At their first formal session of the new year, the Detroit City Council resumed business today with disability at the top of the docket. For the first item of new business, Council President Brenda Jones, with support from Council Member Gabe Leland, introduced a resolution in support of creating an Office of Disability Affairs (ODA) at the City of Detroit. One by one, advocates and allies provided public comment urging council members to vote in support of the resolution. The efforts inspired an unanimous vote and the resolution passed.
The ball is now in the Mayor’s court. In the coming months, the administration will have to decide to establish a new office (preferred option and City Council supported) or outfit an existing one (not preferred option) to better meet the needs of the disability community. Additionally, the administration will have to decide how much money to allocate to this effort. We submit that an impactful ODA demands a budget of at least 2.97 million. As debate plays out, the Focus Group for People with Disabilities will simultaneously seek support from the Detroit Charter Revision Commission, from now until September, in the hopes of earning a spot for the Office of Disability Affairs in the forthcoming revised charter.
To recap, in the last two+ months, the Focus Group for People with Disabilities met with the Mayor, presented our office proposal summary to the Detroit Charter Revision Commission, and today received unanimous support from the Detroit City Council in favor of creating an Office of Disability Affairs. The next step is to establish what the disability community will accept as an office and what we will not. We envision a just, fair, and inclusive Detroit where all People with Disabilities—residents and visitors—can participate, prosper and reach their full potential. Help us achieve this goal! Please email Dessa Cosma (firstname.lastname@example.org), Executive Director, Detroit Disability Power, to get involved today. #officeofdisabilityaffairs #disabilityjustice