USICD Celebrates International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Today, the global community celebrates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In the spirit of this year's theme, "Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all", the U.S. International Council on Disabilities calls on the United States Senate to support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This international disability treaty is designed to promote dignity, human rights, and inclusion for people with disabilities worldwide.
December 3rd is both #GivingTuesday and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Our community is powerful and #GivingTuesday, the national day of philanthropy, is a great time to show it through raising money and our voices. The U.S. International Council on Disabilities invites you to support our work as a leading convener and advocate for global disability issues, ideas and people. Please support our work by making a year-end contribution. Together with your support we come closer to realizing our vision! Please also encourage your friends to make a donation toUSICD.
Check out the Relaunched DisabilityTreaty.Org!
The relaunched DisabilityTreaty.Org contains a new citizen action portal to make it easier than ever for you to reach your Senator with calls, letters, e-mails, petitions and social media!
Petition with over 67,000 Signatures delivered to Senate
Second Hearing on the Disability Treaty Draws Big Crowd
On Thursday, November 21, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held the second of two hearings on the Disability Treaty, and our community turned out in great numbers again! Advocates representing the broad and diverse coalition in favor of the treaty were present at the hearing to show their support.
Thank you! Your Energy Has Brought the Treaty This Far!
A highlight of the event was the delivery to the committee of a petition with over 67,000 signatures from across the country calling for ratification. This number continues to grow, add your name at www.disabilitytreaty.org.
Marca Bristo, President of the US International Council on Disabilities, was energized by the turnout at the second hearing and encouraged by the substantive discussion of the treaty. Ms. Bristo remarked, "I'm thrilled and gratified that we have had such a robust turnout for this hearing. Those present today represented the strength, diversity, and commitment of our community. Our coalition reflects America and the millions of Americans with disabilities, professionals, veterans, and religious and civil rights organizations who both need and want the Disability Treaty to be ratified. I would like to thank Secretary Kerry and Chairman Menendez for their continued leadership and support on this crucial treaty."
All of those present voiced the hope felt by many in the disability, civil rights, veteran, business, and faith communities that the U.S. Senate would take this rare second chance to do the right thing and vote to ratify the treaty. Witnesses speaking on behalf of the treaty included Secretary of State John Kerry, Frances W. West, Worldwide Director of IBM's Human Ability and Accessibility Center, and C. Boyden Gray, attorney and former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.
Secretary of State John Kerry said, "I still believe what I believed the first time - that ratification of the Disabilities Treaty will advance core American values, expand opportunities for our citizens and businesses, and strengthen American leadership. And I am still convinced that we give up nothing by joining but get everything in return. Our ratification doesn't require a single change to American law, and it won't add a penny to our budget. But it will provide the hook we need to push other countries to raise their laws and standards for the protection of people with disabilities to the standard we set at home under President George H.W. Bush and Republican Leader Dole when we passed the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Frances W. West, Worldwide Director of IBM's Human Ability and Accessibility Center, said "As with many other societal issues, the U.S. has served as a model for the rest of the world. Ratifying the CRPD is the next logical step in our journey towards full societal inclusion of Americans with disabilities. It will also preserve our leadership role in promoting the rights and employment of persons with disabilities worldwide, and create new global market opportunities for U.S. businesses."
C. Boyden Gray, attorney and former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union said, "The concepts and principles that were developed during the Reagan Administration and then codified in the ADA during the Bush 41 Administration are now at the heart of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The U.S. delegation that worked at the UN during the Administration of President George W. Bush made sure that the new Disabilities Treaty followed the time-tested approaches of American disability law. The Disabilities Treaty is the next logical step after the ADA."
USICD will be back in touch with updates as soon as we have them. In the meantime, please keep sending friends and family to www.disabilitytreaty.org
and using Twitter to keep the momentum!
Summer 2014 Youth in Development (YiD) Internship Program Open for Applications!
Graduate students, recent graduates, and rising seniors or juniors in college may now apply for the Summer 2014 Youth in Development (YiD) Internship Program! This internship program is geared for youth with disabilities from across the United States who are committed to pursuing careers in international development or international affairs. Applications are being accepted from now through January 29, 2014. Read more about the YiD internship program and how to apply here!
U.S. State Department Holds Virtual Town Hall on Disability Treaty
Co-Anchor and Managing Editor of PBS NewsHour Judy Woodruff hosts a discussion with Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith Heumann and the Honorable Patrick Murphy about the Disabilities Treaty and its connection to people with disabilities at home and abroad at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on November 19, 2013.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Holds Hearing on Disability Treaty 5th!
On Tuesday, November 5, 2013, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held the first of two hearings on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international disability treaty that was inspired by U.S. leadership in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities worldwide
Activists representing the broad coalition in favor of the treaty were present at the hearing to show their support. In addition to filling up the hearing room with supporters of the treaty, advocates also filled two additional overflow rooms.
To see a video of the whole hearing, click HERE.
