URGENT: Support CRPD, Deaf-Friendly “Disability Treaty”

Posted on 30 October 2013. Filed under: Advocacy, Announcements, Call to Action, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (, CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabili, Deaf Community, Disability | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

URGENT: Support CRPD, Deaf-Friendly “Disability Treaty”

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

The marathon battle for the U.S. ratification of the deaf-friendly “Disability Treaty” may soon have its end in sight. But only if thousands of supporters across the country take action now! That means YOU!

What can you do?

  1. MAKE CALLS!! We need everyone to call and email Senators as often as you can. Tell them over and over to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)! Don’t stop until they ratify! 

    The CRPD Action Center at http://disabilitytreaty.org offers tools that can help you communicate with Senators. This includes a template email and a script for phone calls. The same site has a FAQ on the CPRD.Every call really does matter. Set up phone banks for your dorms, organizations or classes. Hold events where everyone calls together!

    In addition to your own Senators, you also can call Senator Menendez and Senator Corker. As Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, they represent all Americans.

  2. Sign and disseminate the petitions! Youth below age 30 can sign a petition for young people at http://bit.ly/Youth4CRPD. People of all ages can sign another petition at http://disabilitytreaty.org. Every signature really does matter!!
  3. The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled two hearings on the CRPD for November 5 and 12, 2013. WE NEED YOU TO COME. Bring your friends, family, and classmates. Help us FILL THE ROOM. Show the Senators your support. Monitor http://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/ for forthcoming details on time and location.

Facts to Remember:

  • The CRPD is the first international treaty to recognize the inclusion of sign language and deaf culture in society.
  • More than 700 disability, veterans, faith, business, and humanitarian organizations support CRPD ratification. These include the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Gallaudet University, and the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD).
  • More materials on the CRPD for the Deaf, deaf, and hard of hearing communities are available at http://bit.ly/DeafCRPD

Last year, we lost by only 5 votes. This may be our last chance for a long time. Please help us succeed this year!

Please let us know what you are doing! Any questions? Contact: Andrea Shettle at ashettle@usicd.org, video phone 202-540-8812. Other questions on the CRPD campaign can be directed to Eileen Magan at emagan@usicd.org.

Please circulate this text freely to all U.S. deaf and hard of hearing community members, their friends, loved ones, and allies. Reblog or copy/paste the text into email, Facebook, etc.

If you have a website, put the logo below on your website and link it to http://disabilitytreaty.org

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Five Ways to Support the CRPD Ratification Campaign!

Posted on 14 November 2012. Filed under: Advocacy, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (, CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabili, Disability, International | Tags: , , , , , |

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 srichard@usicd.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.

Picture of a woman holding a handmade sign with "CRPD" and "support" written and drawn in American Sign Language, the phrase "human rights" and a drawing of the globe  Picture of an older man and woman holding a sign printed from a computer saying "parents of children with disabilities support US ratification of the CRPD"  Picture of 17 people at the Vermont Center for Independent Living holding signs that together say "CRPD"  A woman seated in a wheelchair poses with four papers that together say "CRPD" (holds C and R in her hands, rests P and D on her legs)

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?

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Lend YOUR Face to Support the US CRPD Ratification Effort!

Posted on 24 October 2012. Filed under: Advocacy, Announcements, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (, CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabili, Disability, International | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

What is the CRPD?

CRPD stands for Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first international treaty to address the human rights needs of people with disabilities.  We lost the first CRPD vote in 2012 because the opposition spread lies and misinformation.  Don’t let us lose again in 2014.  Senator Reid could schedule a new floor vote on the CRPD at any time that the Senate is in session.

First, Tell both of your senators that you want them to ratify the CRPD.  

The second thing you can do is: Lend your face!

How Do I “Lend My Face”?

