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
202-224-4521
colleen_donnelly@flake.senate.gov

Senator Isakson, Georgia
202-224-3643
chris_sullivan@isakson.senate.gov

Senator Chambliss, Georgia
202-224-3521
Brandon_bell@chambliss.senate.gov

Senator Coats, Indiana
202-224-5623
terry_snell@coats.senate.gov

Senator Blunt, Missouri
202-224-5721
lauren_mccormack@blunt.senate.gov

Senator Cochran, Mississippi
202-224-5054
tim_wolverton@cochran.senate.gov

Senator  Wicker, Mississippi
202-224-6253
bevin_wilkinson@wicker.senate.gov

Senator Fischer, Nebraska
202-224-6551
peter_schirtzinger@fischer.senate.gov

Senator Johanns, Nebraska
202-224-4224
leslie_campbell@johanns.senate.gov

Senator Burr, North Carolina
202-224-3154
Cynthia_ramos@burr.senate.gov

Senator Portman, Ohio
202-224-3353
tyler_brace@portman.senate.gov

Senator Toomey, Pennsylvania
202-224-4254
dan_adelstein@toomey.senate.gov

Senator Graham,  South Carolina
202-224-5972
matt_rimkunas@lgraham.senate.gov

Senator Scott, South Carolina
202-224-6121
spencer_pederson@scott.senate.gov

Senator Hoeven, North Dakota
202-224-2551
josh_carter@hoeven.senate.gov

Senator Hatch, Utah
202-224-5251
tom_jipping@hatch.senate.gov

(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! 

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

Where:
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

Join the July 29th Rally for the Disability Treaty in Washington DC!

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 are experiencing, right now, a make or break moment for ratifying the Disability Treaty.  On one hand, we are now closer to ratifying the Disability Treaty than we have been since 2012! But on the other we could still miss it—unless we have YOUR help in taking action!  We urgently need your involvement to give this treaty one big final push.

You may know that the Disability Treaty is a crucial 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?  Read a handout on the CRPD at http://bit.ly/CRPD1Pager, click here for more resources on the CRPD, or read the text of the Disability Treaty itself.  Learn why more than 800 disability, veterans, faith, business, and human rights organizations support it.

Please join the July 29 rally for the “Disability Treaty” (called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD) in Washington DC!  RSVP for the march and invite your friends via https://www.facebook.com/events/675884719173229/

The rally will gather at 12:15 pm on Tuesday, July 29 on 3rd Street NW between Pennsylvania Avenue NW and Maryland Avenue SW.CRPD graphic 0614  Please arrive PROMPTLY.

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/!  Finished calling your own Senators?  Ready for more phone calls? Consider calling some of our targeted Senators!

 

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, http://disabilitytreaty.org). 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 http://www.harkin.senate.gov/help/crpdstories.cfm
  • 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 http://disabilitytreaty.org.

CRPD graphic 0614

The Disability Treaty: Why Should the US Ratify?

CRPD One Pager 2013CRPD One Pager 2013 2nd

For people who cannot see the images above, I am copy/pasting the text from this two-page flyer on why the U.S. should ratify the Disability Treaty further below. (Or, if you are sighted, click on each image to see it in a larger size.) You also can download the flyer in accessible PDF format.  Let me know at ashettle@patriot.net if you are still having difficulty with accessibility.  The Disability Treaty is more formally known as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Ready to take action? There are two petitions for US citizens to sign, one petition by Handicap International and the other petition at Capwiz.  But if you have a few more minutes, then please don’t stop there.  Learn more about what the Disability Treaty is, why the US should ratify, and how to take action at these  websites:

  • http://disabilitytreaty.org: The official CRPD (Disability treaty) website from the U.S. International Council on Disabilities
  • http://bit.ly/Resources4CRPD:  More resources on the CRPD, how to ask Senators to support U.S. ratification of the treaty, and other ways to take action
  • CRPD Updates for action alerts and other news on the Disability Treaty. You also can sign up for USICD’s action alert mailing list here.
  • “Like” the Ratify CRPD Facebook page. Grassroots CRPD advocates across the country are using this Facebook page to exchange ideas for different ways to take action.

Text from “The Disability Treaty” flyer below:

THE DISABILITY TREATY

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international disability treaty that was inspired by U.S. leadership in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities. The CRPD is a vital framework for creating legislation and policies around the world that embrace the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was the model for the CRPD, which values of independence and respect and concept of reasonable accommodation are echoed throughout the treaty.

The United States signed the CRPD in 2009. On December 4, 2012 the United States Senate considered the ratification of the CRPD but fell 5 votes short of the super-majority vote required. The media coverage of the Senate’s failure to ratify the disability treaty has been overwhelming and the CRPD’s Senate leaders remain committed to bringing the disability treaty up in the 113th Congress.

