The DRA's national advocacy work involves high-impact action litigation on the behalf of persons with all forms of disability, to include hearing, vision, mobility, psychological and learning disabilities. Through processes of both negotiation and litigation the DRA has made thousands of facilities through the nation accessible while enforcing access rights for millions of people with disabilities in a number of key areas of life. The areas the DRA has improved access to include education, technology, transportation, employment, and health care.
The DRA engages in advocacy and non-litigation throughout the country as well, including education and research projects that are focused on opening up access to schools, the professions and health care. The DRA publishes a periodic statistical report called, 'Disability Watch,' which analyzes barriers and emerging issues people with disabilities face. The organization also publishes different, 'Know Your Rights,' handbooks that are designed to both assist and educate people with disabilities in knowing and enforcing their civil rights.
Disability Rights Advocates established a program to bring awareness to the world concerning the Holocaust committed against people with disabilities under the Nazis. The DRA represents a broad coalition of people and disability rights organizations throughout the world. The organization continues to research an area that has been largely ignored by historians, educating others concerning the facts surrounding the Holocaust, and highlighting current discriminatory attitudes that persist against people who experience disability.
DRA has focuses on high-impact litigation with the intention of protecting the civil rights of people with all forms of disabilities throughout America. They represent people with disabilities in over fifty active cases, the majority of which focus on public accommodations and services, health care access, employment rights, high stakes testing, and other key activities of mainstream life. These areas are the most representative of the work the DRA does to protect the rights of people with disabilities to ensure their full participation and opportunities.
Disability Rights Advocates Projects
The DRA engages in multi-pronged strategies to achieve systemic change for people with disabilities. Some of their strategies involve direct negotiations, while others involve regulatory advocacy or education. The DRA pursues these efforts as a portion of organized projects to achieve systemic improvements outside of more traditional litigation.
Accessibility of Public Parks, Shorelines, and Historic Areas: DRA is working in conjunction with Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) on a plan to address barriers to accessibility and enjoyment of the GGNRA. The goal is to make the GGNRA more accessible for people with mobility and sensory disabilities.
Health Access Project: Addressing the many barriers to quality health care and insurance that people with disabilities face each day is another effort on the part of DRA. They are working to remove access barriers through research, litigation and public education. DRA is a leader in protection of the rights of people with disabilities to access health care.
Telecommunications Access Project: The year 2004 found Disability Rights Advocates initiating a telecommunications project that focused on representing the needs of people with disabilities before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Major changes within the telecommunications industry are affecting people with disabilities. Prior to the DRA's initiation of their Telecommunications Access Project, there was no entity that regularly represented the interests of people with disabilities before one of California's most powerful regulatory agencies.
Education Access Project: Education is often a key to overcoming many of the barriers that people with disabilities face. To the dismay of many, education itself has been a major obstacle because of access barriers. Disability Rights Advocates challenges barriers at every level, from K-12 to college and graduate studies. DRA works to remove physical barriers from school facilities. They work to make modifications of discriminatory policies, entrance and exit exams, and additional high stakes exams, striving to make them accessible.
Emergency Preparation Project: DRA launched an Emergency Preparation Project that has the goal of systemically improving emergency preparation plans for people with disabilities in the entire state of California. Their concept is to create a universal plan; one that is smarter and more comprehensive and responsive overall.
Technology Access Project: DRA has been at the very forefront of technology access, with their Target case setting a precedent in the law governing e-commerce. DRA has committed themselves to challenging technological barriers which deny people with disabilities equal access.
Unite to Protect the Safety Net Project:Disability Rights Advocates, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Neighborhood Legal Services, and Kirkland & Ellis L.L.P. represent a coalition of low-income people, disability support centers, and healthcare clinics who have filed a lawsuit to challenge the Governor's cuts using his line-item veto authority. The line-item vetoes very drastically reduce social services, threatening a devastating impact on people who are sick and disabled, as well as domestic violence survivors and many others. The organization is also collecting stories from persons who have experienced the effects of the Governor's budget cuts. The stories people share with the public and decision makers help them understand exactly what the Governor's cuts mean in relation to the lives of those who depend these vital services - www.dralegal.org - Disability Rights Advocates