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  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

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 Unfortunately no captions, but the person who did the filming attempted to keep the sign interpreter in the shot when feasible.)

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! 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 and read the CRPD 1 Pager at 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 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

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!  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 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 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

If you’re in DC, please come to the Disability Treaty / CRPD Rally on July 29th! Learn the details at 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:,, and  Or, if you’re ambitious, you can read the text of what the Disability Treaty itself says (it’s long!):

ALERT: Disability Treaty is Moving Again! We Need More of YOUR Phone Calls to Senators

Edited (July 24, 2014) to add this paragraph: The Disability Treaty has passed a major hurdle that we have been working toward during more than 18 months of sustained campaigning!  The treaty (called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD) has been passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This means we are a major step closer to ratification–but we’re not there yet.  We still need your help calling Senators to ask them to ratify.  The Action Center at can help you with phone numbers and a script for talking with your Senators’ staff.  With the Disability Treaty passed out of committee, Senator Reid could schedule a Senate floor vote at any time.  Things may move VERY QUICKLY from here on out.  Although I try to post alerts here when I am able, sometimes there is simply too much to do.  The best way to ensure you don’t miss any important opportunities to take action is to subscribe to the CRPD Action Alert mailing list at

The text of the original blog post (posted on July 18) follows below:

Thank you to everyone who called their Senators this month and expressed support for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)! Based on your incredible show of support, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Menendez has scheduled a mark-up hearing on July 22nd! (Senators will propose and vote on Amendments for the CRPD, then vote it out of Committee).

We need your help! It is critical! We cannot stop now: The world is watching!

Your Senators need to hear again from you and know that you support the CRPD! Show the community is behind this treaty and that we want the process to keep moving forward to a Floor vote!

Visit our citizen action portal,www.disabilitytreaty.orgto find yourSenators information and CALL them! They need to see that we want this NOW or we will not succeed.

For examples on contacting your Senator through Twitter follow @Ashettle and @USICD and @AdvocatEquality.

You can make the CRPD Sticker your Facebook profile picture to encourage support by your friends Text inside circle says "We Support CRPD", text around circle says also on rim of circle are icons for sign interpreter, wheelchair, audio loop, and blind person with caneand family

​ Or, find more stickers at!

If you would like to the join the next National Youth and Campus leaders call, please contact Andrea Shettle at

YOUR International Travel Stories Could Help Global Disability Rights

CRPD_StickerAre you a person with a disability? Have you traveled or lived in a country other than the U.S.? Have you faced accessibility barriers or disability-based discrimination while in another country? Or, have you ever been unable to participate in an international exchange program because of accessibility barriers abroad?

YOUR story could help the U.S. ratify the “Disability Treaty”, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, This is an important international agreement to honor the civil rights of people with disabilities: 147 countries have ratified it, but the U.S. has not.

  • Please take a few minutes to think of one specific incident in which you experienced problems in another country because of your disability.
  • OR, think about a time you couldn’t participate in an international exchange program or other international trip because of disability discrimination abroad.
  • Please write a few sentences about this one specific incident. Then, submit your story via the web at
  • You may have experienced problems on many occasions in another country. But we are asking you to choose ONE incident to describe.
  • Please submit multiple stories if you are able! We ask that each story describe a separate, single incident. 

Your story could be used to educate U.S. Senators about why 1 billion people with disabilities around the world need them to ratify the Disability Treaty (CRPD).  Learn more about the campaign for U.S. ratification of the CRPD at

CRPD graphic 0614

National Disability Treaty Teleconference Call, Wed Feb 26th!

We Support CRPD logoAre you angry to know that the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been sitting on an important international human rights treaty that upholds the rights of people with disabilities? Want to help? Or thinking about it? Please join the next national teleconference phone call for youth, student, and other campus leaders who support the Disability Treaty this Wednesday, February 26th! Learn what other advocates have been doing to support the national movement for U.S. ratification of the Disability Treaty, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Start thinking about ways that YOU can help.

You may recall that the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) recently put out a call for volunteers among students and other advocates at U.S. colleges and universities. This could be YOU! We need YOUR energy, idealism, and passion to help the U.S. Senate ratify the Disability Treaty! You can start learning about the treaty at, then learn more at

The February 26th national phone call will be at 4pm EST (3pm Central Time, 1pm Pacific Time). Please contact Andrea Shettle at to learn how to dial into the call or connect to the on-line CART service (live transcription of the call). Even if you cannot join this call, please still contact me to receive materials that can help you think about ways to support the national movement. Join forces with more than 800 U.S.-based organizations and many individual advocates that have been asking U.S. Senators to ratify the Disability treaty! Together, we have POWER!

