Join the Thunder for the “Disability Treaty” (#CRPD)!

Help bring attention to the “Disability Treaty” (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD)!  We need the U.S. to ratify this important international human rights treaty protecting the civil rights of 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide.  Sign up your Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr account NOW to join the next “Thunder Clap It” for the CRPD at !

What’s A “Thunder Clap It”?

A “Thunder Clap It” is when 100 or more people sign on their Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr account to all send out the same message at the same time to all their followers.  To participate, you need to sign up in advance.  The next CRPD “Thunder Clap It” will be at 2pm EST on June 10, 2014 (1pm Central Time, 11am Pacific Time).  Sign up BEFORE this time or you will miss the Thunder Clap.

How Do I Sign Up?

  • Go to this link:
  • A message will ask you to share a message to support the #CRPD.
  • You will find three buttons—one each for Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.  You need to have an account in at least one of these three in order to participate.
  • Click on whichever button is appropriate.  You will have an opportunity to personalize your message to your followers.
  • Hit the “Add My Support” button.
  • If you have successfully signed up, then you should appear at the top of the list of “Recent Supporters” in the right hand side bar.  Refresh the page if needed.

What Else?

Learn more about the CRPD and other ways to help at  Sign up for the CRPD “action alert” mailing list at the link!  Ask your friends to do the same!

Call for Volunteers for Disability Human Rights Campaign

Dear Prospective Volunteers and Human Disability Rights Advocates:

Did you know that the United States has been missing out on an important opportunity to support human rights for one billion people with disabilities around the world?

The first international human rights treaty to address people with disabilities is trapped in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  This “Disability Treaty”, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), has been ratified by 141 other countries.  But the United States hasn’t joined them.  And we cannot join them until the Foreign Relations Committee takes action on the Disability Treaty.

We need volunteers like YOU to be involved in the national movement for U.S. ratification of the CRPD.  You can learn more about the treaty at

 How can I help?

The easiest way to start is by visiting  Learn more about what the “Disability Treaty” is and why it matters.  Use the action center to guide you through your first phone calls or emails to key Senators.  Ask them to re-start the negotiation process on the CRPD and move the treaty toward ratification.

We are seeking YOUR STORY to put a FACE to CRPD ratification efforts.  Have you tried to travel abroad for study, work, or recreation and had disability-related challenges?  Please contact Rhonda Neuhaus at or share at

If you’re ready to do more, you can reach out to Andrea Shettle at  She can send you a packet with more information on how to get started, including dial-in and CART instructions for how you can join the next national teleconference call for students and other campus leaders.  These regular calls include updates on the national movement for CRPD ratification and enable participants to exchange ideas for taking action.

Save these dates on your calendar for upcoming national calls:

  • Wednesday, February 26, 2014, at 4 pm EST (3pm Central time, 1 pm Pacific time)
  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at 4 pm EST (3pm Central time, 1pm Pacific time)
  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at 4 pm EST (3pm Central time, 1pm Pacific time)

Petitions to Support the International Disability Rights Treaty!

Support global disability rights!  Sign and disseminate the petitions for the Disability Treaty!  Youth and students at!  People of all ages at!

One billion people with disabilities around the world confront discrimination at every turn.  Society excludes them from education, employment, basic health care services, travel and transportation, and even the opportunity to live with their own families in the community.

The “Disability Treaty”, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), is the first international human rights treaty to address these inequities.  So far, 141 countries have ratified it.  And these countries are slowly starting to revise their laws to be more consistent with the intent and spirit of the Disability Treaty.

But the United States is behind.  We have not yet ratified the CRPD.  Instead, this important treaty is stuck in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Please help fix that!  Tell Senators you want them to return to negotiations and move the CRPD toward ratification!

Please sign and disseminate the petitions:

Want to do more?  Educate yourself about the treaty and use the action center at

Are you at a U.S. college or university?  Want to help mobilize other people at your U.S. college or university to take action on the CRPD?  Please communicate with Andrea Shettle at about how to get involved!  Tell her you saw this via the Rambling Justice blog.


