As we Defend Our Freedom at the state level and call on the administration to enforce our rights established by the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision, we can't let Congress off the hook. After all, Congress has the power to end the institutional bias by passing the Community Choice Act (S683/HR1670). So how are we going to step it up? We're going to take on FIVE of them at a time, together!
Right now, we have 121 co-sponsors in the House (at least until Eric Massa's resignation takes effect) and 25 co-sponsors in the Senate. About one-quarter of each house has signed on as a co-sponsor of the CCA!
The number of people signing on slowed down a bit while we focused on health care reform legislation, so we are changing our approach. Instead of asking everyone to contact their local Representatives or Senators, ADAPT's Community Choice Workgroup is identifying FIVE specific members of Congress that we will ask everyone across the country to work on. We will do electronic action alerts that allow us to fax and email the DC office, encourage local people to call the office, and coordinate visits in the DC offices.
It's really important that we all reach out to local folks as well. Our elected officials do pay closer attention to the people who elect them. After doing an alert, everyone should try to identify people and groups we know are in the Representative's district (or at least close). These may be family, friends, or that friend from high school long ago that you now have a reason to call or email.
When we release new targets, we will offer talking points that can be used.
It can be really frustrating if you think you're the only one making calls and contacts. You don't know what other people have been told. When a staff person says, no one else has asked about this, you don't know what to say. ADAPT, as part of the Coalition for Community Integration, has set up a website, http://www.c4ci.org/http://www.c4ci.org/> , where we can post information about our legislative advocacy and visits. This will allow everyone to share specific information about their work. Also members of the Coalition are regularly in Washington, DC and set up appointments in the DC offices. The DC advocates can take the information you have shared online to those appointments and report back to you online about what they heard.
Take Five's First Round: IT'S TIME TO FREE OUR SISTERS!
In recognition that we are starting this effort on International Women's Day, we have identified five Congresswomen who we want to sign on as co-sponsors of the Community Choice Act (S683/HR1670). All have been previous co-sponsors of the legislation, but haven't signed on yet.
Judy Biggert, IL-13: Her district includes the cities of Naperville, Downers Grove, and Bolingbrook.
Nita Lowey, NY-18: Her district is in southeastern corner of New York State, just north of the Bronx, and includes parts of Westchester and Rockland Counties.
Carolyn McCarthy, NY-4: Her district is located in central Long Island in west-central Nassau County and includes Mineola, the Five Towns, East Rockaway, Rockville Centre, Oceanside, Garden City, Hempstead, Uniondale, East Meadow, Roosevelt, Franklin Square, Valley Stream, and Elmont.
Gwen Moore, WI-4: The Congresswoman is the first woman to represent the district which is based in Milwaukee and also includes South Milwaukee, Cudahy and St. Francis, and part of West Allis.
Loretta Sanchez, CA-47: California's 47th congressional district covers the cities of Garden Grove and Santa Ana and parts of Fullerton and Anaheim, in Orange County. The 47th congressional district is one of the few districts in California that does not have an overwhelming majority of voters favoring one party.
START by doing this electronic Action Alert: http://www.cdrnys.org/ccawomenhttp://www.cdrnys.org/ccawomen>
After you do the alert, forward it out to other folks, particularly people and organizations from the districts these Congresswomen represent. Consider sending it out to women's groups! FREE OUR SISTERS!
Some Talking Points: The Institutional Bias is a women's issue!
According to the most recent data on the CMS website, 68.4% of nursing facility residents are women.
Women typically live longer than men and, if married, tend to outlive their husbands. As they grow older, women are more likely than men to live alone, without a spouse or other family member to provide assistance. In fact, by the time a woman reaches the age of 75, the chances that she is living with a spouse have dropped below one in three.
Women are more likely to need assistance than men of the same age. Among people age 75 or older, women are 60 percent more likely than men to need help with one or more activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, dressing, or getting around inside the home. One in nine women age 75 or older, and one in five age 85 or older, needs assistance with daily activities.
Women are 60 percent more likely than men to go into a nursing facility at some point in their lives.
According to a 2003 National Alliance for Caregiving/AARP survey, six out of ten informal caregivers were women. Among caregivers providing high levels of care, the proportion of women was even greater.
The 2003 survey reported that the "typical" caregiver is a 46-year-old woman, who has some college education, works, and spends more than 20 hours per week providing care to her mother.
More than 60 percent of female caregivers who were employed had to make sacrifices at work to accommodate caregiving, including going in late or leaving early, working fewer hours, turning down a promotion, losing some benefits, taking a leave of absence, or choosing early retirement or giving up working entirely.
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