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Welcome to issue 14 of the Riot! It’s the jobs issue.

The front page contains the newsletter title and subtitles, a left column listing the table of contents called “What's Inside,” and two articles.

Newsletter title: The Riot!


Issue 14, October 2007


A National E-Newsletter from the Self-Advocate Leadership Network at HSRI

Left Column

What's Inside

Page 2: Julie’s Jive

Page 2: George Says

Page 3: Wasting the day away

Page 3: Did you know?

Page 3: What’s the beef?

Page 4: The Good News

Page 4: Self-advocates want real jobs

Page 5: Spring Horoscope and Ask Cubby

Page 6: Ask Dr. Z

Page 7: Craig Says, Cartoon, Puzzle answers

Page 8: Riot! Action Page

Do you want to order a Riot! T-shirt? Call Jennifer at 503-924-3783, extension 10.

Subscribe to The Riot! It’s Free! Go to

Page 1 Front Page News

Going… Going… Gone!

Sheltered workshops and day centers are disappearing all over the country.  One day a building is there.  The next day it is gone.

The police have no idea who or what is behind it all.  Meanwhile, scientists can’t explain how a whole building can disappear in the middle of the night without anyone noticing.  “I can’t explain it,” says Tony Wrangler of Zappa Research Center.

Over the past 4 months, over 800 buildings have disappeared. That is about two every night.  

This past June, Sally W. from Illinois arrived at work but found that the sheltered workshop was gone!  She worked in that same building for 17 years so she was sure that she was in the right place.  When she looked, all she saw was a bare field.  She said that the dirt gave off a smell like rotten eggs and when she touched the ground it burned her fingers.  Later she found out that her shoes smelled too and she had to get rid of them.  She blames space aliens.

In Texas, Frank L.  got up for work just like any other day. When he got to the Day Center, there was no building there.  Again, all that was there was the ground and a rotten egg stink in the air.  The police were everywhere looking over the crime scene.  They suggested that somebody hauled the building away in the middle of the night.  “They must have had a mighty big truck,” said Frank.

Some people are worried about all the disappearing buildings.  They wonder if the building in their town is next. Other self-advocates say “Good riddance!”

Ray P. from New York says, “I was wasting away in that place. Now it’s gone and I work at a great job making real money. I just can't stop smiling.”

What happens next is anybody’s guess. Unless the police can figure things out, these buildings may just keep disappearing until they are all gone.

Page 2 Riot! Opinion

Left Column: About The Riot!

The Riot! is produced by the Self-Advocate Leadership Network at the Human Services Research Institute. We work together with self-advocates to come up with ideas and write the stories. Here’s who “we” are:

Chief Editor: Julie Petty – Arkansas


Ricky Broussard - Texas

Dayna Davis - Oregon

Rebecca Hare – Washington DC

Joe Meadours - California

Eric Matthes - Washington

Teresa Moore - Arizona

Nancy Ward - Oklahoma

Marion West - New Hampshire

Betty Williams - Alabama

Erick Yeary – Idaho

Cartoon: Jazmyne Johnston - Oregon

At HSRI: John Agosta, Reena Wagle, Kerri Melda and Jaime Johnston Daignault

Julie’s Jive

Self-Advocates say, Show me the money!”

For years we have been saying we want real jobs for real pay! But employment opportunities in the community are still limited for people with disabilities and many self-advocates are still not getting the jobs they want. This issue is about what self-advocates want and what we don’t want when it comes to employment. We don’t want to work in workshops, work crews, enclaves and other types of segregated employment — we want jobs in the community just like anyone else!

People with disabilities are labeled, and we continue to be stereotyped when people “help” us find work. As a result, we get stuck working in “the four F’s:” Food, Filth, Folding and Flowers. There are many jobs that people with disabilities can do besides cleaning house and folding laundry!

I have to mention workshops where people often get paid much less than minimum wage. Now, I hear that some people want to stay at workshops. But I wonder why. Is it because people feel safe and comfortable there? Is it because people are afraid they won’t get the kind of job they want? Or, is it because people don’t know about the possibilities?

