Healey Proposes Renaming Mass. Rehabilitation Commission As MassAbility

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — Gov. Maura Healey is proposing to rename a 67-year-old state agency to remove stigma surrounding individuals in the disability community.

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission would be renamed MassAbility, under legislation that Healey announced she's filing Thursday. The phrase "rehabilitation" is no longer relevant, the governor said, since it implies that "something is wrong or needs to be fixed."

"It's going to help us ensure that no one is left behind in their efforts to pursue strong livelihoods, living, working, thriving, as I said, here in the state," Healey said at a press conference. "It will modernize the language across all enabling statutes with the aim of removing outdated and stigmatizing terms. These changes will provide clarity and consistency."

Commissioner Toni Wolf said in March the MRC was on the cusp of rebranding to better capture the agency's work of providing services to people with disabilities and forging "innovative" partnerships. The agency was established in 1956 to "champion personal choice, equality, empowerment, and independence."

The agency's current mission, according to its website, is "to collaborate with individuals and partners to broaden the horizons of people with disabilities, while breaking down the physical and societal barriers that have held them back."

Written by Alison Kuznitz/SHNS

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