A lot of discussion and legislation about the disability community happens at the New Mexico State Legislature. That includes the work of the Disabilities Concerns Subcommittee of the legislature. In addition, organizations and members of the public can learn about upcoming issues before they become bills or laws. As one of the larger disability service nonprofits in New Mexico, Adelante attends meetings when we can, including a recent virtual meeting on September 17, 2020.
The committee covered a wide variety of topics. First, the agenda included services being provided during the pandemic. Later, the challenges students with disabilities face with online learning was covered. NMDOH also provided updates.
The topic of most interest to Adelante and of our families would likely be the update on providers. Some disability organizations have received less than positive feedback from families or through the media during the pandemic. However, there is more to those stories. Many of the stories involved programs closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. NM Department of Health made these changes. Adelante followed these directives closely to ensure we were complying. Of course, that is a legal obligation. However, we also knew that everyone had the goal of keeping people safe.
Unlike other states in the U.S., we have had relatively few cases in the disability programs in New Mexico. That’s important because people with disabilities have more complex cases of COVID-19, worse outcomes, and more deaths than the wider population.
One of our board members, Ryan Baca, shared her insights from a family perspective. She has a relative in our Community Living homes and was thankful for the creativity and caring Adelante staff have shown during the pandemic. She has a long history with disability advocacy as does her family. Her maiden name is Jackson, a name the disability community knows well. Her family members were behind the Jackson lawsuit that brought sweeping changes to disability care in New Mexico. Download her full remarks below.
A few providers also spoke at the Disability Concerns committee meeting, including Ed Kaul of ARCA. Download his remarks below.
Get involved with advocacy work: Send an email to: info@GoAdelante.org. If you’d like to keep up with the Disabilities Concerns Subcommittee work, you can find the members, upcoming meetings and more at: https://nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=DISC