International Disability Rights News Service
Click here for home page & today's headlines
Keeping advocates informed, inspired and connected since
Click here for daily or weekly delivery . . . OR
Try Inclusion Daily Express for two weeks FREE . . .
THE INCLUSION DAILY EXPRESS
(Adapted from a September 29, 2006 interview for a Disability Nation podcast)
WELCOME, FELLOW ADVOCATE
My name is Dave Reynolds. I am the editor of Inclusion Daily Express, a daily online news and information service that focuses on the civil and human rights of people with every kind of disability in every part of the world.
Inclusion Daily Express is headquartered in Spokane, Washington, USA, and is currently delivered through email to about 900 readers across the globe nearly every week day or weekend.
I am an 'accidental' disability rights advocate who has transformed myself into a kind of news hunter/gatherer and story teller. Searching and sifting through Internet search engines, government websites, and emails from readers, I find news articles, press releases, and commentaries on disability issues, and sometimes interview people in the news to get their disability perspective on a particular issue or event. Then I toss out the duplicates or ones that are not disability rights related, and put the good stuff all together in an accessible email document that readers can scan through for what they want.
WHAT KINDS OF STORIES WILL YOU FIND?
Inclusion Daily Express features brief summaries of the news that has the most impact on the disability community or that readers will find most interesting, along with links to more expanded coverage. The idea is to get relevant information out to readers in a way that saves them the precious time it would take to weed through the garbage. They can scan through for what they want, then move on.
I don't limit my news to any specific disabilities because discrimination and social justice don't recognize differences in disabilities or abilities. The United Kingdom's Disability Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, for example, were designed to protect all of us, whether we are deaf, use a wheelchair, or have a learning disability.
I tend to focus on how advocates working independently or in groups are changing how the world perceives and treats folks with disabilities. I love, for instance, the stories about the "Flag Pole Mom" in rural Pennsylvania who held a month-long vigil sitting in a lawn chair strapped to the flagpole outside an elementary school, to force officials to provide an appropriate education for her son, who is deaf and has Down syndrome. Or the 'Wheelchair Guerrilla' squads in Melbourne, Australia, who have been known to stop streetcars, quickly hand out leaflets about the inaccessibility of the transit system, and then quietly vanish.
So Inclusion Daily Express covers such issues as accessibility, advocacy, employment, assistive technology, education, institutions, community living, how the criminal justice system deals with suspects that have disabilities, crimes against people with disabilities, and so forth.
WHY DO I DO THIS?
I have championed the rights of people with disabilities in one way or another for much of my life. In junior high school, nearly all of my friends and I were 'misfits'. It wasn't until adulthood that I learned they had labels such as "mental retardation" and "bipolar disorder". They were simply my buddies.
It only seems natural, looking back now, that for more than 20 years of my working life, I would serve people with disabilities, as a teacher's aide in elementary special education, finding jobs for adults with intellectual and physical disabilities through supported employment, and operating group homes for people with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. I hate to admit it, but I also ran a sheltered workshop for a brief period during the Dark Ages of the early 1990s.
In all of those cases, however, I found myself advocating for and identifying with the people being served more than I did those in management. I guess I tried all along to work from the inside to change systems that -- despite employing many well-meaning workers and mission statements written to help people -- sometimes ignored their human needs, and at other times tried to break their will.
I also found it hard to fit "in the system" while carrying around a huge chip on my shoulder against systems and well-intentioned experts. You see, when I was growing up in the 1960s, school professionals said I was "lazy", "undisciplined", "day dreamy" and failed to "live up to potential". They didn't know what to do with a kid who they could tell was smart but far too easily distracted, so they tried to change my behavior using pain and humiliation, which, of course, made things worse.
It wasn't until I was in my late 30s -- after a series of short-term jobs and failed relationships -- when a therapist said described "attention deficit disorder" and a doctor explained "severe depression" that I started to understand why my parents and those experts in the 60s had struggled so much to figure out what made me 'tick'.
While I still get frustrated with some aspects of my life -- such as my difficulty focusing on what needs to be done rather than being led around by moment-by-moment distractions, along with intense bouts of "keep-me-in-bed-for-weeks-at-a-time" depression -- I'm finally learning to appreciate who I am and what I have to offer the world.
In the late 1990s, I discovered the Internet (a perfect outlet for ADDers) and soon found myself spending several hours a day gathering news and information and sharing it with friends and members of Advocates for Full Community Inclusion, a listserve I started in 1997. At last, I could connect with allies in this movement! I also found myself writing more and more -- and loving it -- relying on my early days as feature editor for my high school newspaper and later as producer for a local television station.
Finally, determined to 'follow my bliss', in 1999 my wife at the time and I decided to start Inclusion Daily Express as a way to get relevant information -- with a bit of an 'edge' -- to people in a timely, organized, condensed fashion that, unlike many 'disability news' websites and services, could last more than a year or two.
On December 2, 2006, IDE will turn 7-years-old.
The first challenge -- and one I still struggle with today -- was to find a way to pay for the computers, website, email service, phone, heat, and so forth, along with a modest salary for me (to this day, I'm still working part-time outside my home office to make ends meet), while not pricing the service out of reach for the people who need and appreciate it the most. We decided on subscriptions rather than advertising because 1) many ad-based websites and news services disappeared after a short time, 2) I'm not much of a sales guy, 3) people do tend to pay more attention to something they have an investment in, and 4) I didn't want my writing to be influenced by trying to please advertisers.
So a subscription for the daily news, or the weekly digest, is just $24.99 for three months or $89.99 for a year -- a bit less than the cost of a typical daily newspaper. And since many offices, chapters, departments and families have more than one or two people, I allow one subscription to be shared with up to 10 readers at no added charge. This way it can end up being pretty inexpensive for each reader.
People can go to the Inclusion Daily Express website and browse around to see what kinds of issues we cover and stories we follow. Then, if they see what they like, they can sign up themselves or their organizations.
Readers tell me its well worth it. Some have me send it to their friends, families, advocates, management teams, students, board members, and so forth. A few have signed up dozens or even hundreds of readers at one time -- at a substantial discount for each group.
To see whether Inclusion Daily Express meets your needs, you can sign up for a two-week mini-subscription at no charge, no obligation, and no worry that your private information will be shared.
We also provide news briefs for organizations' newsletters and websites for a reasonable rate. You can take a look at Ragged Edge Magazine or Disability Nation websites to see how that works.
We'd love to have you join us!
Click here for top of this page
You can have the latest disability rights news delivered to your email
Inbox every week day.
Subscribe to Inclusion Daily Express today!
3231 W. Boone Ave., # 711
Spokane, Washington 99201 USA
Copyright © 2007 Inonit Publishing