Contacting your Senators: Why to Avoid MS Society’s Tool

Posted on 25 October 2007. Filed under: ADA Restoration Act of 2007, Advocacy |

I have found yet another on-line tool you can use for contacting your senators regarding the ADA Restoration Act, this one sponsored by the MS Society. Unfortunately, this is one of the weaker tools that I have seen for the purpose. Most of the text is frozen, including the first two paragraphs and the last two paragraphs. They do at least give you space in the middle to add your own words. But I have to wonder how many legislators (or their staff) will even bother looking far enough down the page to realize that, no, this letter is not quite like the 500 other letters that are otherwise just like it.

Research has shown that legislators are far more likely to be swayed by INDIVIDUALLY WRITTEN LETTERS or emails. Better a thousand individually written messages than 10,000 form letters. If you really want to make a impact, then use the tool at UnderRepresented.

The UnderRepresented tool allows you to delete their entire letter (if you wish) and write your own from scratch. I would encourage you to do that. Or if you do use the UnderRepresented text, try paraphrasing it–anything to help the legislators realize that you did spend some time on it instead of just parroting what everyone else has said. The UnderRepresented on-line email program for contacting your legislators also gives you some
of the background on the ADA Restoration Act.

The one nice thing about the MS Society version is that their mailing list is, surprise, opt-IN, not opt-out. In other words, if you DO want to join their email distribution list, you can choose to check the box. But if you DON’T, then all you have to do is, NOT check the box. I wish other tools (including UnderRepresented) would follow suit. But, alas, they don’t.

Even though I don’t really like the MS Society tool, I went ahead and used it anyway (I figure it doesn’t hurt, and may help a bit, to send multiple letters to my legislators on this issue). Here’s the resulting text below:

Thursday, July 26 marked the 17th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On this day, Representatives Steny Hoyer (MD) and James Sensenbrenner (WI) introduced the ADA Restoration Act of 2007, and as your constituent, I urge you to become a cosponsor.

People who live with disabilities still are too often treated unfairly and inappropriately in the workplace and in the community. Despite the ADA’s intent to create a level playing field in the workplace, the full promise of the law has never been fulfilled.

I have been told many times–including by colleagues in my field–that I have an excellent resume and outstanding writing skills. Job supervisors who have had me invariably give me very good evaluations or better. But when I apply for jobs, employers who express strong interest in me on the basis of my resume suddenly stop responding to emails or phone calls after they discover that I am deaf.

Because of recent Supreme Court and other court decisions, the ADA no longer creates a level playing field for people with disabilities in the workplace and in our communities, as intended. For example, often employers claim a person is too disabled to do the job, but not disabled enough for protection under the ADA.

Congress must correct the courts’ misuse of the definition of “disability,” and ensure a fair interpretation of the ADA as Congress intended when it passed the law in 1990.

Please help solve this problem by becoming a cosponsor of the ADA Restoration Act of 2007. Thank you.

PLEASE make an ASL vlog (or a written blog, if you like) on the ADA Restoration Act! If you do, I’d be delighted to link to you!

If you’re interested in how the courts have violated the spirit of the ADA, then you may want to explore my growing collection of stories about individual ADA court cases.

CCD has compiled an excellent collection of materials on the ADA and on the ADA Restoration Act of 2007, so it’s well worth following their link to

See my continually-updated list of blog entries from all over the web about the ADA Restoration Act of 2007, from July 26 2007 through TODAY, always available from the top navigation bar at “On the ADA Restoration Act.”

Also, don’t miss these links: One group of activists has posted a short list of simple ideas of things you can do to help get the Restoration Act passed. And do check out the ADA Restoration Blog for on-going updates. Or browse through background information on the ADA Restoration Act. Or contact your legislators


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