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Ride sharing a hit in Philly, but city’s disabled are still left behind

LRI’s very own Liam Dougherty shared his experiences of what it’s like trying to hailing a ride with a disability, reminding everyone that disability rights are civil rights!

Important legislation is to be voted on TODAY in the PA House. Please call your state legislators, specifically Rep. Gotshall, DiGirolamo, Sims, O’Neal, Micarelli, Taylor & Harris to make sure that Pa House Bill 1290 holds transportation network companies like Lyft & Uber accountable under the ADA, state and local laws.
We will ride!!

Click here to read the full article!

Posted in Advocacy Update, Disability News, General, Publications | Leave a comment

Front Page Coverage of ‘Me Before You’ Protest

Yesterday, nearly 30 disability advocates gathered in front of the UA Riverview Cinema in South Philly to protest the screening of the film ‘Me Before You’, which tells the story of a six-month romance between a man (Sam Haflin) who has recently become quadriplegic and his caretaker (Emilia Clarke). The film ends with the disabled man choosing to kill himself rather than live in a wheelchair.

The protest received front page coverage in the Metro. Please read and share.

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Me Before You is not a romance.

It’s an insult to disabled people.

“Our lives are not tragic or pitiful. This film is,”

say disabled people the world over

#LiveBoldly? We already do!


Me Before You is the latest Hollywood film to grossly misrepresent the lived experience of the majority of disabled people. In the film, a young man becomes disabled, falls in love with his ‘carer,’ and they have an incredible 6 months together. Despite her opposition, however, the hero does the “honorable” thing by killing himself – leaving his money to her so she can “live boldly” after he is no longer a “burden” for her. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, Me Before You is little more than a disability snuff movie, giving audiences the dangerous message that if you are a disabled person, you are better off dead.

Meet us at the UA Riverview Cinema this Monday (June 6) at 3pm ! Let’s show them just how bold we really are!




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CONTACT: Matthew Clark, 215-880-0253


Let Philly Ride Coalition applauds Councilman Bobby Henon and Councilwoman Helen Gym and for their support of state legislation that will force PPA to be fair to riders with disabilities, drivers, the City of Philadelphia, and our public schools.

PHILADEPHIA, PA — The Let Philly Ride coalition is a diverse grassroots group of disabled citizens, labor organizations, community organizations, consumers, taxi drivers—even Uber Black and UberX drivers—who together urge that their demands below be met to allow TNC legislation to be fair to all involved.

1) Require TNCs to comply with reasonable requirements of the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) and follow both the letter and the intent of the ADA and the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance by providing equal access to rides at fares equal to non-disabled riders and also require that, at a minimum, 10% of the total number of vehicles operating in the city are WAVs

2) Philadelphia’s 21st Century Minimum Wage Guarantee

3) Injury Fund/WC, Unemployment Benefits and Healthcare for all drivers

Only if these demands are met could fair legislation tailored specifically for Philadelphia ensure disability rights and a level playing field for taxi drivers, owners, and Uber/Lyft drivers.

The Let Philly Ride Coalition is a grassroots group of disabled citizens, consumers, UberBlack, taxi and limousine drivers who seek fair legislation for Philadelphia that will ensure disability rights and a level playing field for taxi drivers, owners, and Uber/Lyft drivers.



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Disabled Protesters in DC: “Our Homes, Not Nursing Homes”

Imagine being sequestered in a nursing home from a young age because the resources that would allow you to live integrated into larger society were unavailable. Would you call that a violation of your civil rights?

About two hundred activists in wheelchairs lined up yesterday along the bike racks in front of the White House fence, chanting, “our homes, not nursing homes” and “disability rights are human rights.” This is the second year that ADAPT, a group of activists with disabilities, staged a protest including civil disobedience to call attention to what it sees as the Obama administration’s relative inattention to the civil rights of this population.

Read more.

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Earle demands PPA take action against illegal and unethical actions by UberX and Lyft

Tom Earle, CEO of Liberty Resources, representing a coalition of disability rights activists and taxi cab drivers, demanded that the Board of the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) enforce an injunction against UberX and Lyft from continuing to operate ride sharing services in Philadelphia.

PPA has been made aware of the unlawful and unethical practices of both UberX and Lyft for some time  yet no action has been taken by the government funded organization.  Last month, the coalition sent hundreds of petitions along with a letter of request to meet with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to discuss the issue.  The request was denied.  As a result of inaction by both PPA and the Mayor’s office, the coalition staged a protest involving nearly a thousand cabs which halted traffic to a standstill on the most heavily travelled roads around City Hall.

At the PPA Board meeting held today, Earle distributed a letter from the coalition publicly requesting that PPA take action.  “The PPA’s lack of enforcement in Philadelphia continues to violate the civil rights of hundreds of riders with disabilities, including disabled veterans, under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” the letter signed by Earle stated.  “Bureaucratic inertia can no longer be tolerated.”

Re: PPA Enforcement of Taxi & Limousine Regulations

Dear Vince:

As you know, the taxi and limousine riding public, including passengers with disabilities who use wheelchairs, is incensed by the continued flagrant disregard and violation of applicable laws and regulations by transportation network companies such as UberX and Lyft that operate illegally in Philadelphia. The Let Philly Ride campaign, which includes Liberty Resources, Inc. (LRI), Disabled in Action (DIA), Media Mobilizing Project, Philadelphia Limousine Association, Unified Taxi Workers Alliance, and the Taxis for All Philadelphia coalition all understand that, along with the City of Philadelphia, it is the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s (PPA) responsibility to oversee and regulate taxi, limousine, and airport shuttle/van service in our city.

