Author’s Note: The following post is slightly adapted from a note I posted in Facebook.
One billion people with disabilities live on Earth–and 54 million of us live in the United States. But throughout history, people with disabilities have often met profound challenges including the high risk of poverty, exclusion from opportunities to access an education or employment, violence, forced confinement in institutions, and more.
Thursday last week, July 26, 2012, was a historic date for those of us who are Americans with disabilities and for the people who are our friends, relatives, colleagues and other peers. It was the 22nd anniversary that the world’s first disability civil rights legislation was passed–the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But it also was the day that the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed to pass the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to the full Senate for a floor vote. In other words, we are now in a new and exciting phase of the campaign for US ratification of the CRPD. This means that all 100 US senators will be asked to vote on if the US should ratify the CRPD. We need a two-thirds majority–67 votes. It is time for every US citizen who cares about the human rights of people with disabilities all around the world, including fellow Americans, to tell your Senators to support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)–even if you have already asked them. Your calls, emails, and visits to your senators are absolutely vital. Opponents of this important international treaty, which was inspired by our own ADA, have been spreading incorrect information to senators in an attempt to convince them to vote against the CRPD. Your voices … our voices … are essential to telling senators that those of us who have disabilities, or who care about people who do, want them to support the CRPD.
The Capitol Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. Ask to be connected to your Senator’s office and call both Senators!
Or, you can find Senators’ contact information at this link: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Please remember to reach out to BOTH of the senators that represent your state.
Want to learn more about the CRPD and why the US should ratify? Visit a FAQ on the CRPD. Also learn the latest news about the campaign for US ratification of the CRPD, or look up which organizations support this treaty.
Sign on to a national letter for individuals and organizations in the US who support the CRPD–visit http://www.usicd.org (scroll a little down the screen to the blurb entitled “Tony Coelho Calls on You to Sign a Letter of Ratification”). At usicd.org you will find a link to the full letter as well as links for individuals or for organizations to sign the letter.
After talking with your senators and signing the letter, please spread the word as widely as you can! Tell all your friends to do the same! We need as many people as we can talking to their senators! Use Facebook, twitter, emails, phone calls … whatever works for you.
Thank you all for your help!
Author’s Note: To international friends outside the US: The fate of US ratification of the CRPD is going to be decided by US senators who ultimately represent the people who voted them into office, thus this call to action is meant to reach out to US citizens who care about the CRPD and who also have the power to influence the decisions of the senators who represent their interests in the US federal government.