  • Catch the attention of senators with a picture of YOU!  Pose for the picture with your own homemade sign supporting the CRPD.  Your sign can briefly explain why the CRPD matters to you.
  • Email your picture to Andrea Shettle at USICD (ashettle@usicd.org) and she can Tweet it for you.  Tell Andrea what state you are from so she knows which Senators to address for you!
  • Or if you prefer to Tweet or Facebook the picture yourself:
    • Use the hash tag #CRPD in your message
    • Use the message to ask your followers to take action to support the “Disability Treaty” at http://disabilitytreaty.org!
    • Address the message to your Senators! Find their Twitter handle and Facebook page at http://bit.ly/ReachSenators
    • Need ideas for a message to accompany your picture?  Click on some of the pictures below to see what message people tweeted with their picture!  Always include the #CRPD hash tag AND the http://disabilitytreaty.org web link.  

Find more ideas for how to help in the Disability Treaty Action Handout.

Via @SenatorHarkin with other senators supporting CRPD 3Dec'12Yoshiko Rhonda Jesse & othersRachael Patterson @racheljpat.jpg-largeSen Reid staff watch Sen Harkin support CRPDPix via @TheRAC students lobbying Sen Franklin staff re CRPD 10Dec'12Harkin with the gangCRPD Supporters visit Sen Heller via @kmusheno Kim MushenoCRPD pix from @Jawonio 27Nov'12AAPD tweets pix of bipartisan support of CRPD press confWoman at Gallaudet holds orange sign saying "Give back our independence" asking senators to ratify CRPD  A man at Gallaudet holds a purple sign and an orange sign, both asking senators to vote yes on the CRPD   Five   A picture of a woman in an orange shirt holding a sign that says "Ratify the CRPD in the 112th!"   A woman at the Gallaudet University student center holds an orange sign that says "I support CRPD!" while making the ASL sign for "I love you"   A picture of an infant near a window playing. Black text overlays the picture with a letter to the two senators of Minnesota urging them to ratify the CRPD.  Man at Gallaudet holding a green sign that says "I support CRPD, Ratify this!"   A Deaf woman at Gallaudet holds an orange sign saying "Please support CRPD!"     A picture of a man and a woman holding a sign telling senators that parents of children with disabilities support the CRPD  A man at Gallaudet University holds a blue sign asking senators to ratify the CRPD   Representatives of USICD, NFB, and DREDF post with six signs that, together, say "Vote Yes CRPD"   A man at Gallaudet University holds a purple sign asking Senator Robert to vote yes on the CRPD  A seated woman smiles at camera while displaying four signs that together say "CRPD" (she holds two signs up while the other two rest on her legs)    A woman in a yellow shirt holds a green sign that says "I support CRPD Ratify this!"   A woman holds up a printed sign saying, "Simple explanation: Disability rights = human rights! I SUPPORT the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities #CRPD"!  Picture of a woman with crutches holding a sign asking her two senators in Maryland to ratify the CRPD     Woman stands at a table with literature on the CRPD and a sign saying "Be a Hero! Support CRPD Ratification!"  Four pictures of a woman posing with a sign asking senators to support the CRPD--in each picture she finger spells one of the letters in the acronym CRPD Picture of a woman with a sign written in both English and drawings of ASL signs asking senators to support human rights and CRPD ratification  A picture of 17 people (and two service dogs) posing in front of a brick building.  Four signs put together say "CRPD", and there is also a blue sign that says "VCIL supports ratification of the CRPD"   A woman holds an orange sign that says "Lets lead the world in important human rights issues! Ratify the CRPD!"   Picture of a woman holding a sign that says "Pass the CRPD"   Woman holding a sign that says "@Senate_GOPs & @SenateDems: Listen up! This #Deaf American wants the US to ratify the CRPD in 2012!"

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Simple Ways to Help Iranian Free Speech #IranElection #gr88

Posted on 17 June 2009. Filed under: Advocacy | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Français; Español; Türkçe; Deutsch
I am neutral on the Iranian election. But I am very pro freedom of speech. Whether we agree or disagree with any given Iranian citizen, they ought to have the right to express their views. Here are simple ways you can help them defeat attempts at censorship in Iran:

1. Do you twitter? Change your twitter location to any city in Iran. If all of us are Iranians then it is a little harder for government censors to track down Iranian tweeters. (See list of Iranian cities at http://is.gd/13UCt.) Some people say you should also change your time zone to Tehran time, which is 3.5 hours past GMT (GMT +3:30). Other people say the time zone is irrelevant. Decide for yourself.

