Imagine a world that is accessible to everyone--where no barriers to independence exist; where you're allowed to be yourself and free to let your disability be just one more part of you. Together we can shape this world. Join the Independent Living (r)evolution! Our unity can be a potent force for change. In addition to providing services, the Southern Tier Independence Center is a gathering place for people and information. Our joint efforts in understanding the issues and concerns of people with disabilities can pave the way to this more accessible world. The Center believes that people have the right to be responsible for making their own choices. By working with you rather than for you, we respect your ability to know what's best for you. If any of our services seem like a good option for you, we'd like to meet you! All services are free unless otherwise indicated.
Special Statement on Broome Developmental Closure Issues
March was National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Sadly, we in Broome County seem to have celebrated it by promoting ignorance and hatred.
The high privilege of being elected or appointed to office comes with the responsibility to learn, and promote, the truth about public issues. But in recent events concerning the planned closure of Broome Developmental Center (BDC) and its Local Intensive Treatment (LIT) Unit, several local politicians and officials have not stood for truth.
They have instead accepted verifiably false rumors at face value, and promoted fear and panic in this community. They have contributed to an atmosphere in which threats of violence have been made against at least one citizen, who is now facing homelessness as a result of misinformed prejudice. They have recklessly aided and abetted a witch hunt, and will share responsibility for any harm that comes to anyone as a result.
All of us share our communities with criminals. None of us knows whether our neighbors, disabled or not, have committed assaults, murders, kidnappings, armed robbery, or arson, or whether they are likely to do it again. People are very nervous about sex crimes. But is there a rational explanation for why we publicize the location of people who inappropriately touch someone, but do not tell everybody where all the drunk drivers who have killed children live?
A federal Department of Justice study found that strangers were the offenders in fewer than 5% of sexual assaults against pre-teen children. Over 95% of these acts were committed by people known to the children and, most likely, to their families. Did knowing those people and where they live protect the children? No, it did not. But it’s easier for people to hate and hound and ostracize strangers than it is for them to take responsible action to make sure their spouses, siblings, and friends don’t molest their kids.
Society’s response to this issue is almost entirely emotional, and that’s how politicians make hay. Several of them are now saying that we need legislation so we can permanently lock up people who are merely accused of crimesbut only if they have disabilities.
This is, of course, unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment, and illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is also outrageous. And all of the elected officials involved in this hysteria know better.
But most of them get significant campaign support from public employee unions, including those representing workers at BDC.
For decades, people have been released from forensic units operated by the NY State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) all over the state, none of whom committed dangerous acts after release. When people are released one or two at a time, here and there, there’s no public uproar. Most of these people were admitted voluntarily, and have never been accused or convicted of a crime. They can leave any time, with 72 hours’ notice. Court-remanded people, whether “competent” to stand trial or not, cannot be released, nor can they just walk out.
These witch hunts only seem to occur when an OPWDD facility is scheduled to be closed. We saw it in Rochester last year, and now we’re seeing it here. STIC also has email evidence that recent local events were encouraged by union leaders.
Closing these facilities will mean a loss of union jobs. Not a net loss; the people being released need lots of support services, and new jobs will be created to provide them. But the unions that are still preventing OPWDD from firing workers who abuse people in state facilities will lose jobs. Those unions will get less dues revenue; their leaders will have lower salaries; and they won’t be able to give so much money to political campaigns. It’s easy to see what’s really motivating these people.
Our leaders are supposed to lead informed citizens, not follow angry mobs. And they are supposed to put the rights of the people ahead of the interests of campaign contributors. The responsible thing for them to do now is to:
1. Publicly condemn the illegal actions of people who release confidential information.
2. Publicly state that most of the information being spread by the rumor mill is false.
3. Support OPWDD’s perfectly adequate plan to maintain 150 beds in two secure locations to house truly dangerous people after BDC closes.
4. Stop calling for new laws to rescind the habeas corpus rights of people with disabilities who are not convicted of crimes.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 31, 2014
Contact: Richard Farruggio (607) 724-2111
Southern Tier Independence Center Introduces newest Peer Counselor
STIC is pleased to announce the newest addition to our peer support team, Richard Farruggio, a totally blind man who understands the ins and outs of living and working with a visual impairment.
He says, “I’m very pleased to be working at Southern Tier Independence Center. My special interest area is in working with people who are blind and visually impaired. If you or someone in your family or friends has any questions about services available or just need to ask a few questions.
call me at 607-724-2111 Monday through Friday 9:am 5:pm.
I look forward to hearing from you.”
Fundraiser for the Haunted Halls of Horror / STIC
Ruby Tuesdays Give Back Fundraiser for HHH
Ruby Tuesday fund raiser will be on Thursday nights 4/3/14, 4/10/14, 4/17/14, and 4/24/14 All Day - Mention Haunted Halls of Horror / STIC give back program when paying your check and Ruby will donate 20% of your bill back to STIC.
601-635 Harry L Drive
Johnson City, NY 13790
Haunted Halls of Horror (HHH) / Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC) are proud to announce these fundraising events with the Binghamton Senators Hockey Team in Feb / March / April. Please come out and support HHH / STIC on any or all the dates below and help us raise money to support people with disabilities in our community reach their goal of independence. Tickets are being sold at face value of 19.00, and the B Sens are donating back a portion of each ticket sale to STIC to enrich the lives of people with disabilities. Tickets are in a blocked area for HHH / STIC, so get an opportunities to sit with family / friends, or even our ScarActors from the haunted house.
Sunday 4/6/14 @ 3:05pm Playing Wilkes Barre / Scranton Penguins
Saturday 4/19/14 @ 7:05pm Playing Norfolk Admirals
Please contact Todd Fedyshyn @ (607) 351-9352 for ticket sales
Who We Serve
All of our services are available to people with all disabilities of all ages and their families. Many are also offered to businesses, agencies and governments.
All services are offered in the following counties:
Please see our services link above for specific information regarding all programs and counties served.
If you can suggest any other steps we can take toward building this accessible world, we'd like to hear from you at email@example.com or by phone (607) 724-2111 (voice/TTY/ VP) or fax (607) 772-3600. Or visit us at 135 East Frederick St. Binghamton, NY 13904. Our hours are 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday. Our programs grow out of your needs and concerns. Together, our journey into imagination can become a reality.
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AccessAbility is STIC's quarterly newsletter, featuring important national, state, and local disability news, (sometimes controversial) opinion, self-help information, and more. Subscriptions are free, but if you can afford it, you can make a $10 donation.
Send us email with your name and snail-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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