It is scary to change, but change is good! I remember when I got a full time job and I lost my SSI check. I was scared! But I started making a great income and it felt good. I pay taxes!

If you don’t like where you work or how you spend your day, read inside to learn more and speak up! Don’t stop speaking up until you get what you want!

George Says

People should live their dreams.”

My dream was to get a real job. I got my first job on March 20th, 1989, five days after my 21st birthday. I worked at a company that made clutches and brakes. The work was very dirty, but it was a first step. After that, I worked as a janitor and then in a store. In 2002, I got a job at the Baptist Hospital Network in environmental services. What I liked about those jobs was meeting people and flexible hours. But I didn’t like low wages and working at night.

In 2004, I joined a self-advocacy group and became President of People First of Alabama. I learned to be confident and to speak up for myself. Since then, my confidence has soared and my dream has come true. I have a real job as Director of Consumer Empowerment in Alabama.

Now, I work with people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities to make their goals and dreams come true. I encourage people to get involved in self-advocacy and to speak up. I also provide information on possibilities for transportation, housing, and jobs. My new goal is to support people to live their dreams—everyone should be able to live their dreams.

George Neal is the Director of Consumer Empowerment for Alabama MHMR.

Page 3 Riot! Report

Wasting the day away

People say that sheltered workshops provide work for people with disabilities. They say that self-advocates can earn a pay check, work with their friends, and learn how to do a job.

People say that at day centers self-advocates learn daily living skills like how to cook, fix a bed, read signs, and stay safe. They also receive other services, like physical therapy.

Well… Yes. Maybe. It is true that in many workshops people are working and at day centers people are learning new things.

Take a closer look. What do you see? Self-advocates see a lot of people wasting their day away. They are sorting nuts and bolts or rubber bands, writing their name over and over, watching TV, sleeping, and playing monopoly or some other game. Is this real work?

This is all “busywork” to keep people occupied all day without doing anything meaningful or interesting. This is wasting the day away. Today. Tomorrow. Every day. Are you wasting your day away?

Advertisement: Wanted

Adults to waste the day away

No experience needed

Put nuts and bolts in pails

Sort tent poles into piles

Sort rubber bands into piles

Write your name over and over again

Play monopoly all day

Do simple contract work

Do the same thing everyday forever

Get paid next to nothing!

This job is for you!!

Only people with disabilities need apply

Call 1-877-ITS-CRAP

Did you know?

Did you know that that most adult self-advocates who receive services go to workshops and day centers?

The graph compares the number of people in 2004 that were in workshops or day centers with the number of people in supported employment. The number of people in workshops or day centers was 381,472 compared to 118,391 people in supported employment. That’s about two-thirds more people in segregated settings than in the community! Is it like this where YOU live?

This information is from the Coleman Institute website:

What’s the beef?

Get us real jobs. Close sheltered workshops.”

Most self-advocates want a real job with a real paycheck. People say that day centers are a good place to start and that workshops are a good place to work. Really? Self-advocates disagree! Self-advocates have a beef with:

Low Pay — people who go to workshops or day centers very often make little or no money.

Getting Stuck — there is all this talk about moving on to a real job after awhile. It doesn't happen very often, does it? Most people get stuck and do not move on. This is a Dead End Deal.

Paying to StayIn workshops, self-advocates often do contract work and the workshop gets paid. Where does all the money go? A little is paid to self-advocates, but a lot of it is kept by the workshop to pay for it to stay open. So, self-advocates are working to help pay to stay in the workshop!

“This stinks!” says Eric M. of Seattle, Washington.

Self-advocates are adding it up. Low pay. Getting stuck. And paying to stay. This is not what self-advocates want.”
Page 4 Riot! Report

The Good News: Did you know?

Self-advocates are hard working, reliable and dedicated employees.

Many self-advocates own and run their own businesses.

Experts say the number of self-advocates with real jobs is growing.

Schools can develop transition plans for students that include paid work experience before graduation.

Some programs can help self-advocates go to college.