2. Read a list of a few more simple ideas for how you can help at http://is.gd/13TK4 (This is the “BoingBoing” post for those of you who have been around enough to see it already. Also read 6 ways the Western World Can Support Iranian Activists at http://is.gd/18jZ9. (Those of you looking for more ambitious ideas for how to be involved, read #4 and #5 below.)

3. Finished with #1 and #2 above? Recruit others to help too. Spread the word. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Tweet this phrase:

    Simple ways to help Iranian free speech: http://is.gd/13U0V #IranElection #gr88 Pls RT

  • Also consider copy/pasting this announcement into your blog or facebook page so more people will see it. Or simply link to its original home at http://is.gd/13U0V. (If you copy/paste, please copy the text from its original home to ensure that you have any updated URLs or other information.)
  • Also, consider voting for this blog post (http://is.gd/13U0V) at one or more of the following: http://www.stumbleupon.com/, http://www.reddit.com/; http://is.gd/13WVR (digg.com) That will help more people find it.

4. Looking for more ideas how to help? Consult http://iran.sharearchy.com/. This provides instructions on how you can set up your own proxy server to help Iranians blog more safely (easier than you might think, though with certain caveats which you will need to read at the link). It also has more tips for how to participate in global dialogue and mobilize support in a way that protects the safety of Iranian bloggers and tweeters.

But before you pass along information about your proxy server, make sure it is running correctly. Many proxy servers don’t help because they aren’t configured correctly. Learn more about potential problems and how to fix them at http://is.gd/193F8. And test your proxy at http://is.gd/18Mlj.

5. Are you bilingual? Please consider providing translation assistance so that people all around the world can learn about ideas for how to support free speech no matter what language they communicate in. For more details, go to http://is.gd/14PMh.

6. Want to follow the “tweets” about Iran? At twitter.com, do a search for #IranElection or #gr88 These are the two official hash tags used by Iranian bloggers themselves. (Hash tags are used to help find tweets on specific topics). As the “boing boing” post says, do be on guard. Some tweets are very legitimate, but others are rumors, speculation, or even outright disinformation. Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 66 so far )

On-going Human Rights Violation: Woman Being Denied Basic Care

Posted on 21 January 2009. Filed under: Advocacy, Announcements | Tags: , , , , , |

We in the disability human rights community have an opportunity to save a life. A quick summary: a woman with disabilities in Sudsbury, Ontario, Canada (Minna Mettinen- Kekalainen) is SUPPOSED to be receiving home care services. The North East Community Care Access Center has been denying her these services. Minna says this is because she had complained about their nurses because they had failed to follow her doctor’s orders. Minna was on a prolonged hunger strike, starving herself to death in an attempt to pressure the CCAC to provide her the services she needs. She has started eating again, at least for now.  But she is still being profoundly neglected.  Please take a few minutes to support efforts among disability rights activists to save her life.

1. First, read more about the situation at the following two links. You will also want to read the comments that people have left, because people are using the comments area at this blog page to exchange more information and ideas on how people can help: http://ballastexistenz.autistics.org/?p=572 and http://ballastexistenz.autistics.org/?p=573

2. Send an email to the following people to urge them to intervene on Minna’s behalf so she can receive the home care services that she is asking for: Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci Constituency Office email: rbartolucci.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services email: rick.bartolucci@ontario.ca

Minister of Health & Long-Term Care David Caplan: ccu.moh@ontario.ca

Non-Canadians can use these email addresses, too. If enough individual people write to them, they may take notice.

3. Consider also communicating with the North East Community Care Access Center on Minna’s behalf.  This is the center that is refusing care to Minna (unfortunately there seems to be no email contact for them):

North East Community Care Access Centre (the centre that is refusing care to Minna)
Head Office/Sudbury Branch
1760 Regent Street
Sudbury ON P3E 3Z8
(705) 522-3461 or 1 (800) 461-2919 (Sudbury

To access the Long-Term Care ACTION Line call: 1-866-876-7658 or TTY: 1-800-387-5559.

