NYAPRS Note: Please join NYAPRS member agency Jawonio’s call for action on the Treaty.
I know, I know, another email that asks you to do something.
Well, this is one of those moments. If you agree that Disability Rights are Human Rights, we need your help.
I just began the petition "Bring back UN Treaty for Persons with Disabilities to the Floor NOW" on Change.org.
It's important. Will you sign it too? Here's the link:
Thanks so much!!
Here is the reason why we are petitioning the US Senate:
SENATE FAILS TO RATIFY THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (CRPD) The treaty suffered a defeat with 61-38 vote December 4, 2012 | AAPD Press Team
Washington, DC- AAPD regrets to announce that the Senate failed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The measure was defeated largely along partisan lines with only 8 Republicans supporting the measure, while 53 Democrats voted for passage.
“Today's defeat of the CRPD squanders the opportunity to export the very best the United States has to offer," said AAPD President and CEO Mark Perriello. "AAPD will continue to engage the grassroots and educate members of Congress, to ensure that the treaty passes."
By delaying passage of the treaty, the Republicans in the Senate sent a message to the world that equality for people with disabilities is not a priority. Passage of this treaty would have allowed the United States to show leadership on disability policy, by helping other nations work toward equal opportunity, freedom, and dignity for people with disabilities.
This treaty was negotiated in 2006, by then President George W. Bush and signed in 2009 by President Barack Obama. The CRPD enjoyed strong bipartisan support until the final weeks leading up to the vote, when right wing activists prioritized fear of the United Nations over basic human dignity. The treaty was passed with a bipartisan vote from committee to the Senate floor on Tuesday November 27, 2012, but failed to reach a two-thirds vote this afternoon; falling 3 votes short of the required 64.
Chief Communications Officer
Disabling the Disabled
Donnie Demers Huffington Post December 5, 2012
Posted: 12/05/2012 7:15 pm
I wonder what our descendents 150 years from now will think about this day when they read in the history books that the Senate rejected a United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled, a treaty that is actually modeled after the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act that was passed by the U.S. Senate some 22 years ago.
Falling just five votes short of achieving ratification designed to protect equal rights (worldwide)for those of us who live with disabilities, every Democrat (along with 8 Republicans) made up the 61 votes that went in favor of the ratification.
Sadly, 38 Republicans disgraced the U.S. Senate on Tuesday by voting against it.
For many of those Republicans, the controversy began when they saw the proposal as a threat to American "sovereignty," which they believed could endanger the rights of parents to determine the best education, treatment and care for their disabled children.
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts explained,
It really isn't controversial! What this treaty says is very simple. It just says that you can't discriminate against the disabled. It says that other countries have to do what we did 22 years ago when we set the example for the world and passed the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ironically enough, I think the 38 Senate Republicans who voted against the treaty are the ones who are endangering rights.
The rights of people like me.
Just 22 years ago, I had to navigate my wheelchair through the streets of Hollywood because there were no curb cuts. The same protection and privileges sidewalks provided for others, were unknown to me.
I was even once cited by an Los Angeles police officer for using my wheelchair in traffic. When I explained there were no accessible sidewalks, he handed me the ticket.
"It's for your own safety."
A few years later, the first time I saw a curb cut, I cried.
I remember the look on the face of the manager at Security Pacific National Bank after going to apply for a job. It was the fall of 1987. Dumbfounded that my wheelchair wouldn't fit through the doorway of his office, the manager looked at me and said, "Well, I guess this isn't going to work out now is it?"
I guess not...
The countless back alleys, entrances through kitchens and backdoors I've had to maneuver over the years, have often left me feeling both frustrated and isolated. Getting mail or meeting friends at a restaurant are challenges most people never have to deal with.
These however, were the daily trappings of my life before ADA.
Today I live with profound gratitude to every person responsible for allowing me to live the accessible life I now enjoy. For me, passing the ADA was as powerful as the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln in 1863, and equally as life-changing as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Can you imagine how different life would be without these laws?
I now experience my life in ways I never dreamed of. The liberation and freedom I feel by something as simple as a wheelchair lift at my local Starbucks is monumental.
Those few steps many take for granted, can keep someone like me from the simple pleasure of ordering a Grande or Venti latte.
I am saddened by Tuesday's defeat for many reasons, but mostly it has to do with the way I think the world looks at us now. I wonder if we aren't allowing a broken institution to desecrate the reputation of a nation so great that it once inspired the rest of the world to re-think and re-shape their views on everything from science to humanity.
When I look back at the history books of 150 years ago, I proudly see how far we have come as a Great Nation... and yet, after a day like yesterday in the U.S. Senate, I sadly see how far we have to go.