Sick of checking out a YouTube video only to find that it uses the computer generated CRAPtions and not properly human-edited captions? Wish more YouTubers would properly human-edit their captions, or get someone else to do it for them, and not just trust that the automated YouTube CRaptions will turn out alright? Then join the #NoMoreCRaptions campaign being launched this September 25th by YouTuber and blogger Rikki Poynter. Read her guidance below on how you can help.

If you don’t do YouTube, then Rikki has said that she also will welcome people writing blog posts or Tumblr. If you don’t do that either, then consider using your other social media to bring the attention of your friends and your favorite YouTubers to this event.

If you are personally a YouTuber who isn’t sure how to caption your videos (or get it done by others), check out this resource: http://captionedwebtv.blogspot.com/p/producer-information.html


Violence against women is never a game! @NTFVAWA needs your stories of online violence! #stopcyberviolence

The following text was recently circulated via email by the National Task Force to end Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women (@NTFVAWA in Twitter)

Violence against women is never a game!

Congress must ensure that persons making online threats of assault, sexual violence and death are held accountable.  WE NEED YOUR STORIES!!!


October 29, 2014 – please distribute widely!

Trigger warning: rape, murder, violence; this alert contains disturbing and offensive language

On October 15, feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian, nationally known for her efforts to call out violence against women in online gaming, was forced to cancel a speaking appearance at Utah State University when the school received an anonymous email threatening to carry out “the deadliest shooting in American history”[i] if the event was not cancelled.  The email was only one of a long history of online threats and harassment directed at Sarkeesian. She, like other activists against online gender-based violence, has been forced to move out of her home.  The FBI only recently took on her case; they, like many other law enforcement agencies, face many barriers to effectively investigating online threats of sexual and physical violence, and often, cyberviolence/online stalking is not a priority.

Congress must act to ensure that our laws keep pace with growing online violence and to ensure law enforcement has access to the tools necessary to enforce those laws.  We will ask Congress to hold a hearing on cyberviolence/online stalking – we need your stories!

Background: Sarkeesian and two female video game developers, Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu are at the center of “Gamergate”, a culture war within the video game community.  A tiny subset of video game fans are attacking people who critique the misogynistic content of many video games; these trolls claim to be policing journalistic ethics by threatening Sarkeesian, Quinn and Wu with rape, torture and death.[ii]  The following is just one of many threats aimed at Sarkeesian: “I’m going to kill your parents . . . I’ve seen their house [her parents’ address]. . . I’m going to go to your apartment at [her home address]. . . and rape you to death.  After I’m done, I’ll ram a tire iron up your c%^t”.[iii] These women, and many, many more in this country, deal with threats like this every day.  Trolls have hacked their computers and posted personal information and nude photos online.  They have been forced out of their homes and into hiding.

Law Enforcement’s Response: In many jurisdictions, law enforcement does not have the expertise required to investigate cases of online violence.  Many of the people perpetrating such violence are able to electronically hide their tracks, requiring law enforcement to invest much time and effort into investigating these cyberstalking incidents.  Furthermore, the penalties for cyberstalking are laughable.  As Tim Ryan, a former FBI investigator puts it, “Spending a month getting subpoenas and doing wiretaps for a case where the sentence is six months of probation just doesn’t make sense”.[iv]  Another expert adds, “Our legal system hasn’t quite caught up with technology”.[v]

Cyberstalking victimization is not confined to celebrities and the gaming world; anyone who uses the Internet can be a target.  We can use Gamergate to start a conversation, but we need to illustrate the pervasive nature of cyberstalking in our culture.  We are asking Congress to hold hearings on cyberviolence/online stalking, and we need stories from constituents to show Congress how important this issue is. Share your story with us so we can prove the magnitude of the problem!


Have you or someone you know been the target of virulent online/electronic harassment and/or threats?  How has that impacted you and/or the target?  Did you contact law enforcement and, if so, what was their response?  Your stories are important!

If you are a member of law enforcement, have you tried but been unable to investigate cyberviolence/online stalking?  What were the barriers you faced?  Your stories are important!

Your stories will be kept anonymous.  The only identifying information we will use is your state, because every legislator needs to know this is happening to his/her constituents!





Follow us on Twitter at @NTFVAWA and “like” our Facebook page. If you aren’t on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to ntfvawaalerts@icasa.org.