It is unacceptable for the PPA to selectively enforce its regulations, inspections, permits, and very significant fees against only hardworking drivers and taxi medallion owners while unfairly allowing billion dollar corporations like Uber and Lyft to operate illegally with no regulatory oversight and no payment of fees and permits in Philadelphia county. Accordingly, PPA through its legal counsel, must immediately intervene in the pending litigation against UberX and seek a preliminary injunction to enjoin UberX and Lyft from illegally operating in the city. To be clear, our coalition will also present this demand at tomorrow’s scheduled PPA Board meeting at 9:30 am.

The PPA’s lack of enforcement in Philadelphia continues to violate the civil rights of hundreds of riders with disabilities, including disabled veterans, under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, PPA’s lax enforcement is decimating the economic livelihood of hundreds of taxi and limo drivers and their families. Bureaucratic inertia can no longer be tolerated.

Thank you in advance for your commitment to fairly enforce your authority and regulatory oversight over this urgent matter.


Thomas H. Earle, Esquire








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LRI delivers signed petitions demanding Mayor Kenney end ADA violations by Uber

Recently Liberty Resources joined the Taxi Workers’ Alliance (TWA – a group of taxi driver self-advocates) and the Philadelphia Limousine Association (PLA – a group of limo driver self-advocates) in an effort called Let Philly Ride. Each organization has their own reasons for working together but they all share one focus: making sure that Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft comply with regulations, including those for workers and riders with disabilities.

The common goal is simple – TWA, PLA, Liberty, ADAPT, etc. all want to have a seat at the table when Mayor Kenney and his team meet with Uber leadership to discuss the future of TNCs in Philadelphia.

On Tuesday February 9th, representatives from each organization in the coalition delivered a letter to Mayor Kenney’s office requesting that a meeting be scheduled by the end of the day on Wednesday, February 10th.  The purpose of the meeting is: 1) to bring all the parties together to work out a fair solution, 2) to ask your staff not to encourage people to patronize businesses that don’t have the appropriate licenses; don’t pay their share of the taxes and fees and refuse to honor the ADA that has allow so many disabled citizens to participate fully in life.

A protest will take place on Thursday, February 11th in response to Mayor Kenney’s refusal to respond to the meeting request.

See groups protest City Hall over Kenney’s refusal to meet with disability rights coalition.

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Disability Rights Activists along with Taxi and Limo driver groups to protest City Hall

Over 100 taxis and Uber Black limos, UberX, as well as disability advocates will join together to call for an end to the discriminatory practices of ride hailing company Uber during a protest in front of City Hall at 12:30pm, today, February 11th.

The drivers and the disability community are calling on Mayor Jim Kenney to step in to prevent discrimination by Uber’s ride-hailing service, UberX, along with competitors like Lyft. “UberX discriminates against people in wheelchairs, people with service animals, even pregnant women in labor,” said Thomas H. Earle, civil rights attorney and CEO of Liberty Resources, Inc.  Nationally, Uber is brushing off numerous discrimination lawsuits by claiming the Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply to them. “This is a fight for our civil rights. Philadelphia’s disability rights community fought for wheelchair-accessible taxis for decades.”

Only six out of 1,600 taxis are currently accessible. In Philadelphia, Uber charges passengers in wheelchairs more than twice the rate charged to other passengers. UberWAV costs $3 per mile, compared to $1.10 per mile for UberX.  In contrast, the law requires taxis and limos to charge the same rate to all riders with or without wheelchairs or service animals. Ride-hailing services like UberX are operating illegally in Philadelphia, with no protections for riders or drivers. Accidents with UberX vehicles may not be covered by insurance. Even in the face of multiple class-action lawsuits, Uber insists UberX drivers are contractors rather than employees, meaning drivers have no right to earn minimum wage or organize a union.  Uber is lobbying hard in Harrisburg to pass Senate Bill 984, which would legalize ride-hailing companies without requiring them to play by the same rules as taxis and limos. Last year, then-Councilman Kenney sponsored a resolution calling on the state to legalize UberX and Lyft in Philadelphia. The Mayor’s spokeswoman defended Uber in January, saying, “We use them all the time.”

See LRI delivers signed petitions asking for an end to discriminatory practices by Uber.

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Who was Ed Roberts?

As one of the pioneers of the Independent Living movement, Ed Roberts has had a profound and lasting impact on improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Roberts was born on January 23, 1939.  At the age of 14, he contracted polio and became paralyzed from the neck down, except for two fingers on one hand and several toes. He slept in an iron lung at night.

His career as an advocate began when a high school administrator threatened to deny his diploma because he had not completed driver’s education and PhysEd. He then had to be his own advocate to get the support he needed to attend college, because his own rehabilitation counselor thought he was too severely disabled to ever get a job. He later went on to create the Berkeley Center for Independent Living, the first independent living service and advocacy program run by and for people with disabilities.

In 1976, Roberts was appointed Director of the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation–the same agency that had once labeled him too severely disabled to work.
Hundreds of CILs around the world are based on his original model.  

It’s in the spirit of Ed Roberts that Liberty Resources continues his work to advocate with and for people with disabilities.

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Report indicates hunger is highest among people with disabilities

Food insecurity rates among households that include adults with disabilities are well above the overall national food insecurity rate of 14.3 percent, based on the most recent evidence. According to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), food insecurity impacts one-third of households with a working-age adult who is out of the labor force due to disability1, and one-quarter of households with a working-age adult with a disability who has remained in the workforce.2

Adults with disabilities also experience disproportionate rates of “very low food security” (previously referred to as “food insecurity with hunger”), the most serious subcategory of food insecurity. Half of food insecure households that include adults with disabilities experience “very low food security,” compared to one-third of all food insecure households.

Click the link to read the full report

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