(More detail on their Complaints and Appeals Process at http://tinyurl.com/aeu6vt)

4. Also consider communicating with the Maison Vale Inco Hospice–this is a different place (NOT related to the North East Community Care Access Center), and Minna would like to be admitted there.

Maison Vale Inco Hospice (the place Minna hopes to gain admittance to)
(705) 674-9252
1028 South Bay Rd. Sudbury, ON P3E 6J7
Website: http://www.maisonsudburyhospice.org/
Resident Care Coordinator Elaine Klym: elaine@maisonsudburyhospice.org
Executive Director is Léo Therrie

5. If you will be in Ontario on January 23, consider joining a protest and march on Minna’s behalf.

6. Join the Facebook group, “Minna’s Hunger Strike–Call to Action for an ALS Patient Denied Care” to learn the latest news on what is happening with Minna’s case and what people are doing to help. If you are not already a member of Facebook, it only takes a few minutes to sign up for a free account.

7. Please circulate this text further via your network of contacts in the disability and human rights communities, Facebook page, blog site, etc.

Thank you for taking action.

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Jerry Lewis, Hersholt Award, and Gay Slurs

Posted on 15 January 2009. Filed under: Advocacy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

People with disabilities are not the only people who are offended at Jerry Lewis receiving a humanitarian award. GLBT people object to the idea because Jerry has made homophobic slurs. Read more at http://www.altfg.com/blog/actors/jerry-lewis-gay-slur-controversy/

Bev at Asperger Square 8 has once again lent her visual talents by combining pictures of Jerry with some of his more insidious quotes about people with disabilities. At http://aspergersquare8.blogspot.com/2009/01/protest-pity.html

Learn more about Jerry Lewis’ humanitarian award and the petition campaign protesting against it at https://reunifygally.wordpress.com/2009/01/10/protest-pity-sign-the-petition/ or by following the links at https://reunifygally.wordpress.com/bloggers-protesting-pity/

Consider signing the petition protesting the award at
http://www.petitiononline.com/jlno2009/petition.html You can significantly strengthen the impact of your petition signature by using the comments line to explain IN YOUR OWN WORDS why you object to the award. (Don’t let the tiny comments space in the petition fool you. You can actually fit in several full sentences, if you wish.)

And consider joining the Facebook group so you can learn about other ways to get involved: http://www.facebook.com/groups.php#/group.php?gid=40538392681

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Protest Pity!

Posted on 10 January 2009. Filed under: Advocacy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Whether you’re Deaf or hearing; old or young; poor or rich; have muscular dystrophy or not; gay or straight; male or female; have disabilities or not—chances are, you would never want someone to pity you. Yet, too many of us think pity is okay as long as we do it to someone else. Meaning someone who leads such a pathetic life that they “deserve” pity. And, not so incidentally, charity.

Jerry Lewis is someone who perpetuates pity against all people with disabilities–and, yes, against Deaf people and Autistic people as well, even if not all identify as having disabilities–every time he runs his annual telethon for people with muscular dystrophy on Labor Day weekend. For his annual task of attacking the dignity of millions of people, Jerry is about to receive a humanitarian award.

There is now an on-line petition campaign against Jerry’s humanitarian award. If you already know you want to sign it, then skip the rest of this post and follow this link to the petition signature page! (Be sure to use the Comments line to explain, in your own words, why you support the petition. This will vastly strengthen the impact of your signature.)

Not sure yet? I will explain more about the petition and why all Deaf people, Autistic people, and people with disabilities should sign it. But, first, I will share a few words on why we all should take a stand against the destructive force of pity where ever we find it–whether it’s perpetuated by Jerry or by someone else (see “Protest Pity“). Then I will talk about why Jerry does not deserve a humanitarian award (see “Protest Jerry’s Pity-a-Thon“). Last, I will explain about the humanitarian award and the effort to protest it (see “Join the Petition Campaign!“)

