National Council on Disability Document Archive

June NCD Bulletin

Posted by: Jamal Mazrui
Date Mailed: Tuesday, July 22nd 1997 11:12 AM

NCD Bulletin
A Monthly Publication of the National Council on Disability (NCD)    
Marca Bristo, Chairperson                               June 1997
                                         

The Bulletin, which is free of charge and available in 
alternative formats, brings you the latest issues and news 
affecting people with disabilities.  Please write or fax your 
comments to the Bulletin's editor, Mark S. Quigley 
(mquigley@ncd.gov).

                              . . . .

In Memory of Former NCD Acting chairperson John A. Gannon 
(1923-1997)
On June 30, 1997, a memorial service was held at St. Peter's 
Catholic Church in Washington, DC, for former NCD acting 
chairperson John A. "Jack" Gannon, who died on May 31, 1997, in 
Cleveland, Ohio.  Friends, family, and disability and union 
leaders attended.  Special remarks and tributes were made by John 
Sweeney, president, AFL-CIO; George Burke, director of 
communications, International Association of Fire Fighters 
(IAFF); Larry Brown, NCD member; Justin Dart, Justice For All; 
and Marca Bristo, NCD chairperson.  In tribute to Mr. Gannon, we 
are publishing an abbreviated biography.

A firefighter for more than 30 years, Jack Gannon was an active 
leader of IAFF Local 93. Starting as a member of the local IAFF 
committee, he eventually became president, a position he held for 
ten years before being elected to national office.

In September 1988, Mr. Gannon was elected IAFF president 
emeritus.  He had served as president of the 170,000-member 
organization since 1980.  Mr. Gannon fostered development of the 
IAFF Burn Foundation, which raises funds for research on the care 
of people who have experienced severe burns.  In 1985, the 
Metropolitan General Hospital in Cleveland dedicated the John 
Gannon Burn and Trauma Center in recognition of his support for 
the hospital.

Mr. Gannon was elected vice president of the AFL-CIO, with which 
the IAFF is affiliated.  Within the AFL-CIO, he was vice 
president of the Public Employee Department.  On the executive 
council, he was a member of several committees.  He served on the 
board of the National Joint Council of Fire Service Organizations 
and in 1982 served as its chairman.

As a champion of the needs and rights of people with 
disabilities, Mr. Gannon fought to establish a threshold of 
respect and opportunity for them, their families, and their 
communities.  In 1992, he was asked by the White House to work 
with the United Nations (UN) on disability issues.  Mr. Gannon 
was instrumental in gaining passage of the first ever U.S. 
resolution on disability policy through the UN Commission on 
Social Development and through the UN


General Assembly.  He also won approval for a UN commitment for 
full integration of people with disabilities into mainstream 
culture. 

Mr. Gannon, who served as a member of NCD from 1988 until his 
death, helped achieve passage of the Americans with Disabilities 
Act.  He served as acting chairperson from February 1993 until 
May 1994, when he became vice chairperson.  He will be missed.

U.S. Supreme court Bans Physician-Assisted Suicide
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the 
Constitution does not guarantee the terminally ill a right to 
physician-assisted suicide.  The matter is now left to the states 
to decide.  This ruling upholds laws in New York and Washington 
states that make it a crime for physicians to give lethal drugs 
to dying patients.  In April, NCD found that the status quo on 
physician-assisted suicide is preferable to the limited benefits 
to be gained by its legalization.

Social Security and Immigration Update 
The House and Senate passed separate balanced budget bills that 
would restore Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to 
nearly 500,000 legal noncitizens who would have lost their SSI 
benefits next month.  This action would correct provisions in the 
1996 welfare reform legislation that would have severely 
restricted SSI eligibility for legal immigrants, allowing only 
narrow exceptions for qualification.  The measure now goes to 
congressional conference committee for resolution.

International Update 
More than 500 participants from 80 countries gathered at the 
Bethesda Hyatt Regency in June at the International Leadership 
Forum for Women with Disabilities to hear speakers such as 
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright address key disability 
issues.  Albright reaffirmed her commitment to people with 
disabilities, especially in the international arena.  She spoke 
of greater employment opportunities for people with disabilities 
in the foreign service and addressed the lack of accessibility in 
many U.S. embassies.  She also spoke of the U.S. Agency for 
International Development's new policy and action plan on 
disability, which "will express the agency's commitment to reach 
out and include persons with disabilities in its programs and 
place this issue prominently on our development agenda with 
governments that receive our aid."

. . . .


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