A primer on Gamergate: http://deadspin.com/the-future-of-the-culture-wars-is-here-and-its-gamerga-1646145844

Analysis of gender-based online abuse: http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/women-arent-welcome-internet-72170/

Sarkeesian’s critique of misogyny in video games: http://www.feministfrequency.com/tag/tropes-vs-women-in-video-games/

Democracy Now’s interview with Sarkeesian: http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2014/10/20

Why it’s difficult to prosecute trolls: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/10/17/gamergate_threats_why_it_s_so_hard_to_prosecute_the_people_targeting_zoe.html?wpsrc=fol_tw


[i] Goodwin, A. (2014).  “Women are being driven offline”: Feminist Anita Sarkeesian terrorized for critique of video games.  Democracy Now.  Retrieved from http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2014/10/20.

[ii] Wagner, K. (2014).  The future of the culture wars is here, and it’s Gamergate.  Deadspin.  Retrieved from http://deadspin.com/the-future-of-the-culture-wars-is-here-and-its-gamerga-1646145844

[iii] Beusman, C. (2014).   Misogynistic trolls drive feminist video game critic from her home.  Jezebel.  Retrieved from

[iv] Hess, A. (2014).  A former FBI agent on why it is so hard to prosecute Gamergate trolls.  Slate.  Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/10/17/gamergate_threats_why_it_s_so_hard_to_prosecute_the_people_targeting_zoe.html?wpsrc=fol_tw

[v] Ortutay, B. (2014, October 22).  Survey: Harassment a common part of online life.  Washington Post.  Retrieved

from http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/survey-harassment-a-common-part-of-online-life/2014/10/22/497f7330-59f4-11e4-9d6c-756a229d8b18_story.html

Alert: The Senate Returns Today and Needs to Hear from You on the Disability Treaty (CRPD) NOW!

Image of a black hourglass overlaid on black image of the Capitol building.  Text in the image says: Time is running out: Now is the time for the Senate to act! Ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): www.disabilitytreaty.org #CRPD

Time is running out: Now is the time for the Senate to act! Ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): http://www.disabilitytreaty.org #CRPD


The Senate Needs to Hear from you NOW!  Ask them to ratify the “Disability Treaty” (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD). This is an important international civil rights treaty for 1 billion people with disabilities around the world.

Today (Sept 8, 2014), the Senate returns for a two week work session. They need to continue to hear from YOU!

Getting the CRPD passed is, in part, a game of numbers: the side that can generate the most calls to Senators has a better chance of winning.  And the opposition has been generating many calls, so we need to match their pace.

CALL your Senators often and spread the word!  See our social media guide below!

Visit www.disabilitytreaty.org to take action!

Friends who are new to the “Disability Treaty” (CRPD) can review these two handouts: http://bit.ly/CRPD1Pager and http://bit.ly/CRPDmyths.  Catch up on events in the campaign for U.S. ratification of the CRPD at http://bit.ly/CRPDtimeline.  Read the full text of the CRPD here.


CRPD advocates pose with printed signs saying “Vote YES! CRPD”.

You can also take action on social media! 

  • Make a sign – it can be a simple piece of paper.  Write down that you support CRPD and (if applicable) why.  If you have a personal story, use it! (Example: I support CRPD because I want my sister with a disability to be able to travel abroad!)
  • Take a picture of yourself holding up the sign.
  •  Tweet or Facebook the picture (along with one of the sample tweets below) using the hashtag #CRPD.  You can also tweet at your Senator.   You can find Senator Twitter IDs at: http://bit.ly/CRPDsenators
  • Get your friends to do the same!

Sample Twitter Pictures:

Individual: https://twitter.com/USICD/status/259376999901044736/photo/1

Group: https://twitter.com/Margaret_Gburek/status/398964337098117120

 Sample Tweets:

Ready to do more?

After the Disability Treaty Rally–Yes, We Still Need YOUR Calls to Senators!

