In February 2018, concerned citizens in Macomb County, Michigan, alerted CRS to increased tensions in the community following several incidents of alleged abuse of adults and children on the basis of their disabilities. In one instance, a teacher at a local, special needs school allegedly verbally abused two non-verbal, autistic children. A few weeks later, CRS became aware of allegations that employees at a local grocery store harassed a 23-year old autistic man.
CRS began facilitating dialogues hosted by Macomb Arc, a local disability rights organization, and formed a planning group with other local organizations and city, county, law enforcement, and school district officials. With CRS’s assistance, the planning group organized a forum on disabilities for service providers to address the alleged incidents.
In March 2018, Macomb Arc hosted the forum, attended by 30 individuals, which included presentations by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan's Civil Rights Unit and state civil rights officials. Forum participants agreed to continue meeting more frequently and increase communication between their agencies.