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Nine years after then-Governor Mike Easley apologized for North Carolina’s shameful eugenics program, a state task force has recommended providing lump-sum payments to the surviving victims.

In a 93-page preliminary report delivered to Governor Bev Perdue on Monday, the task force said “that the state of North Carolina must move beyond just an apology” and provide “meaningful compensation” to those who were sterilized by the state.

While the panel wants more time to consider what’s fair, it notes that $20,000 to $50,000 per victim is the range that has been considered in the past. Additionally, the task force wants funding for:

  • Mental Health Services for Living Victims
  • Funding for Traveling N.C. Eugenics Exhibit
  • Continuation and Expansion for the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation

Charmaine Fuller Cooper, Executive Director of the North Carolina Justice for Victims of Sterilization Foundation, recently appeared on News & Views to discuss efforts to compensate the roughly 1,500 to 2,000 victims who are still alive.

Cooper believes the next hurdle will be getting state legislators to approve the Eugenics Task Force’s recommendations, especially given North Carolina’s current budget woes.

To list to part of our studio interview, click below. To read the Governor’s Eugenics Compensation Task Force Preliminary Report, click here.

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The good folks at Disability Rights NC issued a press release today that highlights a new 16 page report from the U.S. Department of Justice. The findings come just under a year after DRNC issued its own damning report on North Carolina’s shameful treatment of the mentially ill.

This is from the release: Read More

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Felipe Matos is among the top 20 community college students in America, but he’s ineligible for financial aid at the top universities that have accepted him. Gaby Pacheco has three education degrees and plans to use music therapy as a teaching tool for autistic children and adults. Brought to the United States at age 2, Carlos Roa wanted to join the military but could not because of his immigration status.

Three months ago, they embarked on Trail of Dreams, a 1,500 mile walk from Miami to Washington.  These students are facing much more than sore feet; several are undocumented, and they risk deportation and detention to share their stories and raise awareness about the need for just immigration reform.

These students exemplify why support is growing for the DREAM Act, federal legislation that would enable students brought to the U.S. at a young age to legally access higher education and financial aid. Every year, 65,000 students graduate U.S. high schools but are denied a college education because of our broken and unjust immigration system.  These students include valedictorians, class presidents and community leaders.  Yet they are refused the opportunity to further their education and give back to America — the country they see as their home.

Just graduating high school can be more challenging for undocumented students than for their peers; they often must learn English as a second language, take care of family responsibilities that their parents cannot manage without understanding English, overcome low socio-economic status and all that that entails, and cope with the psychological trauma of living in fear of deportation.

Trail of Dreams, which made its way through the Triangle last week, is a journey of hope for these students and the 12 million undocumented migrants in the United States.

For more information, check out the Southern Coalition for Social Justice’s Statement of Support.

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This morning, this is a heartbreaking story on the cover of the N&O.

Salima Mabry watched over her son Tuesday as he slept awkwardly in the chair where he had spent eight days waiting for a bed in a state mental hospital. Joshua Stewart, 13, is severely autistic and has an IQ of 36. He can only speak in short, single words, such as “Ma” or “hurt.” He first arrived at Wake County’s Crisis and Assessment unit for people with mental illness in the back of a squad car on Jan.18 after he attacked his mother and little brother.

As the mother of two sons with autism, one of whom has had serious issues with aggression, I can easily imagine myself in Ms. Mabry’s situation – desperate to find help for my child and also terrified of what he might do next. But I am lucky. My boys got slots in the Community Alternatives Program, which provides them with a variety of services, even as thousands of families around the state remained on the waiting list.

This is how budget cuts impact actual, real-life people. And this issue stretches well beyond the problems with inadequate mental-health funding. It’s about not providing enough teachers and not giving them the training they need so they can help children with disabilities. It’s about refusing to provide funds for early intervention services. It’s about cutting Medicaid reimbursement rates until providers are forced to stop taking those patients.

The budget is about much more than just money.