Attention Disability Rights Treaty Supporters: Two National Teleconference Calls Tomorrow, January 28th!

ear disability rights advocates:

This announcement is a friendly reminder that tomorrow, Tuesday, January 28th, is an important day for people across the country who want the U.S. to ratify the “Disability Treaty”—Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)!  Tomorrow, two separate national teleconference phone calls for CRPD supporters are being offered.  I encourage you to attend both if you are able.  These calls will complement and build upon each other and both may be helpful to you as you consider ways to mobilize YOUR school / campus community in support of CRPD ratification.

  1. The first call is for ALL people in the U.S. who want the U.S. Senate to ratify the Disability Treaty (CRPD)!  This call will be a rallying call to discuss a wider national strategy for calling Senators back to the negotiation table so we can move forward toward ratification.  There will be hundreds from around the country on the call.  Speakers will include national leaders in the CRPD ratification movement. This call is at 1 pm EST (Noon Central Time, 10am Pacific Time).  Click here to RSVP for the general CRPD call.  People who RSVP for this call will receive instructions for dialing into the call and/or connecting to the online CART service (live transcription of the call).
  2. The second call is targeted for YOU, university students and other university personnel who want to help mobilize their campus community in support of the Disability Treaty (CRPD).  This will have a smaller group of participants with more opportunity to exchange concrete ideas for taking action at your campus. Much of the information from the earlier call may not be repeated. The student/campus leader call is at 4 pm EST (3 pm Central Time, 1pm Pacific Time).  This call will be facilitated by Rhonda Neuhaus from the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF).  She will be joined by Andrea Shettle at the U.S. International Council on Disabilities.  Please contact Andrea Shettle at to join this call.  If this email was forwarded to you by someone else, then please also contact to be put on our mailing list to be notified of future calls for student and other campus leaders who support the Disability Treaty.

Other quick announcements:

  • Please sign and disseminate the youth and student CRPD petition at!  Show U.S. Senators that youth under age 30, and students of all ages, want the U.S. to ratify the Disability Treaty!
  • Learn more about the disability treaty, why more than 800 U.S. disability, veterans, human rights, and other organizations want the U.S. to ratify it, and how it will help 1 billion people with disabilities around the world at
  • Are you a student or recent graduate with disabilities who aspires to a career in the international development or international affairs field?  A U.S. citizen?  Please consider applying to join the Youth International Development and Affairs (YIDA) internship program.  The YIDA program will bring a small group of talented interns to Washington DC during the summer of 2014 to complete internships at various international organizations in the DC area.  The application deadline is this Wednesday, January 29th!  Learn more about the program and how to apply at

Senator Corker Gives Disability Community Coal for Christmas

Senator Corker Gives Disability Community Coal for Christmas

Today Senator Corker walked away from the negotiations on the Disability Treaty!
He caved to the extreme far right and abdicated his leadership on this bipartisan issue.

It is time to hold him responsible!

Join this Call to ACTION!

Let Senator Corker know that we won’t be cast aside like second class citizens. Don’t let him continue to hide behind false constitutional arguments! Hold him responsible for carrying the water for the far rights myths, lies and exaggerations. Call his DC and Tennessee Senate offices!

Let him know that we will NOT go away!

You can contact Senator Corker at:
or find his Tennessee office numbers here.

White-rimmed red Christmas stocking filled with black coal

Shame on Senator Bob Corker for turning his back on the global disability community! Send him this picture of a coal-filled Christmas stocking!

Send this picture to Senator Corker’s staff here with the message “Restart the negotiations!”

Forward this message onto your lists of friends and colleagues so they can join us in sending a message to Senator Corker that we are HERE and that our voice MATTERS!


For Immediate Release:
December 20, 2013

Contact: Kevin Locke, U.S. International Council on Disabilities, (202) 347-0102

Senator Corker’s Christmas Gift to One Billion People with Disabilities: A Big Lump of Coal

Before heading home to spend the holidays with his family, Senator Bob Corker sent a message to the 57.8 million Americans with disabilities, 5.5 million disabled American veterans, and one billion people worldwide with disabilities: appeasing the far-right wing of his caucus is more important than supporting their rights and dignity by supporting the Disability Treaty.

