As I reflect on 2019, I am thankful to everyone that has supported the Disability Law Center and the work that we do to challenge discrimination against people with disabilities and to obtain the services they need to fully enjoy participating in and contributing to their communities. This was a promising year of advancement and growth for DLC.
From celebrating our 40th Anniversary with our supporters and friends, to debuting our Wheels of Justice short documentary film, to expanding our team with the addition of three investigators, we saw partnerships and growth take shape throughout the year. Most importantly, through our systemic legal advocacy we were able to help clients across the commonwealth, such as:
A client I’ll call “Susan,” who is blind and partially deaf, who contacted DLC seeking assistance with a local hospital that continuously failed to provide her with effective means to communicate during her multiple hospital stays. As a result of DLC’s legal advocacy, the hospital agreed to create protocols for requesting interpreters and to train all of its staff on the intricacies of working with patients who are deaf, blind, or deaf-blind.
Or “Fred,” a man with severe traumatic brain injury and severe physical limitations, who contacted DLC after many months of experiencing serious issues with the functioning of his power and manual wheelchairs. As a result of DLC’s legal advocacy, repairs on both wheelchairs commenced and steps were taken by the vendor to completely replace the inappropriately fitted manual wheelchair.
Finally, there was the landmark settlement with Harvard University, announced in November 2019, four years after the commencement of the 2015 lawsuit. This settlement agreement represents the most comprehensive set of online accessibility requirements in higher education and results in a significant expansion of opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people to participate in Harvard’s community of lifelong learners.
Outcomes like these are made possible by your continued financial support. We have a lot to be proud of this year, but there is still a lot more work to be done to ensure that people with disabilities are free from abuse and neglect and are able to fully and equally participate in the social and economic life of Massachusetts.
Your generosity is the reason we are able to do this work. With your continued support, DLC will be able to expand its legal advocacy to help individuals with disabilities break down barriers to access and inclusion.
On behalf of the Board and staff, we thank you for a year of giving and for supporting the Disability Law Center.
Disability Law Center
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