Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Dear city officials (elected and otherwise),

You are supposed to represent all of Berea’s citizens, including the approximately 2600 that live with some type of disability. Over the course of the last few months, you have allowed $11,500 in city funds to be used to sponsor an event that has an open complaint with the Department of Justice for disability discrimination. You have all been made aware of this but still chose to let this happen.

In March as a part of the mediation process with the DOJ, the mayor, city administrator and director of tourism all sat in on a meeting with the Berea Arts Council to discuss the accessibility issues regarding the AMP Levitt music festival. The April 2018 tourism commission meeting minutes reflect that tourism voted to become a presenting sponsor and to give $10,000.

The Berea Human Rights Commission was informed of the issues in July 2017 and were aware of the mediation and still chose to sponsor the event with $1500 as shown in their May 7, 2018 minutes. Let me repeat that, the BHRC sponsored an event with an open complaint for a disability rights violation.

The mediation agreement wasn’t even signed until May 8, 2018, before that either party could back out and pursue other legal means to resolve the issues. Furthermore according to the department of justice, “The matter is not closed until the parties verify that all of the terms of the agreement have been implemented”, and that has not happened yet. Since the problems are event specific, they cannot be verified until after the first event and during the July 6, 2018 event one of the items listed in the agreement was violated.

Why are city tax dollars being used to fund an event that continues to violate the rights of persons with disabilities? Why is the Berea Human Rights Commission a group whose mission includes protecting people with disabilities allowed to sponsor an event that has repeatedly had issues with public accommodations and discriminating against the disabled? Why aren’t the city contracts, which require all events on city property be ADA compliant, upheld?

The disabled are the nations largest minority and the only one anyone can join at anytime. So why does Berea continue to ignore their rights? – Virginia Bland

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