using disability permits to more than $2,000. Current fines for motorists start at $350 for parking without a placard, and a $500 fine and 30-day driver's license suspension for those illegally using one.</p><p>White also said his office will again increase enforcement of disability parking rules at malls during the holiday season. Secretary of State police will be outposted at malls in Schaumburg, Rockford, Springfield and Marion on Black Friday and through the weekend. A spokesperson for White's office says this is the first year Secretary of State police will target several malls on Black Friday since the upped enforcement began in 2005.&nbsp;</p><p>The spokesperson said the office's police force will move mall-by-mall throughout the state through the remainder of the year.</p></p> Tue, 22 Nov 2011 22:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-state-officials-review-abuse-disabled-placards-94297 Modeling Blind http://www.wbez.org/story/beth-finke/modeling-blind <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/nude model photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Finding a job is hard. Finding a job when you&rsquo;re disabled can be even harder.&nbsp;</p> <div><a href="http://bethfinke.com/">Beth Finke</a> knows this first hand. She lost her job when she lost her sight in the 1980s, and relied on her husband to read the classifieds to her aloud every Sunday night.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>She&rsquo;d later become a well regarded writer and commentator, and the only blind woman in America to be honored for sports broadcasting, for a story on the White Sox she produced for WBEZ. But on her way to success she found a job she never expected to land - as a nude model for a college art class. She told the story to a live audience during the 2010 <a href="http://www.accessliving.org/">Access Living</a> event <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/culture/theater/blood-tracks-disability-culture-cabaret">Blood on the Tracks: A Disability Culture Cabaret</a>. In the audio excerpt posted above, Finke describes how she landed the gig, and the unique pros and cons that come with doing the job blind.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="../../../../../../series/dynamic-range"><em>Dynamic Range</em></a><em> showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Beth Finke spoke to an audience assembled by </em><a href="http://www.accessliving.org/"><em>Access Living</em></a><em> in September of 2010. Click <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/culture/theater/blood-tracks-disability-culture-cabaret">here</a> to hear her talk in its entirety, and click </em><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wbez/id364380278" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em> to subscribe to the Dynamic Range podcast.</em></div></p> Fri, 21 Jan 2011 18:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/beth-finke/modeling-blind