Vermont closed its last sheltered workshop in 2002.

Working with people with disabilities makes co-workers feel good.

The Social Security Administration offers incentives to help people with disabilities keep their benefits when they get work.

Employers can get a break on their taxes if they hire people with disabilities.

Self-Advocates want real jobs

Dayna has Cerebral Palsy. She was laid off from her office job where she had worked for seven years. She wants another job in the community, but her Vocational Rehabilitation worker doesn’t believe she can be successful in a competitive market.

“They want to put me in a workshop instead!”

Self-advocates are tired of being offered “jobs” in workshops. “We want to be out there like everyone else working at a real job and making real money,” says Ricky, a self-advocate from Texas.

With the right support and creative planning around interests and dreams, people with disabilities can work in the community:

Luke lived in an institution and spent 10 years in a workshop. Supported employment services helped him to get a job at a grocery store. Now he owns a vending machine business.

Pam is self-employed as an artist and advocate. She also works part-time at Target. She spent most of her life in an institution before getting out and receiving support to create her dream job.

Robert used a Social Security PASS plan to buy equipment for his business. Now he owns a laundry business sterilizing towels for hair salons.

Cheryl loves to read. She turned this interest into a business. She owns a small book store in a coffee shop.

We can work in competitive jobs— we just need good support.

Page 5 Riot! Romance


A horoscope predicts the future based on the position of the planets and your birthday. Find the sign that fits with your birthday. Then read about what’s in store for you!

Aries (March 21-April 19): At work, your great sense of humor makes co-workers like being around you, but beware if the boss becomes a little too friendly…

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Find balance between work and play. Work hard in the day to tie up loose ends. Then, go out with friends at night!

Gemini (May 21-June 20): You may find a coworker too pushy or competitive. Take time to pause and reflect on things carefully.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): If you look at your paycheck and see nothing there, it’s time to move on! Think about a job that pays you better.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): You are a great facilitator but be careful when you help others solve their problems. Sometimes tempers get hot!

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Someone at work keeps looking out for you. See if you can spot that special look coming your way.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Have a scary job like sky-diving or grave-digging? Think about quitting and get one that isn’t so scary.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): If you are passionate about a new job, make a plan that will pay off. Don't take too long.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Try bobbing for apples at your Halloween party. Someone there may like bobbing around with you.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The stars are in line for you. Go for that big promotion at work. You deserve it!

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): When the bell rings, come out swinging, you are the star of the main event. A promotion is waiting in the ring.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): At work you feel like you are swimming with your head just above water, it's time to dry off, catch your breath and take control.

Need Romance Advice? Ask Cubby!

Dear Cubby: I can get a job at the hospital. My girlfriend wants me to stay with her at the workshop. What should I do?

Confused in Syracuse

Dear Confused: Take the job at the hospital! Explain to her that it’s a real job in the
community. Maybe she should get one too.

Dear Cubby: My boyfriend keeps telling me he wants to get married. But he keeps pushing the date back. Should I keep waiting?

Waiting in Medford

Dear Waiting: If he can’t make his mind up, you should move on. Don’t wait any longer.

Dear Cubby: I have dated a guy for 3 years. We are both over 30! He won’t tell his dad about us. I hate sneaking around. I want to tell his dad anyway. Should I?

Tired of waiting in Selma

Dear Tired: Don’t tell his dad. If you do, you could make things worse. At some point, your boyfriend will need to stand up to his dad. In the meantime, decide if you are willing to date in secret. If not, kiss him “goodbye.”
Page 6 Riot! Fun

Ask Dr. Z (a real doctor!)

Does stepping on a crack really break your mother’s back?

Of course not! Sidewalk cracks do not cause broken bones. But, there are things you can do to make your bones stronger. Exercise is a great way to build your bones. Try walking, dancing, and taking the stairs.

Calcium is a mineral that helps build bones. Every day you should eat three servings of calcium. One serving of calcium is a glass of milk, a yogurt, or two pieces of cheese. Other foods with calcium are green leafy vegetables, almonds, and sometimes orange juice. How many servings of calcium have you had today?

