UPDATE: Yes, the fight is still on to ratify the CRPD in 2013!
1. Educate yourself about the CRPD!
- The acronym CRPD stands for “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”. It is an international treaty defending the human rights of people with disabilities ratified by 127 countries—but not the US. We’re working to fix that!
- Learn the basics via a FAQ on the CRPD and this video (yes, with subtitles). For more intensive learning, find more CRPD resources
- Keep up with the news at USICD’s CRPD updates page Follow @USICD in Twitter and in Facebook
- If you are a college or university student, follow @AdvocatEquality in twitter and visit Students4CRPD.
2. Talk to Senators!
- Sign on to the open letter from individual citizens to US senators!
- Visit http://www.senate.gov to find the website for each of your two senators. The website will have their contact information. Email them, call them, tweet them, or leave messages at their Facebook page! In twitter, use the hashtag #CRPD
- Your message for senators: “I am a person with disabilities–please ratify the CRPD in 2012! This is an important issue for the disability community!” If desired, you can say what your disabilities are. Or say that you know someone with disabilities, or that you are a US veteran, etc. Visit USICD’s website for more sample CRPD messages for senators.
3. Lend your Face!
- Let senators see the many faces of people who support the CRPD! Take a picture of you holding your own homemade sign supporting the CRPD. Individuals, couples, or groups are all welcome! Look at more pictures for ideas.
- You can make your sign with poster board or a blank piece of paper. Use magic markers, or your printer.
- Send the picture to Susie Richard firstname.lastname@example.org at USICD for their growing collection! Ask your friends and relatives to contribute pictures also!
- If you have Twitter, you can tweet pictures to senators with the #CRPD hashtag.
4. Recruit your Friends and Family!
- Educate your friends and family about the CRPD. Ask them to call, email, or tweet their senators–and contribute pictures!
- Follow @USICD in Twitter and re-tweet them often. “Share” the USICD Facebook page with your friends. Link to this post from your blog or website.
- Are you a university student or faculty member? Consider creating a chapter of Students4CRPD on YOUR campus!
5. What Can YOUR Organization Do?
- Your organization can sign on to USICD’s letter of support from organizations for the CRPD. (Check the list to learn what other organizations have signed on.)
- Consider sending your own letter to senators explaining why your organization wants the US to ratify. (Read letters of support from other organizations). Send a PDF copy to Susie Richard so she can post it to USICD’s website.
- Encourage your organization’s constituents to contact senators supporting the CRPD.
- Consider making your own group picture of people who support the CRPD! See examples of pictures here. Send your group picture to email@example.com at USICD!
- Communicate with USICD about these and other ways to help the effort.
Let me share with you one of the most amazing music videos you’ll ever see! I have met the women in this video–both the Deaf women and the women with all different kinds of disabilities–and they are some of the most awesome, passionate, visionary, world changing women leaders I have had the honor to have met. These 54 women from 43 different countries are doing incredible things in their home countries, changing society one little corner at a time so that it is more inclusive of Deaf and disabled women everywhere. Please, PLEASE — go watch this video!! Then when you’re done–please get a YouTube account (if you don’t already have one) so you can leave a positive comment about it. And click on the “like” button (looks like a thumbs up sign). Then click on the “Share” button so that you can tweet it … and facebook it … and otherwise share it with every person you know. Then encourage them to do the same thing. I want for the WHOLE WORLD to watch this video!
Can you feel their love and passion and energy just pulsating off the screen at you? I came home with an AWFUL headache tonight and just wanted to go to sleep … but when I watched this video, it had me tapping my toes and signing and singing right along with them! You will do the same — PLEASE GO WATCH RIGHT NOW!
The song is sung in English, Arabic, Spanish, and American Sign Language with English captions.
Disabled women activists change the world through YouTube music video: Loud, Proud and Passionate!(SM)
January 6, 2011 – Signing and singing with passion in Arabic, Spanish and English, 54 disabled women activists from 43 countries celebrate the achievements, pride and solidarity of women with disabilities around the world. These leaders are revolutionizing the status of women and girls worldwide. Filmed during MIUSA’s 5th International Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD), the Loud, Proud and Passionate!(SM) music video release marks the beginning of MIUSA’s 30thAnniversary year-long celebration.
Watch and share the YouTube link:
Music Video: Loud, Proud and Passionate!(SM)
Our goal is to reach 2,500 views and to raise funds through donations for the next WILD program empowering women and girls with disabilities. Every donation large or small brings us closer to that goal! To donate, visit http://www.miusa.org/donate/wild.