This was disseminated yesterday by Access Living in Chicago, which is one of hundreds of organizations involved with the national campaign for the U.S. ratification of the “Disability Treaty” (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD).  The rally referenced in this email occurred on July 29th, 2014.  Certain Senators still really need to hear from CRPD supporters!  You will find phone numbers below.  A suggested “script” for what to say is available via the Action Center at http://disabilitytreaty.org.  If you are comfortable using the phone, please do: Many Senators do count phone calls more heavily than most other forms of communication.  Yes, voice mail messages left outside of office hours are still counted!  But if making a phone call isn’t your thing, then email addresses for a staff person in each Senator’s office is also included below.  A template email for you to modify is also available at http://disabilitytreaty.org.

If the Senate adjourns for August recess without voting on the CRPD, then those of us who support the human rights of 1 billion people with disabilities around the world will need to sustain our pressure on Senators during August.  Please read below for more information on latest events and for a list of Senators who need to hear from you!

Date: July 30, 2014 12:00:39 PM EDT
Subject: Update on the CRPD Fight from Washington, DC!

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

Writing you from Washington, DC!  Yesterday was an amazing day with disability advocates from across the nation fighting for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

First thing yesterday morning, hundreds of advocates marched from downtown DC to the Reflecting Pool at the US Capitol. Energy and positivity was very high as we knew we were marching with our best!  We rallied with a number of members of Congress who came to express support for independent living and the CRPD.  Among them were our own Senator Dick Durbin and Representatives Brad Schneider and Jan Schakowsky.  They lit the crowd on fire!

Then, about 150 of us marched to the Senate Hart Office Building where there is a large atrium.  We rallied in the atrium with a range of national disability advocates.  Then, we split up to focus on visiting the offices of Senators whose votes we need to pass the CRPD.  I personally visited eight of the twelve key Senate offices with support from Access Living and Progress Center team members. We found some people are still wavering, while some are resisting.

I know that advocates are working all fronts right now to get that support so Senator Tom Harkin can call for a floor vote on the CRPD.  No news yet this morning, but if we have new developments we will be sure to let you know! In the meantime, desk warriors, your support yesterday has meant so much and I need to ask you to call those offices once again today.  Below my signature is the contact info you need.  Just say, “Support the CRPD!”  Every contact counts. Let’s go Illinois!

Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Access Living

Key Senators:

Senator Flake, Arizona

Senator Isakson, Georgia

Senator Chambliss, Georgia

Senator Coats, Indiana

Senator Blunt, Missouri

Senator Cochran, Mississippi

Senator  Wicker, Mississippi

Senator Fischer, Nebraska

Senator Johanns, Nebraska

Senator Burr, North Carolina

Senator Portman, Ohio

Senator Toomey, Pennsylvania

Senator Graham,  South Carolina

Senator Scott, South Carolina

Senator Hoeven, North Dakota

Senator Hatch, Utah

(If you missed the Disability Treaty Rally that was in Washington DC on Tuesday, July 29th, you can watch videos of some of it–some labeled CRPD, some labeled NCIL–at http://bambuser.com/channel/USICD. Unfortunately no captions, but the person who did the filming attempted to keep the sign interpreter in the shot when feasible.)

REMINDER: Rally for the Disability Treaty July 29th and Call Your Senators!

Text inside circle says "We Support CRPD", text around circle says www.disabilitytreaty.org also on rim of circle are icons for sign interpreter, wheelchair, audio loop, and blind person with caneWe need you for our final push to ratify the Disability Treaty!

Tell the Senate the Time for Excuses is Over!

PLEASE Call your Senators!  And join us at a Rally for the CRPD to let the Senate know we want this brought up for a floor vote NOW! 

July 29th, 2014 at Noon
(We will gather at the NCIL rally and move to a location TBD so please join us on time!)

3rd Street NW between Pennsylvania Ave NW and Maryland Ave SW
We will be gathering at the NCIL rally, which will be in area 15 on this map: http://www.uscapitolpolice.gov/special_events/map.pdf
The nearest three Metro Stations are Judiciary Square (red line), Federal Center (blue and orange lines), and Archives (yellow and green lines)

If you’re not located in DC, you can take part by visiting your Senators’ in-state offices and expressing your support for the CRPD!

Encourage your DC-area contacts to attend the Rally! If you’re in Facebook, use the “Invite Friends” feature at https://www.facebook.com/events/675884719173229/In red text, it says Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

New to the Disability Treaty? Quick overview at http://disabilitytreaty.org/faq


Your Senators need to hear from you again that you support the CRPD! Show that the community is behind this treaty and that we want the process to KEEP MOVING FORWARD to a Floor vote!