Marca Bristo, President of the US International Council on Disabilities was energized by the turnout at the hearing and encouraged by the substantive discussion of the treaty. Ms. Bristo remarked, “I’m thrilled and gratified that we have had such a robust turnout for the first hearing. Those present today represented the strength, diversity, and commitment of our community. Our coalition reflects America and the millions of Americans with disabilities, professionals, veterans, and religious and civil rights organizations who both need and want the Disability Treaty to be ratified."
Senator Mark Kirk said, “America must remain the voice for the voiceless – the leader to end disability-based discrimination and exclusion throughout the world…”
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth said, “When Veterans travel abroad, we are often jolted by leaving a country that does everything in its power to support our Wounded Warriors. We often travel to places that have no idea how to accommodate someone with an artificial limb, guide stick, or wheelchair. We Wounded Warriors have done our job serving our country. Many of us sacrificed a great deal in doing so...”
Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh said, “Fortunately, the Disabilities Convention is an embodiment of the nondiscrimination principles developed in the United States…”
David Morrissey Speaking at the Dole Institute of Politics
On October 22, 2013, USICD Executive Director David Morrissey spoke on the evolution of the disability rights movement and the push for ratification of the CRPD by the U.S. Senate that Senator Dole has worked so tirelessly to support. PLAY VIDEO
NCD & USICD Educational Forum on the CRPD
On September 17, USICD and NCD brought together targetted community leaders from around the country and Washington D.C to learn about the U.S. ratification process as it pertains to the CRPD and share strategies for working within their communities. The Honorable Tony Coelho and NCD Chair jeff Rosen kicked off the meeting with rousing words of introduction followed by an overview of the treaty led by USICD's David Morrissey and Esme Grant. Next, Judy Heumann of the State Department, DOJ's Eve Hill and John Wodatch gave an update of current ratification status. After a short break, Heather Ansley from VetsFirst, Tom Zampieri from Blind Veterans of America, Eric Rosenthal of Disability Rights International, Susan Mazrui from AT&T Services, Inc, Ellen Buchman from the Leadership Conference, and David Feinman of the Jewish Federations of North America shared why ratification was inportant from their varying perspectives and what their organizations were doing to support the effort. After a brief discussion among participants of srtategy, a video message from Secretary of State John Kerry was played once again rallying all to action. Thank you to all who were aboe to attend. If you are looking for ways to get involved in the ratification process, may we suggest:
- Add your voice by joining the Handicap International petition!
- Visit our new website dedicated to the CRPD: www.disabilitytreaty.org. You can find one pagers, myth/facts, and access a new community webinar.
- Two Facebook pages to “Like” to get ongoing information on the disability treaty: USICD and RatifyCRPD.
- If your organization has not yet joined the list of almost 700 organizations supporting the CRPD, you can add your organization here.
- TWEET! You can follow USICD at @USICD, as well as follow NCD at @NatCounDis. You can also join the conversation on Twitter by following #iSupportCRPD and tweeting to Senator Corker at @SenBobCorker and Senator Menendez at @SenatorMenendez
International Week of the Deaf and CRPD
Deaf people around the world will soon celebrate the International Week of the Deaf from September 23 to 27 this month. To see an ASL video and learn more about how you can get involved, CLICK HERE
USICD Applauds American Legion Vote to Support Disability Treaty
This morning, the American Legion voted to officially voice their support for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international treaty designed to embrace the rights and dignity of all people with disabilities by creating legislation and policies around the world modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In supporting the treaty, the American Legion joined over 20 of the top veterans’ service organizations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and Wounded Warrior Project, as well as a bipartisan group of prominent veterans, such as Senator John McCain, former Senator, Secretary John Kerry, former Senator Bob Dole, and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, all of whom have voiced support for U.S. ratification of the treaty.
Marca Bristo, President of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities, said, “We are thrilled to see that the American Legion has joined us in supporting this crucial treaty. The CRPD promotes the empowerment of the 5.5 million American veterans living with disabilities. It would remove barriers and allow American servicemembers and veterans with disabilities to work, serve, study, and live abroad, and provide them the opportunity to achieve independent living and inclusion into all aspects of society. We applaud the American Legion for formally recognizing the value of this treaty in supporting our veterans both at home and abroad, and in helping to export U.S. leadership in promoting human rights and dignity around the world.”
Join USICD in 2013
The year ahead promises to be an important time in international disability rights. There are 128 ratifications of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilites and the USICD community is committed to seeing the U.S. become the 129th!
USICD has entered 2013 with a vision for serving our community and the global disability rights movement. We have a renewed vigor to continue our ratification effort and are introducing a new initiative to get youth involved in international disability rights. We look forward to a big year, and hope that you will be a part of it!
Visit our membership page to read more about membership in USICD and to download a member information form. If you or your organization are already a member, now is the time to renew. If you've never been a member before, now is the time to join!
From the Archive: United States signs the CRPD
July 24, 2009, President Barack Obama signs the order for the United States to become a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the East Room of the White House. Read USICD's media release about this event here. Photo Courtesy Rehabilitation International.