WILD delegates in the video come from Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestinian Territories, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St. Lucia, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, United States of America, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The video is captioned. For the text video description in English click here.
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development. For more information visit www.miusa.org.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Former US Congressman Tony Coelho Calls for YOUR support for US ratification of Disability Rights Treaty
Yes, the following message below from Tony Coelho very much applies to the culturally Deaf community, also. The original Americans with Disabilities Act, of course, helped give Deaf Americans better access to land line telephones via the TTY relay service (20 years ago) and the video relay service (today). The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, among other issues, protects the right of Deaf people and people with disabilities to have access to information and communication. It specifically refers to signed languages in several different articles. More information about the CRPD, including its full text, is at http://www.un.org/disabilities. For information on CRPD ratification efforts in the US, please visit http://www.usicd.org.
A Message from the Honorable Tony Coelho on the Occasion of the ADA’s 20th Birthday
On this 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have much to be proud of as a community. A little more than twenty years ago, we embarked on a historic journey in advancing civil rights for Americans with disabilities. We came together with one voice, putting aside our political and other differences, to work toward this cause, and we were joined by our partners in Congress, who put aside their differences to do the same. And this unity and bipartisan spirit both within our community and in Congress led to our success. We could not fully imagine then the profound impact our civil rights struggle and work to pass the ADA would have for people with disabilities around the world. Today, inspired by the ADA, our brothers and sisters in scores of countries have worked to pass their own pioneering legislation to protect and promote their inherent human and civil rights.
What’s more, the world community came together at the United Nations at the start of this century and did something that is changing the world. They worked to create international law recognizing, protecting, and promoting the rights of all people with disabilities-the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Americans with disabilities joined them in this effort, sharing our experience with the ADA to strengthen the provisions of this human rights legislation. The disability rights movement now encompasses a global community.
But our work to strengthen and implement the promise of equal rights for people with disabilities at home and abroad remains unfinished. We have no doubt created a pillar of domestic law, but we must now work to ensure that the United States remains a global leader in the disability rights arena by ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which President Obama signed last July. Ratifying this landmark treaty will not only advance the promise of the ADA at home, it will give the disability rights movement a new vigor abroad with the clear message that the United States affirms the inherent dignity and human rights of all people with disabilities.
I am excited by the energy and enthusiasm of USICD in working toward CRPD ratification. I want to thank USICD President, Marca Bristo, and our Executive Director, David Morrissey, for their leadership in this effort. I ask you to join with me in supporting USICD in the important effort of making CRPD ratification in the United States a reality. When the Obama Administration completes its review and submits the CRPD to the U.S. Senate for its consent for ratification, we must come together as the American disability community and proclaim “Yes to Ratification.” Today, 88 countries have already ratified the CRPD. By joining in this community, we can share our great expertise and leadership in furtherance of the democratic values enshrined in the CRPD. The CRPD is good for people with disabilities, good for America, and good for the world.
Let us take this opportunity to deliver our unified message to the U.S. Senate. Please sign on to a letter prepared by USICD to Senators Kerry and Lugar of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to indicate your support for the CRPD. Please follow this link to sign on.
Tony CoelhoRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Change for People with Disabilities and Deaf People: Time to Email Obama!
On November 4, 2008, millions of Deaf people and people with disabilities across the United States and around the world joined our non-disabled peers in watching the United States election results. Obama supporters cheered or wept to learn that the next US president would be Obama. Then we cheered or wept again when Obama mentioned people with disabilities in his acceptance speech. History was made–not only for America, not only for Black people, not only for Kenya and all of Africa, not only for Indigenous peoples, but also for people with disabilities.
But we cannot afford to allow the moment to end here. Whether we supported Obama, McCain, or another candidate, we all know there is far too much work ahead before we can say, “Yes, we have made real change for people with disabilities.”
It is time for people with disabilities, our loved ones, our neighbors, and colleagues to join together, across ideological divides, to reach out to Obama. We should all send an email to Kareem Dale, Obama’s National Disability Vote Director (at firstname.lastname@example.org), WITH COPIES TO Anne Hayes, a volunteer on the Obama Disability Policy Committee (at email@example.com).
First, we should thank Obama — and also Kareem Dale — for mentioning people with disabilities in Obama’s acceptance speech on November 4. Ensure that they understand how much it matters simply for us to be included. How did you feel when Obama mentioned us? Share your story.
