Dear Disability Community Advocates,
According to Rutgers University new research, there was an 8.5% surge in voter turnout among people with disabilities in 2018, compared to the 2014 midterm election, and 10% increase in California - so they, along with their friends and family members could be a powerful force in the next election. While there has been progress since the ADA was passed 29 years ago last week, people with disabilities still face many barriers to inclusion. As CNN counts down to the CNN Democratic presidential debates in Detroit, July 30 & 31st, I'm asking you to please encourage everyone in your network to submit #DisabilityQuestions to CNN moderators using the link below:
Please let me know what questions you've submitted by emailing Adrianne George at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, the Disability Council has established a monthly newsletter, which will include information about upcoming events and opportunities. I hope you enjoy the July newsletter and look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your continued support.
Tony Coelho DNC Disability Council Chair
RSVP for DNC Summer General Meeting
The Democratic National Committee has announced the schedule for 2019 Summer DNC Meeting. The Disability Council will be meeting on Thursday, August 22, 2019 from 1:30p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, located at 333 O'Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102. Disability Council Agenda
- Call to Order
- Pledge of Allegiance
- Special Guest Speakers – Keep a Watch for Announcements
- DNC Political Update
- Training & Panel: How to Start a Disability Caucus in Your State Party
We will have details coming in August for watching the meeting remotely. If you will be attending in person please RSVP by filling out this form, and don’t forget to let us know about your reasonable accommodation or program modification request. If you will be attending the other public parts of the 2019 Summer DNC Meeting and have accommodation or program modification requests separate from the Disability Council meeting, please contact email@example.com. The deadline to make a request is Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The Disability Council leadership team is looking forward to seeing you in San Francisco!
Meet Governor Kate Brown and 2020 Presidential Candidates
The DNC Disability Council Finance Committee is delighted to invite all in the Portland area to come out and meet special guest Governor Kate Brown on July 23, commencing at 6 p.m. Governor Brown will meet with members of the Oregon and neighboring states disability communities to discuss her commitment to inclusion, recent actions, and to help the DNC strategize about galvanizing the disability community to become a commanding voice in the 2020 elections. Please register using this link, or if you are outside of the region, tell your friends and network who may wish to attend! If you have an accommodation request, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are attending the DNC Summer General Meeting in August, you are welcome to attend the I Will Vote Gala, featuring 2020 presidential candidates. The Gala will be held on Thursday, August 22 at 6 PM. The address will be provided upon RSVP. RSVP using this link. If you have an accommodation request, please contact email@example.com.
In addition, anyone interested in hosting a DNC Disability Council event to help the DNC raise funds to support the 2020 campaign should contact Janni Lehrer-Stein at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome all participants to the Finance Committee and look forward to bringing an exciting event, like this one planned in Oregon to your community with your help! Let’s show the nation that the Disability Council has a powerful voice by raising funds to assist inclusive candidates to victory in 2020!
Contribute to Disability Policy
The Policy Committee has seen an influx of new members over the past two weeks, for which we are quite grateful. During our next meeting, we plan to start reviewing one page drafts completed by each task team. We have made great strides with regards to employment, criminal justice, emergency mgmt and climate change, education, financial wellness, and healthcare. Our goal is the production of a complete first draft by the end of August. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Chakir Underdown or Kelly Buckland at email@example.com. Specifically, we would appreciate support in the following areas: Housing; Long Term Supports and Services, Technology, Voting, Research, and Peer Support.
Build a Pipeline for Leadership
The Youth Committee, chaired by Seamus Campbell, Rachel Gonzalez, and Anna Landre, was created this past June and is currently looking for members who will be willing to help organize and advocate for disability issues in their schools, colleges, and community as we go into the 2020 election. We have already been in touch with leaders from the High School Democrats of America, College Democrats of America, and the Young Democrats of America but are always looking for more voices. If you are interested in getting involved with the Youth Committee, please email Chair Seamus Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Protect the Disability Vote
The Disability Council's Voter Protection Committee is working with Senator Casey’s office on a request to General Accountability Office to survey accessibility during the 2020 election. This request includes electronic and information access in addition to polling place physical accessibility.
The Voter Protection Committee chairs will be meeting next week with the DNC Voter Protection team to develop plans ahead of the 2020 General Election for disability integration into the election protection plan and education to our state partners.
Ahead of this meeting, the Committee is reviewing the materials from the 2018 election to look for improvements in education on election accessibility.
Celebrate New Disability Caucuses
The Midwestern Region is really “hopping,” with the development of state Democratic Disability Caucuses! Prior to the establishment of the DNC Disability Council in 2017, there were six Democratic Disability Caucuses, in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan. Since that time, two more Caucuses have been established, in North Dakota (April 2019) and Wisconsin (June 2019). Hats off to leadership in both states for starting these Caucuses, including Wisconsin’s Party Chair, Martha Laning, Party Affairs leaders Amy Donner and Will Hoffman, and Caucus Co-Chairs Adam Brabender and Terry Conn, as well as North Dakota’s Party Chair Kylie Oversen and Interim Caucus Chair Chris McEwen. Both the WI and ND Caucuses are considering undertaking some of the activities that many of the established Caucuses do: advocating for overall awareness of the range of disabilities, for accessibility (including within and outside the party), for pro-disability legislation, and for candidates and campaigns that support, involve, or are led by people with disabilities.
If you would like to share news of events within your own state’s Disability Caucus, for inclusion in this newsletter, please contact Midwestern Disability Council Vice-Chair Dr. Terry Friedrichs, at email@example.com. Terry would also like to know about consultation that your existing Disability Caucus may wish to become even more thoroughly established. He can also advise you on how to start a Caucus if you do not currently have one.
Recruit New Members The Western Region has been actively focusing on Disability Council recruitment by sending out membership invitations to state staff members as well as to state elected officials. Through its concentrated efforts, the Western Region team has recently recruited over 50 new members. The Western Region’s goal is to share information about the DNC Disability Council with as many people as possible, while targeting states that do not have a disability caucus or group. The Western Region’s team is also working to identify a representative in every state that would like to respond to and speak for the Disability Council in that area. As part of its ongoing strategy, the team is working to understand the relationships among the national, states, and local disabilities caucuses, in an effort to work more closely with them moving forward. If you would like to get involved, please contact Jayson Morris firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocate for Intersectional Representation
The Eastern Region is committed to intersectional outreach by reaching out to local and state party leaders about the inclusion of disabled Democrats in their other caucus and affinity group activities. One way we have accomplished this effort, is by partnering with the Black and Veterans Caucus of the Maryland Democratic Party to reflect the diversity of the cross-disability community. The Eastern Region would like to replicate this effort in other states of the Eastern Region. In addition, the Eastern Region has established relationships with other disability rights organizations such as the Mid-Atlantic ADA organization, that aren't partisan, but have political programs that are geared to increase advocacy on the everyday challenges and barriers that continue to affect the cross-disability community.
Another area of focus for the Eastern Region, is having representation of the cross-disability community in state and local democratic parties. This will allow us to have a stronger voice on the direction of the party—and create more ways to be inclusive, especially in leadership roles and employment positions at the state and local level. This will also build on the foundation of the DNC Disability Council, as well as state party councils or caucus, so that we are more visible, progressive and effective. If you are interested in establishing a disability caucus or task force in your state, please contact Monica email@example.com.