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Center on Disability Studies (CDS) in the Pacific Basin – Pacific Basin University Center for Excellence (PBUCE)Jul 19, 2017
At CDS, we have many activities, which reach beyond the State of Hawaiʻi and which take place in the US Affiliated Pacific Basin Jurisdictions focusing upon promoting and supporting the diverse abilities of individuals with disabilities.
Since 1947, the United States has had a moral and legal responsibility for the welfare of Pacific Islanders within the region commonly referred to as “Micronesia.” That responsibility began after World War II when the United Nations created the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI), assigning to the United States responsibility for administering islands that were previously possessions of Japan or Germany. In this “strategic trust,” the United States accepted responsibility for the health, education, and welfare of those Pacific Islanders.
For decades, persons with disabilities utilizing Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and housing programs have found it nearly impossible to save without losing benefits. In fact, individuals utilizing these public benefits often find themselves remain in poverty because eligibility for these programs require meeting the resource limits of the programs. In other words, if an individual wishes to continue to utilize these public benefits, he/she must remain poor.
People often ask, “What exactly IS Disability Studies? Isn’t it just like Special Education?” The fact is that although Disability Studies does address issues of education for children with disabilities, Disability Studies is more like Women’s Studies or Ethnic Studies then it is like Special Education. Disability studies is an interdisciplinary field that views disability as a natural part of a diverse society made up of many kinds of people, with many kinds of human characteristics.
In today’s multimedia world of photographs and computer images, communicating messages beyond the limitations of the accompanying text, the need for audio description is becoming increasingly important for the blind and visually impaired among us. This is especially true for navigating through a museum, art exhibit, day long conference, or a National Park.
I come from the Washington, D.C. metro area. The first question you get asked there, when you meet someone new, is “What do you do?” Our jobs often define us, shape our perspectives, and influence our decisions about the future. This is true for many people.
Here at the Center on Disability Studies (CDS), College of Education, University of Hawai’i, Mānoa, one of the challenges we are invested in is providing more and better employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Last week I attended the Association of University Centers on Disabilities' annual conference in Washington, D.C. AUCD had a record turnout. And no wonder! People were looking for like-minded colleagues with whom to mourn, given the presidential election results.
The 2016 Pacific Rim Conference on Disability and Diversity was held on April 25 & 26, 2016 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. The conference attracted over 800 participants from around the world.