Second, we should tell Obama and Kareem Dale that we are aware of Obama’s disability platform. He promised to increase educational opportunities; end discrimination; increase employment opportunities; and support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities. And he promised to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the first international, legally-binding human rights treaty for people with disabilities. Tell Obama and Kareem Dale that we are ready to call Obama to account if he fails us. But more importantly, we are ready to work with him for change for people with disabilities.
It is important to send your disability-related emails to BOTH Kareem Dale AND Anne Hayes (firstname.lastname@example.org AND email@example.com) between now and inauguration day. Kareem Dale’s email address may change between now and January 20, 2009. Anne Hayes can help ensure that emails sent to Kareem Dale are not lost during this time of transition.
Both Kareem Dale and others who have worked on disability issues within the Obama campaign are ready to receive YOUR emails on disability-related issues for US President-elect Obama. Emails are welcome from across the United States and around the world. If you are a US citizen, then please say so in your email.
Learn more about Obama’s plan for people with disabilities at: http://origin.barackobama.com/issues/disabilities/
Yes, the video is captioned. And if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can download Obama’s Full Plan for people with disabilities in PDF format (62 Kb).
Read Obama’s acceptance speech at: http://www.barackobama.com/2008/11/04/remarks_of_presidentelect_bara.php
Want to read someone else’s letter to Obama before you write your own? Come to: http://reunifygally.wordpress.com/2008/11/05/thank_you_obama_disabilities/
Learn more about the CRPD at http://ratifynow.org/ratifynow-faq/
If you wish to contact Obama’s staff on some topic other than disability, then you can send an email via his web page at http://www.change.gov/page/s/ofthepeople
Please circulate this email freely, or post this at your own blog or web site.
This text was first posted at http://wecando.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/disabilities-email-obama/ The most updated version will be here, so please consult before cross-posting.
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“It is the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, DISABLED and not disabled — Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
–President-Elect Barack Obama
Acceptance speech, November 4, 2008; emphasis added
Deaf people and people with disabilities in Price Edward Island, Canada, this blog post is for you. This blog post is also for you if you’ve ever been frustrated at how YOUR government (in any country) treats Deaf or disabled people and wanted to do something about it.
Stephen Pate recently brought his blog to my attention:
In this blog, he identifies all the many different ways that the government denies human rights to people with various disabilities, and Deaf people. And he uses his blog to bring attention to these human rights abuses and speaks out about them, in a loud voice.
If you know of any Deaf people (particularly, of course, Deaf people in Prince Edward Island, Canada) who have had their human rights violated, you may want to check out his blog. See if he can help tell your story. Or, disability advocates in general may want to check it out. See if there is a way you can make a difference in some of the many issues he blogs about.
I’m posting this here in part to thank Stephen Pate for linking to my other blog, We Can Do. I didn’t want to link to it from there because I’m trying to keep We Can Do tightly focused on disability issues in developing countries–which Canada isn’t. But Disability Alert still looks like a good blog. My main concern with it is that, unfortunately, the videos on it don’t seem to have captions. But then, these seem to be videos from other sources that he doesn’t control, so that probably isn’t his fault.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
[Edited Jan 1 '07 to add this paragraph:] If you’re interested, then I have now also written about the FreeRice vocabulary game at my other blog. That post is partly fun (as is this one) but talks more about general poverty issues and why the free rice vocabulary game isn’t enough to fight hunger (though that doesn’t mean that it’s bad, just that it isn’t enough. In particular, it just isn’t a long-term solution. Which is what poor people need and deserve.) So please do check out http://tinyurl.com/255u9a.
Some deaf people have great English skills while others struggle with it. Some deaf people might not care much if they never get beyond a certain basic level in their English skills–they just want to know enough to “get by.” But some deaf people do become very determined to “pull up” their English in all areas–in grammar, in syntax, in vocabulary, in reading comprehension, and in written expression.
I worked for a while at what was then called the English Works! tutoring center at Gallaudet University (now called something else) so I’ve seen students who were all over the map both in skill level and in motivation level. I have tutored graduate students and honors students who already had a pretty strong foundation in English and writing skills but who wanted to become even better. And I have had students whose English skills were much weaker when I first met them, but who were able to make a lot of progress with determination, commitment, and practice. And I’ve met students who only came for help because their teachers made them come.
I’ve been pretty busy lately. I have a full-time job; I’ve been taking a graduate class; and I’ve been stepping up my work on my other blog. That’s why I haven’t been updating this one as much as I like in the past few weeks. But recently I discovered a neat way to take a quick break from working on my take-home final exam, improve my vocabulary, and feed the hungry–all at the same time.