Inspired by U.S. leadership in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities, the Disability Treaty is designed to be a framework for creating laws and policies throughout the world that support the rights and dignity of the billion people worldwide living with disabilities. Ratification of the treaty is supported by a strong and diverse coalition of over 800 disability organizations, veterans groups, business groups, and faith organizations, as well over one thousand Tennesseans who recently signed a petition calling on the Senate to ratify the treaty as soon as possible.

Marca Bristo, President of the US International Council on Disabilities expressed disappointment with Senator Corker’s decision not to support the treaty: “I am shocked and dismayed that Senator Corker would abruptly cut off negotiations surrounding this crucial treaty and fail to support it. Doing so is a betrayal of the millions of Americans with disabilities, professionals, people of faith, and veterans who both need and want the Disability Treaty to be ratified. Our community is strong and committed, and we will continue to press forward in our work to support this treaty.”

Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, added, “By caving to the most extreme isolationists in our nation, Senator Corker has undermined the United States’ reputation as a beacon of freedom for the world. The U.S. is a model for the advancement of transparency and human rights for all, and today’s statement by Senator Corker puts that status in considerable jeopardy. Conspiracy theories about how the CRPD would undermine American sovereignty are not based in reality, but only in the rhetoric of those who wish to fear monger and build walls between us and the rest of the world. We strongly urge Senator Corker to join the mainstream and to honor the dignity of all Americans by reconsidering this position.”

Heather Ansley, Vice President of VetsFirst, said, “Despite assertions to the contrary, ratification of the CRPD will not endanger U.S. sovereignty. We must not let misinformation limit equal opportunities for veterans and all people living with disabilities. By failing to support CRPD, Senator Corker is failing to support the millions of disabled American veterans who fought bravely in service of this country and its Constitution. To use that very Constitution as a reason not to support the treaty is a betrayal of their service.”


Acting Assistant Secretary Zeya Delivers a Video Message on the Disabilities Treaty

This captioned 6-minute video from the U.S. Department of State explains why they are working to support U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). For more information on the Disability Treaty, visit The website at this link also has a great Action Center that makes it easy to call or email Senators to ask their support for the CRPD: it does everything except dial the phone for you! Youth under 30 and students of all ages can sign a CRPD support petition at

Reminder: Dec. 18 teleconference call for students/campus leaders

This post is a friendly reminder that students and other campus advocates are invited to participate in a national meeting via teleconference phone call this December 18. 
  • During this call, we will share updates on the Disability Treaty campaign.  Participants can also exchange ideas on how to keep the effort going during winter break!
  • This call will be facilitated by Rhonda Neuhaus, who represents the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF).  Joining her will be Andrea Shettle at the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD).
  • These calls are for students and others at U.S. universities and colleges who want to help mobilize their campus community to take action in support of the Disability Treaty!

When is the Next Call?

  • The next call will be on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, at 4 pm EST (3 pm Central Time, 1 pm Pacific Time). 
  • Another call will be held on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, at 4 pm EST (3 pm Central Time, 1 pm Pacific Time.)
  • Need the dial-in information for these calls?  Please contact Andrea Shettle at ashettle@usicd.orgCan’t join the December call? Ask me for a summary.
  • Deaf participants usually use video relay service to join these calls.  But please alert me if you will need other accommodations such as CART.

Who Are We?USICD and DREDF are two of the lead organizations in the national movement for US ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, aka “Disability Treaty”).  We are in a coalition of more than 800 disability, veterans, faith, business, and civil rights organizations who share the same goal of CRPD ratification in the U.S.  Please join this exciting and historic grassroots movement!

What Else?

  • Also, find information and materials on the Disability Treaty at  The Action Center at this website makes it easier to call or email Senators.

In Addendum …P.S. In addition to leading the national effort for U.S. ratification of the CRPD, USICD also coordinates an internship program for students and recent graduates with disabilities who aspire to careers in international development or international affairs.  We are now accepting applications for the Youth in International Development and Affairs (YIDA) internship program until January 29, 2014.  Learn more about this program and how to apply at