Protest Pity

Those of us who are Deaf, or who are Autistic, or who have muscular dystrophy, or who have disabilities, all know first hand how pity can damage lives. It undermines our efforts to seek out access to our environment; to full, independent lives; to our basic human rights; and to our fundamental freedoms. People who “pity” us don’t think about things like supplying us with closed captions (for Deaf people), or a quiet, dim environment (for Autistic people with sensory issues), or ramps (for wheelchair users). People who pity us are more interested in putting a quarter or two in our begging cup (because, surely, we must have one, don’t we?) so they can go away feeling good about themselves. Never mind whether our lives are truly improved by the charity they bestow upon us. Because, unlike empathy, pity doesn’t really have anything to do with providing the kind of help that people necessarily want and need to receive. Pity, and the charity it triggers, is really about the giver and their need to see themselves as kind and generous. By definition, it is never about the recipient.

Pity can frequently masquerade as more benign emotions such as “sympathy” or (better) “empathy.” But unlike empathy, pity dehumanizes the target. We feel empathy with our equals: empathy implies that we identify with the pain of someone we perceive as being mostly like ourselves. Empathy also implies that we believe the target deserves all the same kind of support we would want for ourselves if we were in the same situation. But we feel pity only for people we perceive as being, not just different from us, but beneath us. Maybe even contemptible, or less than human. Empathy binds people together and drives people to fight for things like justice, equality, and human rights. Pity separates us and stratifies us into “superior” beings (people who should never be pitied) and “inferior” beings (people who should be pitied, or who should be passive recipients of charity).

When we empathize with someone, we recognize their fundamental dignity. We may not necessarily share all their values and interests, but we acknowledge that they deserve to have access to all the same services, human rights, and freedoms that we do. If someone we empathize with is denied the right to informed consent to medical care (because they are denied the interpreters they need to understand the treatment options being offered to them), or the right to read an important brochure on HIV/AIDS prevention (because it is not available in Braille), then we become enraged on their behalf. We take as a given that they deserve the same things that we do. And we stand in solidarity with them when they fight for their human rights.

However, if we pity them rather than empathize with them, then it doesn’t occur to us that the barriers they face to full participation in society are a travesty of justice and human rights. Instead, we simply say, “How sad that they have disabilities.” Then perhaps we throw a few dollars in their general direction so we can move on and forget about them. Pity does not inspire people to support enduring equal access to the environment. It only inspires short-term, feel-good charity.

Protest Jerry Lewis’ Pity-a-Thon

If pity is such a terrible thing, then why do some people, like Jerry Lewis, do so much to encourage it? It can be tempting to fall into the trap of promoting pity for two reasons. One, too many people still confuse pity with its more productive counterpart, empathy. Two, pity does happen to be very effective at luring people to donate millions of dollars, in charity–which can do a lot of short-term good, even if the pity itself can do so much harm.

Hence, Jerry’s annual “pity-a-thon,” which has raised enormous amounts of money to support medical research. However, many people question whether the harm caused by Jerry’s pity-a-thon justifies the ends. They point out that events such as Jerry’s telethon can generate massive amounts of pity that last well beyond the event ends, with all its destructive implications. Last year, dozens of Deaf people, hearing people, Autistic people, non-autistic people, and people with various disabilities wrote about why they oppose Jerry’s telethon: you can read those blog posts at http://karasheridan.com/?p=164. And in case you were wondering: yes, there are people with muscular dystrophy who don’t like Jerry’s telethon either.

Join the Petition Campaign!

So what about Jerry’s upcoming humanitarian award, and the petition campaign protesting it? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that it will give Jerry Lewis its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Oscar Awards ceremony on February 22, 2009. This is largely for his work raising money by entrenching negative, stereotyped attitudes toward people with disabilities. Most people with disabilities do not oppose the need for more medical research into muscular dystrophy, or for services for people with muscular dystrophy. What we object to is the destructive means by which Jerry raises these funds.

Read and sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/jlno2009/petition.html. Please be sure to use the Comments line to explain, in your own words, why you support the petition. This will vastly increase the impact of your signature (because it shows you feel very strongly about this subject.)

If you’re on Facebook, you can join the Facebook group organizing efforts to protest Jerry’s award at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=40538392681

(If you’re not in Facebook yet, it’s pretty easy to set up an account for yourself, and it is free.)

