A message from our Executive Director


Our nation has been rocked by tragedy and pain during the past few months. We were shaken by the disparate impact that COVID-19 has had on the disability community and communities of color and the widespread economic devastation that followed. As if this wasn’t enough, during the past three months we have also witnessed the senseless murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and now – George Floyd. These murders are the most recent in a long line of injustices and indignities suffered by Black men and women and black transgender people throughout the Nation. As an organization committed to promoting the civil and human rights of all persons with disabilities – and in respect of the undeniable intersections that exist between disability, race, and socioeconomic status in this country – we stand in solidarity with the Black community during these difficult times. Our communities are in pain and we share the fear, anger, and sadness felt by so many. Please know that:

We See You.

We Hear You.

We Stand With You in the fight to eliminate racism and advance racial justice.

Yours in the struggle,

Marlene Sallo

Marlene Sallo
Executive Director
Disability Law Center

Investigations of MCI-Shirley and MCI-Norfolk

On April 27, 2020, DLC informed the Department of Correction that it had found probable cause to initiate investigations of MCI-Shirley and MCI-Norfolk based on reports of prisoners with disabilities within the facilities being denied appropriate treatment and services and living in unsanitary conditions.

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DLC & Partners Urge DPH to adopt a statewide hospital visitor policy to accommodate people with disabilities during COVID-19.

DLC and several partners submitted a letter to the Department of Public Health on April 17th urging the adoption of a statewide hospital visitor policy that includes reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities who require a support person to remain with them in the hospital.

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Letter regarding patients with lupus who cannot get their medication, because of COVID-19 issues

Joined by a lupus advocate, a medical school professor and a patient organization, the Disability Law Center sent this letter to state officials, urging them to protect lupus patients who are unable to get their medication because of prescribing practices related to the coronavirus.  The letter was signed by 38 rheumatologists and other medical professionals, as well as other disability rights advocates. Please read the attached letter to learn about this issue and our valued partners in this important work.

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Notice Of Proposed Settlement Of Class Action Lawsuit

MIT Web Captioning Settlement

If you are deaf or hard of hearing and have tried to access or would like to access online video content of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”) with captions or to access MIT’s online audio content with a transcript, you may be a member of the proposed Settlement Class affected by this lawsuit. The Settlement Class in this case does not include students of MIT.  This is a court-authorized notice.


DLC’s Response to COVID-19 Concerns

The Disability Law Center (DLC) continues to actively work to prevent and address discrimination, abuse, and neglect faced by people with disabilities during the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. This unprecedented situation is giving rise to new and different issues that require our attention. DLC’s efforts to address COVID-19-related issues to date include:

  • Working to shape policies to prevent medical rationing that discriminates against people with disabilities;
  • Initiating investigations and seeking information about congregate care facilities in which people with disabilities reside based on reports related to COVID-19 infection and deteriorating conditions for patients and residents.
  • Actively monitoring conditions within and concerns raised by persons served in facilities, including Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, Bridgewater State Hospital, and Vibra Hospitals;
  • Collaborating with a lupus advocate, medical school professor, and a patient organization to send a letter to state officials urging them to protect lupus patients who are unable to get their medication (chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine) because of prescribing practices related to COVID-19.
  • Advocating for DDS and DMH to create written protocols about staffing practices to guard against staff transmission to group home and shared living residents;
  • Advocating for I/DD group homes to provide residents access to virtual and outdoor, socially distanced visitation with guardians;
  • Challenging unreasonable restrictions on movement by group homes and shared living providers that serve persons with mental health issues;
  • Calling on the Governor and top public health officials to take steps to protect prisoners with disabilities, which include: reducing the prison population by releasing from custody prisoners with disabilities and serious medical conditions that place them at particular risk of serious illness from COVID-19; providing supplies and services necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in correctional facilities; ensuring that medical and mental health services for prisoners with disabilities are not interrupted; ensuring that accessible telecommunications are available to prisoners with disabilities; and, providing DLC with relevant written policies and procedures concerning those protections;
  • Collaborating with other organizations and community partners to devise advocacy strategies to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities and to create and distribute informational resources concerning their rights during the public health crisis;
  • Regularly participating in state-wide and national collaborations aimed at identifying and addressing emerging issues facing people with disabilities as a result of the pandemic;

Instituting a COVID-19 Attorney Point Person at the DLC to ensure all individuals reporting COVID-19 disability-related issues are receiving timely information and services.

If you would like to share your disability-related concerns about COVID-19 or your legal rights during this time, please email us at mail@dlc-ma.org.

Please note – we are using this information to advocate systemically for people with disabilities and submitting your input may not result in a new intake for your concern. However, it will provide valuable information for us to continue advocating for the rights of people with disabilities.

For patients with the coronavirus who need communication tools and supports due to speech-related disabilities: COVID-19 Communication Rights Toolkit with Printable Patient Accommodations Request Form:


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