International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  For us, it is an opportunity to reiterate the importance of strengthening our efforts to build a more inclusive and accessible Democrats Abroad.

Accessibility

We hope that each Chapter and Country Committee will consider identifying a member who can monitor opportunities for more accessible communications, events and information.  Easy fixes include avoiding small typefaces, reminding participants online how they can access closed captioning and other tools, ensuring accessibility for “live” events and recognizing the disruptive effects of chat entries for people using screen readers.

One resource is the Justice Department’s new ADA website:

https://www.ada.gov/
https://www.ada.gov/notices/2022/11/16/ada-launch/

Comments About Vigilance for Rights and Protections vs. Unreasonable Attacks

We’ve been reminded by recent events of a particular issue plaguing our community,  the active blaming and marginalizing of people with disabilities in lieu of the strengthening of access, services and support.

Conflating homelessness with mental illness, New York Mayor Eric Adams has initiated a policy which requires the, according to the New York Times, “involuntarily hospitalizing people who were a danger to themselves, even if they posed no risk of harm to others, arguing the city had a “moral obligation” to help them.”

“The common misunderstanding persists that we cannot provide involuntary assistance unless the person is violent,” Mr. Adams said in an address at City Hall. “Going forward, we will make every effort to assist those who are suffering from mental illness.”

“The mayor’s announcement comes at a heated moment in the national debate about rising crime and the role of the police, especially in dealing with people who are already in fragile mental health. Republicans, as well as tough-on-crime Democrats like Mr. Adams, a former police captain, have argued that growing disorder calls for more aggressive measures. Left-leaning advocates and officials who dominate New York politics say that deploying the police as auxiliary social workers may do more harm than good.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/29/nyregion/nyc-mentally-ill-involuntary-custody.html?emc=edit_na_20221129&ref=cta&nl=breaking-news

Mental illness is the most often-used default when Republicans want to avoid acknowledging the extreme need for much stronger gun regulations.  There is a certain irony in the absence of concern for the actual creation of disabilities as a result of those who survive gun violence. The issue is also being used as a diversion, not as an expression of genuine concern or understanding.

These same people would undoubtedly erupt if the perpetrators of gun crimes actually use mental illness as an element of their defense.  While there is no doubt that there is a strong need for better policy, laws and practices to support people with disabilities but for the vast majority of people who need these changes, violent behavior isn’t the reason.

One Goal for 2023

Please encourage at least one of your members to join the Global Disability Caucus.  We need allies, whether or not they are currently experiencing a disability.  The addition of new leaders and volunteers could greatly expand our (and your) ability to inform, educate, coordinate action and impact legislation.  They can reach us at [email protected]
https://www.democratsabroad.org/dc

Congratulations on your mighty efforts to defend Democracy during the midterms and thank you for your support of the candidates and policies which help ensure better lives for all Americans.

Take care,

Marnie Delaney
Chair, Global Disability Caucus

 


A Disability Discourse - Podcast

A Disability Discourse - Podcast with Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman



PodcastDC.pngHow has America historically defined physical disabilities? How have disability rights activists achieved hard-fought wins? And how does the current debate over mask mandates and pandemic restrictions leave out those with disabilities or chronic illness? 
Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman discuss the impact of pensions for disabled war veterans in the Revolutionary and Civil War periods, the interlocking histories of racism, sexism, and ableism, and the impact of the 1970s disability rights movement. 

 


Disability Rights Advocates to Meet with CDC Director Following GMA Appearance

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) / News and Media / Press Releases

  • Disability Rights Advocates to Meet with CDC Director Following Good Morning America (GMA) Appearance; Nearly 150 Disability Organizations Release Policy Demand Letter Ahead of Meeting

Washington, D.C. – On Friday, January 7, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in an interview with Good Morning America, commented on the results of a research study. Director Walensky remarked that a disproportionate number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the study population occurred among those with four or more comorbidities, calling those patients “people who were unwell to begin with” and these results as “encouraging news”. The disability community, who represent those with four or more comorbidities who died in the study, responded in turn. The hashtag #MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy, started by writer and activist Imani Barbarin, was a top trend on Twitter over the weekend.

... Ahead of the meeting, advocates sent a letter to the CDC Director from nearly 150  disability-focused organizations from around the country, representing tens of millions of disabled Americans from every state and territory. The letter, which can be read in full here, reads: 

“The disability community’s faith in the government agencies responding to the pandemic has taken hit after hit with repeated policy choices that devalue disabled lives. For every step in the right direction, there have been steps backwards or actions delayed. It is necessary for the public health of our nation that the CDC and other agencies responding to the pandemic take immediate, concrete policy steps to rebuild that trust, protect disabled and high-risk people, and enact an equitable vision of pandemic recovery that centers on those communities most at risk and begins to shift long-standing systemic inequities.” 

Click here to read more ...

~The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)


DOJ Sues Uber for Overcharging People with Disabilities

Fellow Democrats Abroad, did you know that in the United States if you have a disability, you have a right to accommodations when using App-based rides services like Uber and Lyft? If you are being charged fees because it takes you longer to get to your ride, then that may be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act or other applicable laws or regulations. The US Department of Justice has sued Uber for this kind of practice. Uber has denied any wrongdoing. However, if you have a disability and think that you were charged unfairly as a result, then make sure to let your driver know that you took longer to get to the vehicle because of your disability and ask them to let Uber know and to waive the fee. Remember though that Uber makes the policies, not the drivers.

 

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) / Office of Public Affairs (OPA) / JUSTICE NEWS

The Justice Department today filed an ADA lawsuit against Uber for charging “wait time” fees to passengers who, because of disability, take longer than two minutes to get in their Uber car.  Individuals who believe they have been victims of disability discrimination by Uber because they, or someone they were traveling with, were charged wait time fees should contact the Justice Department at 833-591-0425 (toll-free), 202-305-6786, or send an email to [email protected].  For more information about the ADA, call the Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (TDD 800-514-0383) or access the ADA website at ada.gov.

~The United States Department of Justice


Welcome to the Global Disability Caucus!


Welcome to the Global Disability Caucus (GDC)!

Over 1 billion people across the globe live with a disability.  

We speak for them.

The mission of the Democrats Abroad Global Disability Caucus is to provide a voice for individuals with disabilities across its global membership; to help organize the group’s agenda; to work with allies within other Democratic parties and disability rights groups to ensure that all activities and venues are accessible; and to educate and empower Democrats Abroad members and leaders about the issues impacting individuals with disabilities.  Our members are not only persons with disabilities but also their allies.  We all believe that

THE FUTURE IS ACCESSIBLE!

--

OUR MISSION

  • Provide a voice for individuals with disabilities across Democrats Abroad global membership.
  • Ensure that the organization is fully ADA compliant.
  • Advocate on proposed legislation addressing disability rights.
  • Educate, empower and activate Democrats Abroad members and leaders about the issues impacting persons with disabilities.
  • Facilitate GOTV efforts for Americans with disabilities living overseas.

Join Us!  Sign up to get news and information or volunteer to join our team!  Click JOIN THE CAUCUS button!

An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.

CDC describes 7 major categories of primary barriers to participation for people with disabilities - they are described in this article and listed below.

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/disability-barriers.html

  1. Attitudinal
  2. Communications
  3. Physical
  4. Policy
  5. Programmatic
  6. Social
  7. Transportation

 

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Learn more about the Global Disability Caucus and read our caucus founding document, the Terms of ReferenceYou can write to us at [email protected].