Contacting Your Legislators: Tool from United Spinal Assn
If you have been guiltily thinking to yourself that you ought to get around to contacting your legislators to ask them to support the ADA Restoration Act, the United Spinal Association has made it easier for you–whether you’re deaf, hearing, have spinal cord injury, some other disability, or no disability at all.
Personally I still prefer the automated emailer offered at the UnderRepresented because their system automatically targets your letter based on whether or not the representative you’re contacting has already signed on as a sponsor (in which case the letter simply thanks them) or not (in which case, it asks them to). And they also have slightly different form letters for the house (where the bill is referred to as HR 3195) and for the senate (where the bill is referred to as S 1881).
But the United Spinal Association form letter is still a useful tool for people who are too busy to send two separate letters to their congressional representatives and to the senate. And I do like that their form letter does not presume that you have a particular disability. Some of the other tools I’ve seen from other specialized organizations do make specific references to whatever disability they represent–which means people who don’t share those disabilities need to go through the text and delete those references before sending. Which can be annoying. Of course, because most of the text is easy to edit, you can add references to your being Deaf or to your disability if you do wish to do so.
Like some of the other similar tools focused on the ADA Restoration Act (except for UnderRepresented), the United Spinal Association has some text at the start of their form letter that you cannot change (ie, the first paragraph). But the text after that is in an easy-to-edit area which allows you, for example, to share stories of discrimination that you have experienced as a Deaf or disabled person. You’ll notice that I added a pagraph about my own job-hunting experiences in the letter that I sent to all my legislators using this tool (see below).
My main annoyance with this tool is that United Spinal Association assumes that everyone writing a letter will necessarily be interested in joining their mailing list: if you don’t want to receive emails from them forever more, then you have to look for and UNcheck the box. But then, UnderRepesented has the same annoying flaw.
Co-sponsor the bill to Restore the Americans with Disabilities Act
Dear [Decision Maker],
People with disabilities should not be subject to discrimination in the workplace. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was passed with overwhelming support from both parties and signed by President George H.W. Bush. They intended to give people with disabilities an equal opportunity to work and a chance to be judged fairly.
But this is not happening. The courts have so badly misinterpreted the ADA that they have created an absurd Catch-22 — so that a person is “too disabled” to do the job but “not disabled enough” to be protected by the ADA. This is wrong!
Although I have not yet experienced discrimination that was blatant enough to be worth trying to take it to court, I cannot count the number of times that an employer has seemed to be strongly interested in interviewing me for a job only to suddenly lose interest and stop responding to my emails or phone calls as soon as they realize that I am deaf.
People with disabilities who are able to work do not want to depend on public programs they want to have a job to support themselves and their families.
If you are already one of the co-sponsors of the ADA Restoration Act – thank you. It has support from both parties in both the House and the Senate. If not, as one of your many constituents who has a disability or who cares about people with disabilities, I ask you to please immediately sign up to co-sponsor the ADA Restoration Act (HR 3195 in the House, S 1881 in the Senate).
Want to take action? Head on over to http://www.unitedspinal.org/advocacy/employment-discrimination/ to fill in their form letter. (Or, if you’re willing to take a few extra minutes to boost the power of your letters, I still tend to prefer the tool offered at http://www.theunderrepresented.com/blogger/2007/08/us-chamber-of-commerce-supports.html)
You can read background materials about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990; how the courts have undermined the original intent of the ADA; and how the ADA is meant to fix it at http://www.c-c-d.org/ada. You can also link to older blog posts about the ADA Restoration Act, both here at ReunifyGally and at other blogs around the web, at “On the ADA Restoration Act” — always available from the top navigation bar from every page of this blog. You may also wish to monitor the ADA Restoration blog for on-going updates at http://adarestoration.blogspot.com/.
If you’re looking for more simple things you can do to help get the ADA Restoration Act passed, check out http://roadtofreedom.org/cs/what_you_can_do for ideas.