About Us

Welcome to the Global Disability Caucus (GDC)!

Founded in 2021, the GDC hopes to speak to and for Amercans with disabilities living abroad. We welcome and encourage the involvement of supporters of our members and our issues. We hope to form an inclusive, diverse, active and effective community which provides fulfilling experiences for all.

The caucus regularly organizes events about the Americans with disabilities community's history, culture, and issues, so check back often and join the caucus to receive updates via our upcoming email newsletter!

Meet the Team

Get to know the members of the Steering Committee - our stories and our goals as Americans with Disabilities and Allies from all around the world. We'll be adding more every month!

For more information, feel free to refer to our Terms of Reference below.


DISABILITIES NECESSITATE INCREASED FOCUS ON ACCESSIBILITY***

Accessibility is when the needs of people with disabilities are specifically   considered, and products, services, and facilities are built or modified so that they can be used by people of all abilities. 

From Merriam-Webster:

***accessibility

noun [ U ]

UK  /əkˌses.əˈbɪl.ə.ti/ US  /əkˌses.əˈbɪl.ə.t̬i/

the fact of being able to be reached or obtained easilyTwo new roads are being built to increase accessibility to the town centre.

 the quality of being easy to understand: The accessibility of her plays means that she is able to reach a wide audience.

The quality and accessibility of materials have to be high if there are to be no barriers to learning.

 More examples

Much of the play's charm lies in its accessibility and simplicity.The theater offers full wheelchair accessibility.


Terms of Reference for the Global Disability Cacucus (GDC)

The mission of Democrats Abroad’s Global Disability Caucus is to provide a voice for individuals with disabilities across its global membership. As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), an individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Democrats Abroad’s Global Disability Caucus will organize a disability rights agenda; work with allies within the Democratic Party and disability rights groups to ensure that all activities and venues are accessible; advocate on proposed legislation addressing disability rights; and educate and empower Democrats Abroad members and leaders about the issues impacting persons with disabilities.

Disability is a public health issue, with over 1 billion people (or 15%) in the world  living with some form of disability. This number is increasing, in part due to aging populations and an increase in awareness and better diagnosis of chronic health issues. Disability is extremely diverse -- from physical and psychiatric disabilities to learning disabilities, blindness, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders and brain injuries. However, all people with a disability have the same general healthcare needs as everyone else and need access to mainstream healthcare services. The reality, though, is that few countries, including the United States, provide adequate quality services for those with a disability. Prohibitive costs, limited availability of services, physical barriers and inadequate skills/knowledge on the part of health workers are among the barriers faced.

Democrats Abroad (DA) prioritizes issues that affect U.S. citizens living overseas. These issues begin with the most fundamental democratic right - voting - and extend to taxation, health care, equal rights and more.

In compliance with requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Government facilities abroad, including DA meeting venues, should be accessible and barrier-free for persons with disabilities. Government policies must reflect the interests of persons with disabilities and special needs. This caucus will work within Democrats Abroad to achieve this endeavor. It will be important that the organization continues to enable full participation in activities remotely, as this answers the challenges to those unable to be physically present.

We share and adhere to the principles and demands expressed in the platforms of both the Democratic Party and DA regarding persons with disabilities and their families abroad.

We recognize and appreciate that all of the various groups, ethnicities, persuasions, identities, and beliefs that make up American society are present; we share issues and concerns in common with the other DA caucuses. Discrimination has no place in Democrats Abroad and its ancillary organizations (e.g. country committees, chapters, interest groups, caucuses, etc.), nor the Global Disability Caucus.

GOALS

 

  • Reach out to members with disabilities and special needs, as well as their dependents living abroad, to encourage them to register to vote and to engage them in advocacy for our policy positions;

 

  • Draft and add a plank to the DA Platform addressing the needs of Americans with disabilities living abroad; 

 

  • Provide a forum for DA members to understand better the issues and concerns affecting persons with disabilities inside and outside of the United States;

 

  • Introduce and encourage American Sign Language (ASL) and Professional Live Captioning (CART) at DA global meetings, town halls, webinars, as well as regional, country and chapter meetings;

 

  • Introduce and ensure DA social media platforms follow digital accessibility guidelines for persons with disabilities by using alternative text for DA images and DA GIFs, caption, audio descriptions and transcripts of DA videos;

 

  • Introduce and ensure www.VoteFromAbroad.org, Drop-in-Voter-Assistance and Voter-Outreach efforts follow digital accessibility guidelines and are better suited for Americans with disabilities living abroad;

 

ACTIONS

 

  • Facilitate get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts for U.S. Citizens with disabilities; and also develop sensible and sensitive GOTV strategies for encouraging persons with disabilities living overseas;

 

  • Advocate for expansion of accessibility laws for voters with disabilities and hospitalized voters across the United States;

 

  • Exchange information and concerns with other DA caucuses and interest groups regarding relevant issues and shared concerns to ensure that, as they impact members with disabilities and their families, they are communicated among the broader DA community for a successful joint response;

 

  • Ensure that all meeting venues for Democrats Abroad and Vote From Abroad are accessible and barrier-free in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements (e.g. wheelchair accessible with use of ramps, elevators, etc.).