Yes, I, a professional writer who edits things written by hearing professionals on a regular basis, like to work on my vocabulary too. Because, guess what? There’s no such thing as achieving perfect English. A lot of the students I meet who have low confidence in their English seem to have this notion that there is somehow supposed to be a point at which you no longer need to learn anything more about the English language. So if there’s something they don’t know–a grammar rule they didn’t understand, or a vocabulary word that was new to them–they think it means they’re “dumb.” No. It just means you’re still learning. And that makes you no different from someone who writes, edits, or proofreads for a living. Because we’re still learning too. There’s nothing wrong with that.
For those of you who use screenreaders (and about two percent of deaf people have Usher’s Syndrome so there must be some), I’m not sure if the banner at the top of this post has an accompanying description. I suspect not, so let me describe it: at the left hand side is a picture of a brown wooden bowl with a little bit of dried rice in it. At the right it says: “Free rice: Play and help!”
If you follow the link to www.freerice.com you’ll find a vocabulary game you can play. If you guess the word right then 20 grains of rice will go to feed the hungry in developing countries. This rice is paid for by advertisers who put their banners at the bottom of the page. A new advertising banner is placed on the page every time you guess a new word.
The free rice site has 50 different levels of vocabulary words, from the very easiest to the very hardest. If you get a lot of vocabulary questions right then freerice.com will give you harder and harder words until you start to miss some. When you miss a question, freerice.com moves you down to something easier. So freerice.com can help people at all levels of English skills learn new vocabulary while feeding the hungry. What could be cooler than that?
An easy question to answer. The only thing cooler than taking a break from my take-home final to learn new vocabulary would be if I didn’t have to do the take-home final at all …. But, alas, I still do. So, I guess it’s back to work for me; ta, ’til later.
Edited an hour later to add: Thanks to freerice.com, I now know that gemsbok = oryx. What I don’t know is, what on earth gemsbok is. Or what on earth oryx is.
Freerice.com DOES help you learn vocabulary. What it doesn’t always do is help you understand what some of this new vocabulary actually MEANS
(And, yes, I did actually get some work done on my final exam in the past hour too. I swear.)
Okay, I’ve gone to www.goodsearch.com (This is another neat web site: it’s basically a web search engine, like google.com–but every time you do a search, one penny will be donated to the charitable cause of your choice. If you use it regularly, it’ll add up quickly.) It seems that a gemsbok is a large African antelope. I’m shaky on my biological terminology, but it seems that oryx is, basically, antelope in general.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
If you rely on Deaf Read to help you find interesting or humorous Deaf-related vlogs then you might have missed this one. Today, I discovered a funny 6-minute vlog skit, in BSL with English subtitles, about a man who comes out to his hearing mother … as a Deaf man! It’s funny because in the first 30 seconds it looks like he’s about to come out as gay. But the parrallels between the Deaf experience and the gay experience don’t stop there — it’s carried throughout the skit. And don’t miss the interesting twist at the end of the video!
I found this video by browsing through http://www.deafread.com/extra/, which is where the Deaf Read editors put links to blog and vlog posts that they aren’t sure belong in Deaf Read. Sometimes interesting posts are buried there. If you think one (or more) of them belong in Deaf Read, then you can click on the “vote” box next to the link to “vote” for it; apparently they do take a second look at any post that receives enough votes. (While you’re browsing deafread/extra, those of you with an interest in human rights issues for Deaf and disabled people internationally may want to follow the link entitled “Call for papers: Conference on UN CRPD” which would take you to my other blog.)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 6 so far )
I have created a new blog on issues related to poor people with disabilities in developing countries and international development. The “We Can Do” blog at http://wecando.wordpress.com is targeted at anyone who shares an interest in creating a world in which Deaf or disabled people in developing countries have the tools, resources, knowledge and skills they need to lift themselves out of poverty, or gain access to an education, employment, health services, community life, and human rights.
The We Can Do blog (wecando.wordpress.com) will include, among other things: information and announcements about events or resources of interest to people working with Deaf or disability communities in developing countries; opinion pieces on topics relevant to disabled people in developing countries; and more. I hope in the future to also be able to post pragmatic information, “check lists”, or other resources that people working in the field can put to immediate use to make a difference in the lives of disabled people who live in poverty. If you have information, announcements, or written resources that you think might be of interest to blog readers, please submit them.
