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Spectrum E-News, the editorial and news division of Spectrum Institute, uses print and broadcast journalism to promote greater public support for equal rights and justice for people with cognitive and developmental disabilities. We conduct research and investigative reporting on systemic problems with conservatorship and guardianship systems and the need for reform.
Our research and reporting also focuses on the duty of governmental agenies to respect the freedom all adults, including those who have cognitive challenges, to make important life choices on matters such as residence, health care, finances, education, work, marital status, social contacts, sexual relationships, and recreational activities. Our reporting also focuses on the right of people with developmental disabilities to have access to a full range of mental health therapies and the duty of guardians, conservators, and other care providers to ensure that such access occurs in a timely manner.
Our work products are shared with the public through periodic website updates about the activities and projects of Spectrum Institute, publishing legal and other commentaries, releasing video blogs on matters of public interest, and publishing a monthly newsletter. Our staff collaborates with The Freedom Files — a Pursuit of Justice Podcast — by helping produce podcast episodes. Spectrum E-News publishes feature stories associated with these podcasts.
Attorney Thomas F. Coleman is the executive editor of Spectrum E-News. He has 47 years of experience in civil rights education and advocacy on issues such as personal privacy, sexual civil liberties, family diversity, freedom from violence and abuse, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and marital status. For the past decade, his activities have focused on conservatorship and guardianship reform and protecting the rights of people with cognitive disabilities in these proceedings under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Coleman is the founding executive director and the current legal director of Spectrum Institute. He is the author of many policy reports and legal commentaries on the rights of people with disabilities.
Emmi Deckard is a feature story writer as well as the editor of the monthly newsletter of Spectrum Institute. A third-year student at UCLA, Emmi is majoring in bioengineering and minoring in disability studies. She is involved with a campus organization known as Alternative Breaks. Two years ago, she traveled with the group to New Orleans for week to learn about the widespread impact that Hurricane Katrina had on the area and how they have been rebuilding their community and reforming policy ever since. Emmi is a journalist with the Daily Bruin, the main campus newspaper for students and faculty. She will use her journalism skills to develop stories for the podcast which will help guide the interviews. Her articles will be published online along with the release of an episode.
Trinity Pierce is a feature story writer as well as a distribution advisor. She is a third-year student at Washington State University. Trinity is majoring in multimedia journalism as well as Japanese. She has experience working as a journalist with The Daily Evergreen, a student newspaper distributed at 200 campus locations and which has 70,000 online readers each month. Trinity describes herself as a “diligent college student with a passion for storytelling.” That passion will guide her as she develops stories for the podcast which will be published online with the release of an episode. Upon graduating, Trinity plans to teach English aboad for a year or two and then find work at a newspaper or news desk at a radio or television station.
Tanner Coe is a contributor on mental health issues. A third-year student at UCLA., he is working under the supervision of Tina Baldwin, chairperson of Spectrum Institute, to develop the organization’s Mental Health Project. Tanner is a Regents Scholar who is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in public affairs with a minor in disability studies. He will share abstracts of scholarly articles, reviews of books, and relevant commentaries regarding mental health issues affecting people with intellectual and developmental disbilities. He will also provide periodic updates about progress in developing the Mental Health Project, including the addition of organizations endoring the principles underlying the legal right of people with developmental diabilities to receive prompt and appropriate mental health therapy when it is needed.
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