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M-ROCC: Power, Advocacy, Self Advocacy, and Self Determination (pdf)

This is an exciting time to be a part of the Recovery Movement in Maryland. M-ROCC shares the definition of a recovery community – people in long-term recovery, their families, friends and allies, including recovery-focused addiction and recovery professionals – includes organizations whose members reflect religious, spiritual and secular pathways of recovery. The success of the Recovery Movement is dependent of the community being informed, influencing and at times, demanding systems change to reflect the need of our recovery community, this is also known as  a "Constituency of Consequence".

ADVOCACY is a set of targeted actions directed at decision makers in support of a specific issue. M-ROCC encourage advocacy by the recovery community to:

► Speak on behalf of yourself and others
► Support rights
► Solve problems
► Communicate using Social Media
► Bring people together
► Train and Strategize
► Actualize its power


US Capitol Building 




Individual / Self

How to Exercise Your Rights Under Anti-Discrimination Laws

Anti-discrimination laws are enforced by many different government agencies in addition to the courts. Individuals who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint (also known as an “administrative complaint”) with one of these agencies. In some instances, individuals must file an administrative complaint before bringing a lawsuit in court. In other instances, they need not. Below is general information about which agency to contact for which types of violations. For more details, contact the agency itself. Make sure to find out about filing deadlines!!

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations
File a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the discriminatory action. You MUST do this before you can bring an employment discrimination lawsuit in court. Call Baltimore Field Office first to obtain information or schedule an appointment:

Location: City Crescent Building, 10 S. Howard Street-Third Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: 1-800-669-4000
FAX: 410-962-4270 
Hours:  Intake assistance for filing a charge is regularly available on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m

State law violations
File a complaint with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR)

Location: 6 St. Paul Street, 9th Floor - Baltimore, Maryland 2120
Phone: 410-767-8600
FAX: 410-333-1841
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm,  Intake Hours, Monday and Friday, 9:00am – 3:00pm

For both federal and state laws
If you have claim under ADA or Rehabilitation Act and [name of state law] claims, you must first file complaint with EEOC before you file a lawsuit in court even if you have other claims.

Complaint must be filed with EEOC within 300 days of the alleged discrimination. You must receive an EEOC “right to sue” letter before you can file a lawsuit.

Public Accommodations:

Title III prohibits discrimination based on disability in public accommodations. Private entities covered by title III include places of lodging, establishments serving food and drink, places of exhibition or entertainment, places of public gathering, sales or rental establishments, service establishments, stations used for specified public transportation, places of public display or collection, places of recreation, places of education, social service center establishments, and places of exercise or recreation. Title III also covers commercial facilities (such as warehouses, factories, and office buildings), private transportation services, and licensing and testing practices.

Federal law violations
File a complaint
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
Phone:  (800) 514-0301


Federal law violations
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Phone: 1-800-877-0246

Filing Your Housing Discrimination Complaint Online
Federal law prohibits housing discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. If you have been trying to buy or rent a home or apartment and you believe your civil rights have been violated, you can file your fair housing complaint online by clicking the link provided here:

State law violations
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) - Baltimore Office
Location: 10 South Howard Street – 5th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: 410-209-6526/410-209-6511
Fax: 410-962-6673

Rights for People With Mental Illness

People with mental illness should receive fair treatment and should be afforded certain rights. These include the right:

  • To be treated with respect and dignity
  • To have their privacy protected
  • To receive age and culturally appropriate services
  • To understand available treatment options and alternatives
  • To receive care that does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, or type of illness

People with mental illness may have rights that are protected under the following laws:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act. This law protects people who have physical and mental disabilities from discrimination in employment, government services, and activities, public accommodations, public transportation, and commercial businesses.
  • Fair Housing Amendments Act. This act outlaws housing discrimination on the basis of certain conditions, including disability. In addition, landlords and owners of rental housing must make reasonable attempts to accommodate people with disabilities.
  • Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. This law allows the U. S. government to investigate government facilities, such as institutions, for people with mental and physical disabilities to remedy any problems in the care and safety of these individuals.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This law is designed to help children with disabilities achieve a quality education. Under the law, public school systems must create an education plan for each child with a disability, based on his or her needs.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice: "A Guide to Disability Rights Laws." Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on February 15, 2012

Advocacy Resources



A Few Thoughts from Marty Mann on Stigma

Few among you consider alcoholism a proper subject for open discussion, few among you would willingly label yourself, or a friend or colleague, an alcoholic, and even fewer would be able to recognize alcoholism early, when there is the best chance for recovery.

