Two people having a picnic and the text

Hello all and Happy New Year!

With each new year, people everywhere assess their lives, set goals, and make resolutions. Since 2020 and the start of the pandemic, doing so has almost felt foolish and naïve. For many, the pandemic has permanently altered the way we approach life, community, and one another. For those within the disability community, COVID has confirmed much of what advocates have been saying for years: that accessibility is not just possible, but necessary.  

While it can feel like our community has been left behind in many areas regarding the pandemic and cynicism seems to be creeping in, hope remains our greatest asset in the path forward.

Rugged hope. Bold hope. Collective hope.

Progress for the disability community is not only still possible but is more important than ever. This year Disability Rights Pennsylvania celebrates our 45th anniversary, and we will continue to advocate for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in Pennsylvania.  We will continue our COVID advocacy as well as continue to address any barriers that keep people with disabilities from living the lives they choose as well as inform individuals of their rights. To fully realize inclusion, the disability community and our allies must continue advocating for inclusive policies because accessibility and inclusion benefits everyone.  We thank you for your past support and ask that you continue to contribute to our advocacy as we press on in this work—along the road paved with hope.

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Fighting to End Unnecessary Institutionalization Before Olmstead 

Disability Rights Pennsylvania celebrates its 45th anniversary this year!  We were incorporated and recognized as the Protection and Advocacy organization in Pennsylvania in 1977.  Throughout this year, we will be looking back at 45 impacts we have had on disability rights over those 45 years.

Many in the disability community are familiar with the Supreme Court’s important 1999 Olmstead decision, which interpreted the integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act and held that unnecessary institutionalization is discrimination.  But DRP and other advocates were fighting long before Olmstead to end unnecessary institutionalization. 

Disability advocates and attorneys tried a series of legal strategies beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, arguing, for instance, that the Constitution required services to be provided in the least restrictive environment and arguing that the federal Developmental Disabilities “Bill of Rights” required community services for people with disabilities who were unnecessarily institutionalized.  Those strategies ultimately proved unsuccessful, yet, disability advocates continued to strategize on how to accomplish less restrictive environments for people with disabilities. 


Disability Rights Pennsylvania is interested in learning about the voting experiences of voters with disabilities. Disability Rights Pennsylvania and Penn State Harrisburg’s Center for Survey Research are surveying Pennsylvania voters with disabilities who participated in the 2020 general election and 2021 primary and general elections.

Voters with disabilities can complete a ten-minute survey that will let them share the obstacles they faced when voting.  The goal of this survey is to make sure that voting is accessible to everyone in Pennsylvania.

This survey is for Pennsylvanians who have a disability who either:

  • Voted in 2020 or 2021, or
  • Wanted to vote in 2020 or 2021 and did not because of a disability.

You will be asked questions about how you voted (for example, mail or in-person) and any problems you may have had.  The deadline for participation is March 4, 2022. 

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Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approved a COVID-19 Booster shot for all individuals over the age of 12. When you are eligible will depend on which vaccine you initially got, and when you got your last shot. This fact sheet will provide information about when adults are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot.

There are different eligibility guidelines depending on which vaccine you initially received. If you are 12 or older and received a two-dose regime of the Pfizer, you are eligible for a booster shot five months after your second dose. [1]

If you are 18 or older and received a two-dose regime of the Moderna vaccine, you are eligible for a booster shot five months after your second dose.

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Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced a plan to allow Americans to order At Home COVID tests. The website to order at-home testing kits -- at no cost -- is now accepting orders. People who do not have Internet access or who need additional assistance with ordering can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to place their orders. You can find more information here. Please click below for frequently asked questions.

Disabled child and their mother with the text: Disability Rights Are Human Rights Supporting disability rights is an investment in our communities, families, selves and collective futures. They allow people with disabilities to live the lives they choose with dignity.You can help us continue our advocacy by donating to Disability Rights Pennsylvania today.
To Access our advocacy resources click here.
Click here for vaccine resources.

Disability Rights Pennsylvania
301 Chestnut Street Suite 300 | Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101
800-692-7443 |

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