Please do blog the petition campaign (be sure to link to the petition and to the Facebook group!) And please do twitter it as well.

You can increase the visibility of this blog post by “Digging” it–go to http://digg.com/arts_culture/Deaf_and_disabled_people_urge_others_to_Protest_Pity, then click on where it says “Digg it” (if you don’t already have a Digg account then you may need to create one, which takes just a few minutes).

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Email Obama!

Posted on 13 November 2008. Filed under: Advocacy, Email Obama! | Tags: , , , , , |

[PLEASE send your emails for Obama DIRECTLY to his administration. Or, you may prefer to communicate through the White House Office of Public Liaison, which is meant to facilitate communication between the Presidential administration and the public.   Messages left here will NOT be passed along. Thank you.]

Politicians are known for making promises–to Deaf people and hearing people, and to people with disabilities and without disabilities. Sometimes they follow through and sometimes they don’t. What makes the difference? WE DO!

The new US President-elect Barack Obama has made some important promises to people with disabilities and Deaf people. These promises could be important both nationally (better employment and education and less discrimination) and internationally (signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

But will he follow through? That’s partly up to his own integrity. But that’s also up to all people with disabilities, our loved ones, colleagues, and other allies. Politicians are more quick to remember their promises if they know people are watching them. So let’s make sure Obama’s team knows we are watching him! EMAIL OBAMA!

Learn more about how YOU can help by taking just a few minutes to click through this power point program:

https://reunifygally.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/email-obama.ppt

Most importantly:

We should all send an email to Kareem Dale, Obama’s National Disability Vote Director (at kdale@barackobama.com), WITH COPIES TO Anne Hayes, a volunteer on the Obama Disability Policy Committee (at ahayesku@hotmail.com).

NOTE: Please note that this blog is NOT the place to leave messages for Obama. I am unable to pass along your messages to Obama’s team. Instead, PLEASE contact his team DIRECTLY. If you wish to contact them on non-disability related issues, please use the form at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/.  Or, you may prefer to contact the White House Office of Public Liaison at http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/opl/. If you wish to contact them on disability-related issues, then you may use the instructions given above. Thank you.

NOTE: As of December 23, 2008, I have now closed comments on this specific blog post. If you are trying to reach Obama’s administration, please contact them DIRECTLY as instructed repeatedly above.

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Emails to Obama! Creating Change for People with Disabilities!

Posted on 13 November 2008. Filed under: Advocacy, Email Obama! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

[People who wish to communicate with the Obama administration should PLEASE CONTACT THEM DIRECTLY. I am NOT able to pass along your emails to the Obama administration. You can contact the White House at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/. Or you may prefer to contact the White House Office of Public Liaison, which in their own words is “the front door to the White House through which everyone can participate and inform the work of the President,” at http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/opl/]

Politicians are more quick to do as they promise when they know the world is watching them. That’s why it’s important for people with disabilities, Deaf people, our loved ones, colleagues, and other allies SEND EMAILS TO OBAMA! Let him know that we are aware of the promises Obama has made to people with disabilities! I have linked to several letters to Obama below in the hope of inspiring others to write letters of their own.

Letters to Obama
The disability community of Kosovo congratulates Obama and urges him to support disability rights internationally as well as domestically: http://wecando.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/kosovo-obama-disability/

A Deaf woman with attention deficit disorder in the US writes about how she felt when Obama mentioned people with disabilities in his election night speech–and what she hopes he will do next: https://reunifygally.wordpress.com/2008/11/05/thank_you_obama_disabilities/

A disabled person’s organization in Bangladesh sent this letter of congratulations: http://wecando.wordpress.com/2008/11/10/bpks-congratulates-obama/

An international disability activist from Uganda thanks the people of the United States for choosing Obama: http://wecando.wordpress.com/2008/11/11/uganda-thanks-us-for-obam/

Take Action!
1. Please send your own emails to Obama! Send your emails to Kareem Dale, Obama’s National Disability Vote Director (at kdale@barackobama.com), WITH COPIES TO Anne Hayes, a volunteer on the Obama Disability Policy Committee (at ahayesku@hotmail.com). Congratulate Obama; thank him for mentioning people with disabilities in his election night speech; then remind him of his promises to people with disabilities. 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.

