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Life After Paralysis is a blog that represents a variety of paralysis community members. It is a place for open conversation about the issues and the interests of people living with paralysis, their family, friends, caregivers, and the professionals that serve them. Comments are welcome!
The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

Get On The CRPD Bus

I take discrimination and oppression very personally because I know first-hand the dehumanizing affects of both of them, how they feel, what they look like and how they smell. Yes, I said discrimination and oppression have a smell, they smell like fear, the fear of the unknown, the fear that comes from ignorance and the ultimate true definition of fear, the distorted imagined future. So, so many people still have these knee jerk reactions that are as old as time when they see a person with a disability.

This is why I feel so strongly that we need to get on the CRPD inclusion bus and about the need for the US to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, also know as the CRPD or the Disability Treaty. This document is the most inclusive of any UN human rights charter. It is the critical inclusion solution piece, that piece of blue sky that brings all the other pieces together in the puzzle we call society.

The CRPD, from my perspective isn’t just about people with disabilities, it’s about every one of the seven billion people on this planet and how our life experiences bring injury, disease and aging to our bodies. Because of humanities limited imagination and lacking vocabulary we call the results of these life experiences, disabilities. But these experience are not disabilities, people are disabled or enabled by their environments, simple as that. Societies outdated ideas of life happenings are the problem.

If you don’t know what the CRPD is, now is the time and here is your chance to read it, click this link, it won’t take long, maybe twenty minutes, if you have an average reading speed. Then come back here and get the word on how and what you can do to animate our Senators into ratifying this instrument of integrity, accountability and opportunity, now, before the 24th anniversary of the ADA, American with Disabilities Act on July 26th.

In America we may have had the ADA, described by Senator Tom Harkin in a recent article as “a modern-day Emancipation Proclamation for people with disabilities,” for almost 24 years but we have not found full inclusion yet, not by a long shot. The ADA has brought much in the way of identifying the 54 million people with disabilities in this country as well as creating more access to more physical structures and opportunities than was available when I first landed in a wheelchair in 1975, I’ll give the ADA that much.

But as far as universal inclusion into the hearts and minds of the American people, we have a long road to travel. Quite often it’s the minimum requirement of the ADA  hat is carried out. There has not been a substantial acknowledgement of ownership or gleaning of the concept that all the changes that must be made so that all 313.9 million people in the US, regardless of their label have access to all segments of society.

Denial of any connection to disability or aging is front and center in the minds of the American people. What I hear and see when the subject of access and inclusion come up, “oh we have to do this for those people” or “I’m glad that’s not me” or my favorite is “I would kill myself if it happened to me.” OK, enough downer comments, I’m getting off my soapbox so we can get going.
I believe we can change these outdated ideas I described and get back on the forward moving bus toward actualizing universal inclusion if we ratify the CRPD. The Senate must make a move to vote on ratification and ratification requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass. Go to this website, disability treaty and on the upper right corner there is a red Take Action tab, click that. The page will ask for some information so you will be directed to the correct phone numbers of your Senators.

Make the two calls now. If you leave a message, your Senator will get it, and remember one phone call from you is worth ten calls, you are that powerful, really! When you call let them know you support US ratification of the CRPD and you want them to vote for ratification. Than share this website with three other people and ask them to do the same. Take a picture of yourself with a sign that says, I Support the CRPD and tweet it, tumble it or post it on facebook.

We got off the inclusion bus we fought so to board. Let’s not leave the job of inclusion only half completed; lets get back on the bus and go all the way to the end of the road.

Blessings to All, in joy, Candace

© 2014 Candace Cable | Like Candace on Facebook | Follow Candace on Twitter
Posted by Community Admin on Jul 19, 2014 8:05 PM America/New_York