What’s the story with mummies?

People in Egypt turned people into mummies after they died. First the body is washed with wine and water. Then the organs are taken out. The brain is pulled out through the nose with a long hook! The heart is left inside. Forty days later the body is washed again.  Then the organs are put back inside or sometimes in jars. Next, the body is wrapped in strips of cloth. The mummy is buried in a coffin. The coffin is put in a tomb with food, drink, furniture, and clothes. The mummy has everything it needs for the next life!

Do doctors operate on patients on Friday the 13th?

Yes, they do! Friday the 13th of any month is a day that people think brings bad luck. Some people can be so afraid of this date that they can’t get out of bed! Millions of people can have a bad time on this day.

This is just a superstition… that is, a belief that really isn't true. On Friday the 13th airplanes still fly. Schools are open. Health clinics are open. And doctors see patients and operate too!
Page 7 Riot! Sauce

Craig Says, Bad jobs and low pay REALLY STINK!”

There’s a song that goes “I don’t want to work, I just want to bang on the drum all day!” I like to think of this as my motto. I don’t like to work. I don’t want to work. I’m just fine sitting at home watching dust bunnies start up and grow. I have dust bunnies all over my house.

Why would someone want to leave the comfort of their own home, get dressed up, and go to a job? I’d much rather sit here, in my pajamas, and watch TV. What’s the big deal about a “REAL JOB?” Who needs that kind of pressure?

I meet self-advocates who want to work! That’s silly to me! Some self-advocates work inside at offices, some work outside in the fresh air!

One thing that really bugs me though is when self-advocates get assigned to jobs that they really don't want. You know… dead end jobs… jobs with not enough hours… or jobs that don’t pay enough. It seems that these are the only types of jobs self-advocates get. Why is that?

Providers like to use words like “choice” and “self-determination” and then put self-advocates in jobs that they want them to have instead of what the self-advocates want! Look, I don’t want to work, but if I did, I’d want to do a job that I’d decide on (like being a professional beach bum!) instead of what someone else wants me to do.

What stinks even more is when self-advocates don’t even make enough money at these jobs to have a decent life.

You know if you want to work… that’s fine. But get a job that you will like for some decent pay. Here’s some tips!

Spend the day with friends who have jobs. Find out what you like or don’t like about it! Choose a job that you are interested in.

Tell people what you want. Talk to someone you trust who can help you get going.

Contact your case manager or vocational rehabilitation office and ask for services that really do help you get the job you want!


The cartoon is of a guy sitting at a table sorting nuts and bolts from a pile into a box. He looks tired and unhappy and is slouched in his chair. Above his head is an idea bubble with symbols that let you know he is swearing.

The Jazzy character says, “I know exactly what he’s thinking. Don’t you?”

Halloween Poem

Danny White

had a fright

in the middle of the night..

He saw a ghost

eating toast

halfway up a lamp post.
Page 8, The Riot! Action Page

Self-Advocates Speak Up! And Speak Out!

What do you do during the day? Are you doing what you want? If you are working, do you like your job? Are you getting paid enough? What kind of job do YOU really want? If you are still in school, maybe you wonder what you will do after you graduate. What will you be doing then?

At your next meeting, ask yourselves these three questions. Let everyone get a chance to talk!

What do you do during the day right now? Make a list of what people say they are doing.

Do you like what you are doing? Hear what everyone says. Some will like what they do, and some won’t.

What kind of job would you REALLY like to do? Let it rip! Listen to what people say!

Now, think about what people said. Is everyone really doing what they want? If the answer is “YES” that’s great!

If the answer is “No,” then ask, “what can WE do about it?”

Get some help to answer this question. Parents, case managers, teachers and staff might be able to help you. The important thing is for people to get real jobs that they are happy with!
Talk it up… Have yourselves a regular Riot!

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The Healthy Relationships and Safe Sex Handbook is written by Joe Meadours, a self-advocate living in Alabama. To order a copy call 503-924-3783 ext. 10 or visit us at and follow the links.

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