2. Read more about the Call to Action that explains how and why people in the Deaf and disability communities should email Obama, and how people can educate themselves about Obama’s promises to people with disabilities. At http://wecando.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/disabilities-email-obama/ Or, most of the same text is also available in the slide show provided further below in this post (click on the arrows to advance through the show).

3. Spread the word! Please ask your friends and other people you know to write their own emails to Obama. Feel free to copy/paste the Call to Action into your blog, Facebook page, or email and circulate it. Or make a podcast or video to promote awareness of the email-writing campaign to Obama’s team and post it on-line. Or post the slideshow (below) at your blog.

4. Consider sharing your own letter to Obama as a way to help inspire others to write their own. Post the email that you sent to kdale@barackobama.com and ahayesku@hotmail.com in the comments area below for other people to see. If I like your letter, then I might also ask for permission to post it at this blog so it can attract a wider audience.

Of course, also let me know if you have blogged the email campaign–I’ll be happy to link to you.

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Why Deaf Americans Should Vote Obama in 2008

Posted on 31 October 2008. Filed under: Advocacy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Note that, of course, Deaf people would be affected by McCain-Palin disability policies just as much as Americans with disabilities generally. (See press release further below) This is one of a great many reasons (not all related to disability policy) that I will be voting for the Obama-Biden ticket this coming Tuesday.

Simply put, I trust Obama to be more attentive to Deaf rights and disability rights as a HUMAN RIGHTS issue–not just another code word for “welfare” or “charity” or so called “special needs.” From the primary stage onwards, Obama was the only leading candidate to have a comprehensively written disability platform that includes a strong endorsement of the Americans with Disability Act, and a clear commitment on Obama’s part to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Read this FAQ for more information about the CRPD. And you can read Obama’s disability platform in PDF format for yourself; it’s only 62 Kb, so even slow modems shouldn’t have too much trouble downloading it.

ADAWatch.org
National Coalition for Disability Rights

NEWS RELEASE
October 31, 2008

Disability Rights Organizations Express Outrage Over Attacks at McCain-Palin Rally

(Washington, DC) The National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR) pushed back today against the McCain-Palin campaign for ridiculing the legal rights of people with disabilities. News reports describe McCain-Palin campaign representative Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo), joining Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin at a rally in Rush Limbaugh’s hometown of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, mocking Presidential candidate Senator Barak Obama for stating that he’s looking to nominate judges who empathize with “the disabled.”

“It’s Halloween and it seems that Sarah Palin’s mask of support for people with “special needs” is slipping. Despite past pandering to people with disabilities, McCain-Palin are actually opposed to vital disability legislation like the Community Choice Act and they want to appoint judges who will further roll back the civil rights protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” declared NCDR’s founder and president, Jim Ward.

NPR’s Nina Totenberg has reported that McCain-Palin’s and conservatives’ “most oft-mentioned prospects” for nomination to the Supreme Court include Ohio Judge Jeffrey Sutton. Sutton was opposed by hundreds of disability organizations when he was nominated by President Bush after successfully weakening the ADA with states’ rights arguments. As a sitting judge, he has recently supported the execution of criminals with developmental disabilities and has undermined the Help America Vote Act(HAVA).

Disability rights advocates are further incensed that the McCain-Palin campaign has reframed this civil rights struggle, one founded in concepts of equality, dignity and self-respect, as an issue of “special needs.”

Disability rights advocate, Steve Gold states, “Yes we need support services. Yes we need inclusive education. Yes we need integrated employment. Yes we need equal rights. This not “special”. These needs are based on us, people with disabilities, equal members of our communities. We are not inspirational nor are we “special”. We are PROUD PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES who should push back when anyone describes us as anything but equal members of our communities.”

The National Coalition for Disability Rights is a nonpartisan nonprofit that does not endorse political candidates. We are a coalition of national, state and local disability, civil rights and social justice organizations united to protect and promote the human rights of children and adults with physical and mental disabilities.

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This press release was circulated via the ADA Watch email list.

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