Independence Day is in a few days, but where is independence for David Italiano and thousands of other people who are institutionalized against their will? For those of you who are new, you can find more information about the Shield HERE or read up on all of the direct actions taken to find and free David Italiano HERE
Both of the amicus briefs that we hoped would help us find and free David Italiano were dismissed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In other words, the Supreme Court justices will not even look at the evidence amassed by David Ferleger and Thomas Earle, two attorneys with decades of experience in the field of human rights, or Rick Black of CEAR, all of whom donated their time to find and free David Italiano.
Our amazing friends at Pennsylvania ADAPT were arrested at the Pennsylvania Capitol when they demanded that lawmakers stop the use of abusive guardianships and institutionalization and to help us find and free David HERE
For David’s sake, will not give up.
This is about the battle to preserve the dignity and autonomy of every person perceived to have a disability. It’s about every person’s right to receive the supports they need to avoid institutionalization and live in the community of their choice. It’s about the right of individuals to be fully included in every decision that impacts their life, not marginalized to the sidelines because of their perceived ‘incapacity’.
As we wind down from the Fourth of July festivities, please consider the implications of a national holiday dedicated to the principles of freedom and how those principles apply to the many people perceived to be disabled.
As pointed out by the Disabilities Education and Defense Fund HERE
The ADA owes its birthright not to any one person, or any few, but to the many thousands of people who make up the disability rights movement – people who have worked for years organizing and attending protests, licking envelopes, sending out alerts, drafting legislation, speaking, testifying, negotiating, lobbying, filing lawsuits, being arrested – doing whatever they could for a cause they believed in. There are far too many people whose commitment and hard work contributed to the passage of this historic piece of disability civil rights legislation to be able to give appropriate credit by name. Without the work of so many – without the disability rights movement – there would be no ADA.
Every time you send a letter, email or make a phone call on behalf of someone in relation to their Shield alert, you are building political power for the forgotten and the marginalized.
The ADA is not an end-all-be-all destination. it was never intended to be. The late Justin Dart famously stated, “I Love You, Lead On!”
The ADA is only the start. It is a living breathing document that must be tested and retested through toil and sacrifice, vigilance, and activism. History is made every time you do something that is under your power, such as licking an envelope.
Campaigns to win rights in the mental health system, the basis for MFI’s Shield, are a part of a bigger campaign to win rights for all human beings
Dr. King used the term “beloved community” defining it as a “global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth – a world where racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.”
We hope you take the time to reflect on disability rights which traditionally is honored during the month of July. Please take a little time from schedule today to help find and free David Italiano. Please read the Call to Action below and act today. By helping David this week, you are helping everyone in the “Beloved Community”.
Call to Action
David’s guardian continues to hide David and restrict his ability to have visitors. Even though we cannot give you David’s physical address, please write to David Italiano, in care of the person who took away David’s liberties.Judge Zanic is not legally obligated to pass on our correspondence to David Italiano but perhaps a large number of letters will appeal to his humanity.
Help us remind David that he is a part of our beloved community! Send letters and cards of encouragement addressed to David Italiano in care of
Judge George Zanic
223 Penn St.
Huntingdon County Courthouse.
Huntingdon PA 46750
You can also send an email to David c/o Judge Zanic:
If using email, be sure to put ‘For David Italiano’ in the subject heading such as ‘Please forward my message to David Italiano’
Below is a link to a letter that I wrote.
You can adapt my letter and make it personal to you or just write a caring message of your own. Ground mail may be best but email may be effective too.
Let Judge Zanic know that David has friends. We are more powerful when we are united and we are not giving up!
Although our Amicus Brief was ignored, the legal team, knowing that YOU are not giving up on David may feel inspired to find other legal avenues to pursue.
Have a great Independence Day celebration this weekend and thank you for taking the time to help David Italiano win his independence!
See our previous update here. See our previous update here.