Additionally, Senator Reid also needs to hear from us, and that we want a floor vote NOW!

Visit our citizen action portal to call your Senators http://disabilitytreaty.org!  They need to hear from our movement now or we will not succeed.

SIT student from Ghana CRPDEvery call counts–even if you’ve already called a hundred times before.  Don’t let people opposed to international cooperation outnumber us in phone calls like they did in December 2012.  We need to be louder than they are.  Tired of calling your own Senators?  Consider calling some Senators who really need to hear from CRPD advocates: www.handicap-international.us/breaking_crpd

If you can come to the rally in person tomorrow–great! I’ll see you there!  We need a large crowd to make a good impression on Senators.   If you simply cannot come in person, you can still watch it via live video streaming on the web at https://bambuser.com/channel/USCD!

Urgent Action for Disability Treaty Needed: Join July 29th Rally in DC!

If you’re in DC and care about disability rights, please join the Disability Treaty Rally this July 29th! https://www.facebook.com/events/675884719173229/ Even if you cannot attend or aren’t in DC, there are other ways you can help! CRPD graphic 0614

This could be a crucial make or break moment for the Disability Treaty (called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD). Which is why YOUR timely action is URGENT. We recently passed a major hurdle when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the CRPD out of committee. But we still need Senator Reid to schedule a full floor vote. And we need more votes to get the super-majority two-thirds vote we need to ratify the CRPD (67 out of 100 Senators).

You may know that the Disability Treaty is a major international agreement protecting the human rights of 1 billion people with disabilities around the world: 147 countries have ratified it, but the U.S. has not. Not familiar with it? Visit http://disabilitytreaty.org/ and read the CRPD 1 Pager at http://bit.ly/CRPD1Pager. Learn why more than 800 disability, veterans, faith, business, and human rights organizations support it.

Text inside circle says "We Support CRPD", text around circle says www.disabilitytreaty.org also on rim of circle are icons for sign interpreter, wheelchair, audio loop, and blind person with canePlease join the July 29 rally for the “Disability Treaty” (called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD) in Washington DC!

We will gather at 12:15 pm on Tuesday, July 29 on 3rd Street NW between Pennsylvania Avenue NW and Maryland Avenue SW. Please arrive PROMPTLY. We will go to a location to be announced.  If you cannot attend in person, you can watch via live video streaming on the web at https://bambuser.com/channel/USICD.

We also need YOU to CALL SENATORS and tell them to ratify the CRPD! And ask your friends all over USA to do the same! Find phone numbers and talking points at the Action Center at http://disabilitytreaty.org/!  Already called your own Senators and Senator Reid? Please consider also calling some key targeted SenatorsLead Disability Orgs

If desired, RSVP for the rally at https://www.facebook.com/events/675884719173229/ Even if you cannot attend, you can still help encourage your DC-area contacts to participate. If you use Facebook, go to the Facebook event page and use the “Invite Friends” feature (a little down in the right column) to invite your DC-area contacts to the Rally.

NAD Asks Deaf Community: Take Action to Support Disability Treaty NOW!

Yes, everyone should please call your Senators! The http://disabilitytreaty.org website can help you with phone numbers and a suggested script for what to say on the phone to Senators’ staff.  Yes, you can call over the weekend–voice mail messages are counted, too!  Yes, you can call the same Senators with the same messages multiple times: each call is still counted. Tired of calling your own Senators?  Consider calling the Senators listed at http://www.handicap-international.us/breaking_crpd

If you’re in DC, please come to the Disability Treaty / CRPD Rally on July 29th! Learn the details at https://www.facebook.com/events/675884719173229/. Or, even if you can’t go, please use the “Invite Friends” feature (a little down in the right column) to invite all your DC-area Facebook contacts to the Rally. Make sure everyone in DC knows this Rally is happening! People can take a long lunch break to attend!

Or if you’re new to the Disability Treaty and want to learn more about it first, try these:  http://bit.ly/CRPD1Pager, http://bit.ly/CRPDtimeline, and http://bit.ly/Deaf4CRPD.  Or, if you’re ambitious, you can read the text of what the Disability Treaty itself says (it’s long!): http://www.usicd.org/index.cfm/convention