A few of the recent blog posts at http://wecando.wordpress.com include: the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities rewritten into plain language for people who might have trouble understanding the original text or who wish to translate the convention into other written or signed languages; an essay that asks how we can help Deaf or disabled emigrants put the money they send home to good use; and an announcement about the upcoming Commonwealth Disabled People’s Conference in Uganda.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
China continues to intensify their censorship of the World Wide Web. People in China can’t even look at innocous pictures that a friend has put up on “flickr.com.” Why? Because “flickr” has also been used to post pictures of the protests in Tinanmen square in 1989. Apparently, the risk that a few Chinese people might stumble across a picture or two of Tinanmen Square while looking for more prosaic images wouldn’t contribute to social harmony there.
So what does this have to do with the Deaf community? Or, given that most of the people who see this blog (or so I am guessing) are probably from the United States, with a handful from Canada and the UK: What does censorship in China have to do with Deaf Americans? Or Canadians? Or British?
Well, for one thing, consider the fact that China has roughly one-fifth of the world’s population. That means that probably roughly one-fifth of our global Deaf community members live under Chinese censorship. Poor Chinese (their numbers are declining rapidly, but are still counted in the millions, of course, have no access to the Internet at all. And Deaf (and deaf and hard of hearing people and disabled people generally) are more likely to be poor the world over. But the Chinese middle class is growing, and the numbers who join the Internet are exploding. When any Chinese person, Deaf or hearing, are prohibited from even looking at the very long list of web sites that are prohibited in China (including wikipedia), they are prevented from exposure to new ideas and invaluable sources of information.
For hearing Chinese, one of the consequences is that they might have less exposure to information and ideas that could help them learn more about the Chinese Deaf community. That includes information that might influence them to be more willing to consider hiring Deaf workers.
For Deaf Chinese, censorship might block them from web sites that could help them work together with Deaf leaders across their country and around the world to improve the living conditions of Deaf people in China. They might be denied the means for figuring out how to advocate for–and achieve–better access to educational, training, employment, and other opportunities, or better access to health services and judical services, or better-written, better-implemented laws that are more effective in protecting their rights. Hearing Chinese people, too, are denied these things–but I would suggest that Deaf Chinese are disproportionately affected by censorship.
Deaf people, as most of the readers of this blog likely know very well, tend to be cut off from more informal means of sharing and exchanging information. Hearing neighbors, relatives, and co-workers might not think to pass along certain information to Deaf people. They may simply assume they won’t be interested. Or it might not occur to them that Deaf people cannot overhear casual conversations and cannot listen to the radio–and therefore may miss out on important sources of information. (I don’t know if television is captioned in China or not. But I would make the guess that it probably isn’t, or at least most of it probably isn’t.)
When auditory sources of information are shut off, then alternate sources, like the Internet, can become even more critical. For hearing people, in some cases, the Internet may simply duplicate, or at most enhance, what they’ve already learned elsewhere. For Deaf people, if they can’t access it on the Internet, then in some cases that might mean they won’t access the information at all.
Ok. That’s Deaf people in China. What about Deaf people around the world? Well, first of all, we are denied the power that one-fifth of the world’s Deaf population could bring to our global movement to fight for Deaf rights around the world. Lack of access to information could hamper their ability to be strong allies to the broader, International Deaf community. Also, censorship that stops them from receiving information might also make them more hesitant to make their voices or hands heard or seen on the Web. What if the government decided that their blog/vlog, too, should be censored? What if they got into trouble just for setting up a blog/vlog? We all lose the richness of knowledge, thoughts, and insights that any person who comes from a different background from ours can bring to any dialogue.
Deafread.com is a great resource. But it IS currently a little homogenous in terms of nationality. I’m not pointing fingers here. I think it’s natural for ANY brand-new resource to tend to start off being heavily oriented toward its own country of origin. This is probably particularly the case for a resource like deafread.com that depends primarily on word of mouth for its growth. Deaf Americans tend to know mostly other Deaf Americans. I would say that pre-Gallaudet protest days were the infancy of Deafread.com, and the protests brought it into toddlerhood. So I still see tremendous potential for growth.
But as it grows toward adolescence and adulthood, I hope that deafread.com will become not merely bigger but far more international in scope, including possibly branching out into different languages. If China continues to block entire segments of the Web inside its borders, then deafread.com, and the Deaf blogsphere as a whole, will be sadly impoverished for it.
[Be a guest blogger at Reunify Gally! Your essay should be related in some way to diversity within the Deaf community, or to reunifying or healing the Gallaudet community in the aftermath of the protests. If interested, review my Guidelines for Guest Bloggers and submit your essay to ashettle (at) patriot.net]Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
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