Why should the U.S. ratify the CRPD when we have the ADA?

Ratification of the CRPD Exports U.S. Leadership ● A broad coalition of over 600 U.S. disability, civil rights, faith, business, and veteran organizations support the U.S. ratification of the CRPD holding that American leadership in this arena is critical to the ultimate success of the treaty. ● Ratification is critical to maintaining our leadership role and to eliminating disability discrimination throughout the world and gives the U.S. legitimacy to export the model of the ADA to other countries. ● The absence of U.S. leadership in the CRPD and its Committee of experts matters.

Ratification provides the U.S. an opportunity to play an important and expansive role in the development of disability rights around the world without having to change any U.S. laws or add additional costs to its budget.

VSOs Strongly Support CRPD to Expand Opportunities for Veterans

● Major veteran service organizations, representing veterans of every generation, support ratification of the CRPD. These groups recognize that our 5.5 million American veterans with disabilities will have greater opportunities to work, study, and travel abroad as countries implement the CRPD with leadership from the U.S.

● Military families support the CRPD as well. As one CRPD advocate described, having a disability prevented her husband from being able to serve overseas due to the lack of accessibility for her abroad. “Others had the opportunity to transfer overseas. Because of my disability, that was not an option.”

U.S. Business Supports Ratification of the CRPD to Benefit Business

● The Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Business Leadership Network, and the Information Technology Industry Council support U.S. ratification of the CRPD because it benefits business. ● Many accessible products are engineered, manufactured, or sold by U.S. corporations that can meet the new demands for the world’s population of 1 billion people with disabilities. As one business expressed at a Senate briefing by IBM, Adobe, and other key business

leaders, “Investment follows opportunity. And to the extent we can make these technologies available on a worldwide basis, that’s a bigger market and more opportunity for companies to deliver their products into the world.”

Photo of ADA leader Justin Dart’s hat in his honor at CRPD Senate hearing

Photo of Attendee uses U.S. innovation to participate in CRPD briefing by American business leaders

Photo of VSO Press Conference on CRPD

CRPD Ratification Improves Global Accessibity

● 4 out of 10 American travelers are estimated to be people with disabilities and their companions yet they still face constant barriers and discrimination abroad. ● Students with disabilities represent less than 4% of students that choose to travel abroad.

● Not ratifying the disability treaty is hindering the United States’ ability to provide expertise to many countries seeking to bring their standards of access for persons with disabilities up to those of the United States, which directly affects Americans with disabilities living, working, and traveling abroad.

● By ratifying the CRPD, the U.S. will offer decades of honed technical expertise to reduce barriers globally and ensure that Americans who travel and study abroad have the same access they enjoy here.

CRPD Ratification Ensures Humane and Moral Treatment

● Without laws like the ADA abroad, millions of children and adults are housed in institutions without enrichment of a family life, community resources, or access to the most basic civil rights like a birth certificate or even a name. Until it ratifies the CRPD, the U.S. is a bystander on these critical matters.

● The reason U.S. persuasion, moral authority, and leadership can have such an impact on other countries through the CRPD is because of the stark

discrimination that still exists in many parts of the world. ● U.S. leadership in fighting against discrimination against persons with disabilities such as infanticide and forced exclusion – and teaching about our example of an inclusive society – can make an immense difference.

U.S Ratification of the CRPD Has Strong Bipartisan Support

● Republican leaders of disability legislation support ratification of the CRPD including former President George H.W. Bush, former Senator Bob Dole, former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray.

● Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Barrasso (R-WY) led the treaty ratification effort with Senators Kerry (D-MA), Durbin (D-IL), and Harkin (D-IA) in the 112th Congress under shared values of independence, respect, and dignity for all people with disabilities. This bipartisanship leadership for the CRPD continues in the 113th Congress, beginning in January 2013.

QUICK STATS ABOUT THE WORLD’S LARGEST MINORITY 57.8 million Americans have one or more disabilities  5.5 million American veterans are people with disabilities  1 billion people with disabilities around the world

80% of people with disabilities live in developing countries  1 in 4 of today’s 20 year olds will be disabled before they retire  80% of people with disabilities live in isolated rural areas

United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD)

1012 14th Street, NW, Suite 105, Washington, D.C. 20005 Telephone: 202-347-0102 Fax: 202-347-0351 www.usicd.org 

Photo of woman in wheelchair at Dar es Salaam Airport

Photos: Child and teenager with disabilities institutionalized abroad, Courtesy of Disability Rights International

Photo of Advocates for CRPD rally on Capitol Hill for bipartisan support