We are being called to action and that means every American. Senator Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has now held two meetings concerning the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
(CRPD) by the United States of America. The first was in Washington, DC on October 9th and the second meeting was held on October 24th in West Orange, New Jersey at the Kessler Foundation
. Both sessions addressed the issues for the stakeholders as well as what and how people can do to support the ratification.
Rodger DeRose the president CEO of the Kessler Foundation commenced the New Jersey roundtable gathering with "At the Kessler Foundation, we see firsthand the contributions that people with disabilities can make when given the opportunity," "Shouldn’t all people with disabilities enjoy the opportunities that most of us take for granted, no matter where they live? And shouldn’t the United States be at the forefront of upholding this moral standard in the international community?"
The answer was a resounding "yes" from the over 40 state and national organizations attending, including Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Human Rights Watch, Autism Speaks, National Federation of the Blind, Paralyzed Veterans of America and United Spinal Association. The representatives took this ideal opportunity during the roundtable discussions to voice how the U.S. ratification of the CRPD would benefit and empower their members and expand their missions.
Eric LeGrand, former Rutgers football player and leader of Team LeGrand
for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation stated how critical it is to have consistent, reliable accommodations when traveling to be free from risk. "People with disabilities can do great things, but traveling abroad is a huge concern," he said. "When we don’t have to focus on obstacles, like lack of wheelchair access, we can focus on the real issues. Ratifying the Convention - this is a no brainer. Together we should be able to get this passed."
Senator Menendez took the floor maintaining that "It (the CRPD) is vital for the 58 million Americans who have one or more disabilities and the 5.5 million American veterans are people with disabilities, so they can work, study, and travel abroad without wondering if the hotel will have an elevator, or if the subway will have adequate audio announcements, or if the office hosting the sales pitch has a wheelchair ramp. In our global marketplace more and more jobs require international travel. I believe it is simply not acceptable for us to ask our young men and women to risk their lives to fight for us, but then after an injury, not fight for them to have access and opportunity here and abroad. And it will be a fight."
(Photos courtesy of Kessler Foundation/Joan Banks-Smith)
invited the attending representatives to take the lead and inform their members of how they can advocate for ratification as the Senate gears up for the first hearing on the CRPD on November 5th. Taking this leadership challenge seriously, Peter Wilderotter, the President and CEO of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the Reeve Foundation team begin crafting Action Alerts on the CRPD to give members all the information needed to make knowledgeable decisions of how and what to do.
As the first hearing date nears, the Reeve Foundation will share how members can connect with the key Senators that are required for the two-thirds majority, how to share updates on Facebook and twitter and how to dig deep and stay engaged throughout the whole process of ratifying the CRPD. This is the perfect time to take part in our Democratic process. If you have not read the CRPD, you now have the right set of circumstances to do so, just folow the link above. You can also connect with your state Senator and find out what their position is on the CRPD.
Become an advocate. Be a hero.
Lend your voice and join the movement. You can make a difference."I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. They are the real heroes, and so are the families and friends who stood by them." -Christopher Reeve
Blessings to All, In Joy Candace
Take action now
More on the meeting at Kessler