Launch of ADAWatch.org
 
From: jfa@jfanow.org  (Justice For All Moderator)
 
justice@jfanow.org

Below please find ADA Watch's July 26 press release about
the launch of its advocacy website, www.adawatch.org . JFA
will be working closely with ADA Watch to distribute
information about its efforts.


========================


***PRESS RELEASE***

ADA WATCH
900 Second Street, Suite 211
Washington, D.C. 20002

Contact:
Jim Ward
202-329-5877

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2001

Disability Advocates Launch Internet Destination to Protect
ADA and Urge President Bush to Meet with Disability
Community Leaders Site Goes Live on 11th Anniversary of the
Americans with Disabilities Act and Provides Advocacy Tools
to Fight Threats

WASHINGTON, DC -- ADA WATCH.org, an Internet destination to
respond to threats to the civil rights of people with
disabilities, is being launched by disability rights
advocates. The site will be an informational
network and advocacy tool of the ADA WATCH coalition of
disability rights organizations united to protect the ADA.
The group also released a letter today requesting the
President Bush meet with them to hear their concerns
regarding implementation of the Olmstead Executive Order.

As America celebrates the 11th Anniversary of the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA), people with disabilities are
faced with serious threats including:

- President Bush's nomination of Ohio attorney Jeffrey
Sutton to the 6th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals.
ADAWATCH.org has already gathered more than 60 national
disability organizations and 280 state and local
organizations that are united in opposition to this
nominee. Sutton has fought to weaken disability rights in
the Supreme Court and his Federalist agenda, shared by
other Bush nominees, will roll back civil rights
protections for all Americans. The site includes an
automated Stop Sutton! Petition.

- Recent 5-4 Supreme Court rulings such as the Garrett
decision which ruled that Congress did not have the
authority to allow state employees to sue the states for
monetary damages under the ADA. The site includes an
automated sign-on to encourage states to waive their
sovereign immunity.

- Proposed legislation in Congress to weaken the ADA
including the ADA Notification Act introduced by
Congressman Mark Foley (R-Fla) which requires a 90 day
waiting period before people with disabilities can get
their rights to equal access enforced. The bill would
discourage voluntary compliance of the ADA and allow
offenders to delay accommodations without consequence. The
site includes a petition against the ADA Notification Act.

The ADA WATCH.org mission statement:

- The ADA WATCH campaign is a nonprofit informational
online network designed to activate the disability
community's grassroots in response to threats to civil
rights protections for people with disabilities.

- The ADA WATCH campaign educates and informs people with
disabilities, disability advocates, members of the general
public, the business community, policy makers, and the
media regarding threats to civil rights protections for
people with disabilities.

- The ADA WATCH campaign seeks to build an online community
of empowered citizens united against attempts to roll back
civil rights protections for people with disabilities.

- The ADA WATCH campaign provides support to the ADA WATCH
coalition, a network of disability rights, service, and
consumer organizations united to protect and strengthen the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

ADA WATCH coalition organizations include the ADAPT,
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD),
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Disability Rights
Center, National Association of Protection and Advocacy
Systems, National Council on Independent Living (NCIL),
National Disabled Student Union (NDSU), National
Organization on Disability (NOD), and many others. ADA
WATCH.org is supported in partnership with
www.wiredonwheels.org , a nonprofit site for rating
accessibility.

Disability Advocates also marked the 11th anniversary of
the ADA by releasing the following letter to President Bush
urging a meeting to discuss the civil rights of people with
disabilities:


July 26, 2001

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush:

As disability rights leaders, we commend you for your
stated support for strong implementation and enforcement of
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other
disability rights laws, including your recent Executive
Order calling on your cabinet to implement the Supreme
Court's Olmstead decision.

One of the fundamental principles of the disability rights
movement is that people with disabilities should be put in
the driver's seat regarding public policy that affects us.
We are concerned that in the last six months, you
have not met with disability rights leaders to have a
substantive discussion about our priorities and how they
relate to your disability agenda. We are concerned as well
that you have been very slow in appointing people with
disabilities to political jobs overseeing programs that
affect us.

Respectfully, we believe that now is the time for you to
sit down with a representative group of disability leaders
and engage in a real dialogue about how best to accomplish
the goals of the ADA. We appreciate your willingness to
lead on disability rights issues, but we encourage you to
recognize that the best way for you to lead is to engage
disability leaders as partners in setting and implementing
your agenda. That partnership process has not occurred to
date, and time is of the essence as you move forward with
your New Freedom Initiative and Olmstead implementation.

Today, as we celebrate the 11th anniversary of your
father's signing of the ADA, we request the opportunity to
meet with you between now and September 15 to discuss our
priorities as a disability rights community for your
Administration.

Sincerely yours,

Justin Dart, Justice For All

Daniel Davis, NDSU

Andrew J. Imparato, AAPD

Mike Auberger, ADAPT

Bob Kafka, ADAPT

Mike Oxford, NCIL

Anne-Marie Hughey, NCIL

Marcie Roth, NCIL

Jim Ward, ADA WATCH