February 26, 2014
We are writing this letter on behalf of the Board and members of the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State, Inc. (SANYS). We are an organization run by and for people with developmental disabilities. We help people speak up for themselves and others.
With this letter, we are speaking up for eight men with developmental disabilities who have a sex offender status, and who have moved into two communities in the greater Buffalo area. We are sad and upset about the articles that we have read and the videos that we have watched that show the hurtful reaction to these men by members of the community where they live. It is horrifying for us to see their pictures on a TV screen.
It is terrible to hear them spoken of as if they are not human. If they did not have a developmental disability, they would be living in the community without any support. The organizations that are providing services to these men know what they are doing, and they are providing the support each man needs to live successfully in these homes, in the community.
We ask people who have made negative and hurtful statements to stop. These men are sons of a mother and father; they may be a brother, or an uncle. They are a people who have the right to live in their community like other citizens.
We would also like to acknowledge the good work of the agencies that are providing the services and the staffing.