All of this is the result of stigma, a state of mind which we inherited from our Puritan and also our Victorian forebears; a state of mind which is essentially mindless since it overlooks all the things which have been learned; a state of mind which produces public attitudes In bald language, stigma kills.

Stigma manifests itself in many ways; in false beliefs, such as that alcoholism is entirely a moral problem and alcoholics moral delinquents; or that alcoholism is simply a matter of will power and alcoholics are weaklings; or that alcoholism is a deliberate self-degradation and alcoholics are simply letting themselves slide downhill—“throwing their lives away,” or that alcoholism is only found on the Skid Rows of the nation and alcoholics are all homeless indigent derelicts—“Skid Row bums”; or finally, that alcoholism is a hopeless condition and alcoholics are all “hopelessdrunks” (spoken as one word).

The results of stigma are also many, and all are destructive. The family that has an alcoholic in its midst goes to great lengths to conceal this, and the fellow workers of the alcoholic—often including his immediate superiors—cover up for him, keep giving him “one more chance to straighten up.” The friends, neighbors and others in more casual contact with the alcoholic carefully look the other way. All are participating in a great conspiracy of silence, many of them in the mistaken belief that they are protecting the alcoholic when actually they are preventing him from getting help.

Stigma drives the alcoholic and his family underground, isolates them from their fellows, twists and distorts them psychologically as they cringe under the heavy burden of shame. They feel disgraced and so they hide—and keep quiet. A study of wives of recovered alcoholics made by the National Council on Alcoholism a few years ago showed that these wives had waited an average of eleven years after they first realized there was something seriously wrong, before talking to anyone about it: doctors, clergymen, lawyers or even their own families. And none of them knew there was help available, or where to go to find it, all during those long painful years while their alcoholic’s illness was progressing and the losses due to it were mounting: money, jobs, homes, friends, and the well-being, both physical and psychological, of the children. For contrary to another false belief fostered by stigma, the large majority of our alcoholic population is married, living at home, with children, and with a job. And the large majority of women alcoholics are housewives, even more easily hidden inside the home. Where they are career women, whether in the theater, the arts, or in business, their situation is comparable to that of the men...excepting that the stigma is twice as heavy and infinitely more cruel for a woman. So their underground existence is apt to start earlier and to continue longer, and their chances recovery have only recently begun to catch up with those for men.

Stigma also plays a part in the almost universal characteristic of the alcoholic: denial that he is one. Who has not heard someone who “drinks too much” declare flatly, “Who, me? Trouble with drinking? Nonsense, I can quit any time I want to.” Or use the even better known phrase, “I can take it or leave it alone.” The role of stigma in this denial is simple: no one willingly admits to being a moral delinquent, a weakling, or any other of the many misinformed characterizations that have for so long been applied to alcoholics. How can we blame them? They too were brought up in ignorance of the facts. They too were brainwashed into the vast mythology that surrounds drinking and alcoholism. They too are usually lacking any useful information about this condition and its victims, and what can be done about them.

Many things are needed before all alcoholics at all stages of their illness will have a equal chance at recovery: things like good medical care, hospital beds, outpatient clinics, recovery centers or halfway houses. Most of all we need a new climate of understanding on the part of the public—and that means everyone.

Original article appeared in NCADDAmethyst, Fall 1994, Vol. 2, No. 3. Used with permission.

To learn more about Marty and her work:


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Stand Up For Recovery

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Our Stories Have Power

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