 

  • Organize participation in International Day of Persons with Disabilities, International Ataxia Awareness Day, Autism Awareness Month, Mental Health Month and other landmark days of historical significance for persons with disabilities in the U.S. and host countries of U.S. Citizens living abroad;

 

  • Establish and maintain contact with other American political organizations to find areas of joint concern regarding persons with disabilities;

 

  • Always strive to improve the DA Platform and organize advocacy efforts towards U.S. law and policymakers for issues pertinent to persons with disabilities, and their families living abroad;

 

  • Work with DNC Disability Council, Municipal, County and State Democratic Parties to ensure that there is a platform that represents Americans with disabilities;

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

 

  • Work within the DA structure and its rules;

 

  • Report to the DA International Chair and/or the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) Executive Committee at regular intervals; seek and follow guidance from the International Chair and the International Chair's designees prior to making public comments, posting statements on a website or social media, or engaging in projects such as GOTV, guest speakers, or events coordinated with local groups of Democrats Abroad;

 

  • Coordinate with other DA caucuses and councils;

 

  • Undertake leadership development of GDC members and encourage our members, especially those who are persons with disabilities, to run for DA leadership positions including, but not limited to, delegates to the Democratic National Convention and country committee leadership roles;

 

  • Help country committees and local chapters interested in creating a GDC and support for their caucus activities;

 

  • Communicate with members and conduct meetings on a regular basis (at least quarterly) and publish a GDC Newsletter;

 

  • Work with the DA IT team to create and maintain a dedicated GDC webpage on the DA website in accordance with digital accessibility guidelines;

 

  • Utilize social media in accordance with digital accessibility guidelines; 

 

  • Urge GDC membership and all U.S. citizens abroad to vote in all U.S.-based elections and primaries when eligible to do so; and

 

  • From time to time, review and update the GDC’s Terms of Reference for submission to the DPCA Executive Committee for approval;

 

ORGANIZATION & STRUCTURE

 

Confirmed membership in the Global Disability Caucus shall be restricted to members of Democrats Abroad. 

 

GDC members will be encouraged to participate in DA fundraising activities.

 

The Global Disability Caucus shall operate under the supervision of a Chair who, in turn, should:

 

  • be appointed by the International Chair, as defined by the DPCA charter, with the approval of the DPCA Executive Committee;
  • generally serve a two year appointment, which terminates at the end of each DPCA Executive Committee cycle; however, caucus chairs may be removed earlier if the Executive Committee of the DPCA deems this removal to be necessary;
  • appoint a Vice-Chair, who is not of the same gender identity and resides in a different country from the Chair, and a Secretary.
  • form a Steering Committee consisting of a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, a representative from each of the three regions representatives; and possibly three members-at-large representing a diverse population of members.
  • Any member of the steering committee may resign at any time by written notice to the Chairperson.
  • Any member of the steering committee who has either (1) missed two scheduled meetings without notice to the Chairperson or (2) missed three scheduled meetings within any six month period, may be removed by a ⅔ vote of the steering committee based on quorum.The vote will be held at a regularly called meeting where the subject of such removal is on the agenda sent out in advance and, at which, the member is given reasonable opportunity to explain the reasons for their absences.

 

  • form Working Groups, led or co-led by a member of the Steering Committee:
  • The Standing Working Groups of the Global Disability Caucus are: Communications, Country Committee Liaison, Legislative Tracking, Events, Awareness & Education, Research & Resources and IT.  Other ad-hoc Working Groups may be initiated by the Chairperson.
  • Heads of the Working Groups will be appointed by the Chair with a simple majority vote approval of the steering committee, based on quorum.
  • Working Groups may be dissolved at any time by the Chair, with approval by a simple majority vote, of the Steering Committee, based on quorum.
  • A quorum of the steering committee shall require the Chair or Vice-Chair and 
  • a simple majority of the remaining members of the steering committee.
  • participate in monthly caucus leaders’ meetings and provide updates on caucus activities; and in the event the Chair or Vice-Chair are unable to attend, efforts will be made to ensure that a designated member of the caucus is present;
  • ensure the GDC follows the rules of the DPCA charter, and is considered wholly a subcommittee under the DPCA and the ExCom;
  • ensure activities are aligned with the GDC’s terms of reference;
  • consult with the Democrats Abroad International Chair/ExCom as necessary;
  • (the Chair) along with the Vice-Chair and Secretary, have GDPR certification to help ensure that Global Disability Caucus member records are protected and treated in accordance with Democrats Abroad’s Privacy policies;

    send at least one representative of the Caucus to each DA Annual General Meeting, either in person or online, and  provide the membership with caucus updates.