Subsequent calls will be on the following dates:

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)

Don’t Let the Opponents Win Again! Support the Disability Treaty

Don’t Let the Opponents Win Again! Support the Disability Treaty

People opposed to international treaties defeated US disability rights advocates last year.  We cannot let them win again!  We need to defend international disability rights by supporting US ratification of the CRPD.  Learn more how the opponents won last year and how the disability community can defeat them this year:

Supporting US Ratification of the #CRPD Disability Treaty!

CRPD_StickerIf you care about social justice, equality, and human rights for all people … if you are an American with a disability, or an American veteran, or someone who loves a person who is … then please take action in the campaign for US ratification of the disability treaty.  Ask your US senators to vote YES to ratify the CRPD Disability Treaty in 2013.

This may sound like something that shouldn’t need your help.  Because, who would be against people with disabilities? But we lost our first attempt to get the CRPD ratified in the US in December 2012 due to a campaign of mis-information from opponents. We cannot allow this to happen again. The disability, veterans, faith, and social justice communities are trying again in 2013.  More than 500 organizations across the US are working hard on this.  But we need your help in talking with your senators to make it happen.

The slide show below gives a brief overview of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, also known as the “disability treaty”).  It covers:

  • What the CRPD is,
  • Why it matters to people with disabilities around the world,
  • Why US ratification is important even though we already have the Americans with Disabilities Act, and
  • Simple actions that people can take to help.

Also visit a great website with extensive materials on the CRPD disability treaty, the campaign for US ratification, and resources for advocates at

If you have 48 minutes to spare, watch this great new webinar video on the CRPD and the history of the campaign for US ratification at Yes, it has captions for deaf and hard of hearing people (and others who need them).

Lead Disability OrgsRebecca Berman AAPD's CRPD Yes! Pix Dec 3

Five Ways to Support the US #CRPD Ratification Campaign!

I have been deaf since birth.  And, though I didn’t know it until I was in graduate school, I also always have had attention deficit disorder. So I have confronted various forms of disablism/ablism all my life.  (The variant of disablism visited upon deaf people is often called “audism”, by the way.)  And I’m passionate about seeing disablism/ablism be defeated in every country on Earth.  Which we can’t do, at least not effectively, without the right tools. This is why I become frustrated when I meet fellow advocates fighting for disability rights who don’t know much about the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  

I absolutely love the annual May 1 Blogging Against Disablism Day (BADD) event.  But I also get frustrated when once again another year goes by with very few (if any) contributing BADD bloggers even mentioning the CRPD in relation to disablism.

The CRPD is an international treaty written to protect the human rights of people with disabilities.  Many elements of the CRPD was inspired in part by US disability civil rights legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In just six years, 130 133 countries have ratified it. And in these countries, advocates have slowly begun to use the CRPD to support arguments for reforming laws to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are better protected. And governments have been slowly starting to listen.

Also importantly, ratifying the CRPD gives a country the right to send representatives to high-level meetings among countries in which people discuss the best practices for CRPD implementation.  These meetings are a critical vehicle for disseminating ideas and influencing other countries to consider ways to improve their practices in defending the rights of people with disabilities.  But because the United States has only signed, and not yet ratified, the CRPD, we in the US have effectively excluded ourselves from that conversation.  Although the US does still have some influence (after all, we passed the world’s first civil rights legislation protecting people with disabilities), our inability to join these high-level conversations as a fellow ratifying country does limit our opportunities for disseminating ideas to people in other countries in a position to do something about them.

The US disability community, Americans veterans community, various faith communities, parents and families of people with disabilities, and other allies have been advocating for the US to ratify the CRPD.  We failed our first attempt in 2012.  But keep watching for the next attempt!  In the meantime, if you are a US citizen, consider these ideas for how you can support the campaign for US ratification of the CRPD!

1. Educate yourself about the CRPD!

2. Talk to Senators!

  • Visit or download this Word file: Senate Contact List.  Find the website for each of your two senators. Email them, call them, tweet them, visit their offices, or leave messages at their Facebook page!  In twitter, use the hashtag #CRPD.
  • Your message for senators: “Please ratify the CRPD in 2013! This is an important issue for the disability & veterans community!”  If desired, say what your connection to the disability or veterans community is.

3. Lend your Face!

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 Friends and Family!

  • Educate friends and family about the CRPD.  Ask them to call, email, or tweet  senators–and contribute pictures!
  • Retweet @USICD , @WeCanDoThis13, @AShettle and many other active CRPD tweeters oten.  “Share” the USICD Facebook page .

5. What Can YOUR Organization Do?

This blog post is offered as a contribution to the 2013 Blogging Against Disablism Day (BADD) event. This is an annual blogging activity, held each year on May 1, in which more than a hundred bloggers contribute blog posts on disablism.  Follow the link to discover many other contributions from this year.