After being left out initially, community integration, including a right to long term care services, was added to the platform of the Democrat National Convention on Friday, July 22,
“ADAPT folks are thrilled and feel valued by the Democrats,” says National ADAPT organizer Bruce Darling. “We are hopeful this will open the door to more Democratic co-sponsors of the Disability Integration Act.”
ADAPT, a national grass roots activist group, has been championing for passing of the Disability Integration Act, which addresses the fundamental right of those who require long term care and services to live within their community instead of being forced into institutions and nursing homes. It was introduced into the Senate by Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) on Dec. 18, 2015 and into the House of Representatives by Republican Christopher Gibson (N.Y.) on July 8.
While the platform still doesn’t mention the DIA specifically, it now includes wording and sentiment that supports the act, including, “Democrats will take steps to strengthen and expand the home care workforce, give seniors and people with disabilities access to quality, affordable long-term care services and supports, and ensure that all of these resources are readily available at home or in the community.”
Like the Republican National Convention’s platform, the DNC’s addresses disability, but Darling says the DNC’s did not initially go far enough.
“Look at the two platforms,” says Darling. “Democratic operatives pointed out that disability is mentioned 17 times in the platform, asking if the Republicans had as many mentions. I counted. They mentioned disability 19 times.”
The Republican platform does not include language supporting DIA or the rights of people with disabilities to receive services in the community, but, as with the Democratic platform, contains strong support for the Americans with Disabilities Act, and especially supports the employment of people with disabilities.
“I’m trying to get the Dems to recognize that the Republicans more than matched them point by point in the platform,” says Darling. “Democrats need to not take disabled voters for granted and support DIA like they support the