|Dear Disability Community Advocates,|
DNC Chair Tom Perez, Disability Council member Joyce Bender, and I have released a statement about National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Is your state or local party doing anything to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag me on Twitter at @HonTonyCoelho!In solidarity,
In addition, I'm pleased that Philadelphia has taken a great step to on voting accessibility -- check out "Every Philly polling place will soon be accessible to voters with physical disabilities and mobility issues." The new voting machines also allow for plain language ballot questions, which will help many voters, including those with cognitive disabilities. There is also advocacy to ensure that poll worker training includes effective communication under Title II of the ADA. Why is this important? Twenty nine years after the passage and signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities are still experiencing great barriers to voting. Voting is still very inaccessible to many. Many campaign and state and county election websites are not accessible. Even when a county or state election office website is accessible the sample ballot and voter education materials on them for download are not. A Government Accountability Office survey of the 2016 General Election found that 60% of polling places were inaccessible. If the campaigns, election process and polling places are not accessible then many people with disabilities just drop out of civic engagement and don’t vote – or aren’t able to vote when they show up. We need more cities to work with advocates on the ground. I applaud Philadelphia City Commissioners and advocates for their continued efforts to make voting accessible to people with diverse disabilities. Wouldn't it be nice if every city in the country would do the same? And I urge each of you to get your cities to follow Philadelphia's lead!
DNC Disability Council Chair
DNC on National Disability Employment Awareness Month
DNC Chair Tom Perez, DNC Disability Council Chair Tony Coelho, and DNC Disability Council Member Joyce Bender released the following statement:
“Every day, Americans with disabilities help fuel our economy. They bring diverse experiences, critical skills, and new perspectives to the workforce, and they deserve equal opportunity and dignity in the workplace.
“Our nation has made great strides toward building a more inclusive economy for Americans with disabilities. But we still have work to do. Across the country, people with disabilities still face barriers in the workplace and high unemployment rates. Democrats believe no one should be denied the dignity of work because of a disability. We believe people with disabilities deserve fair wages and employment protections. That’s why our party has banned sub-minimum wage contracts at our convention, and opposes them in our party platform. And we will keep fighting for the disability community every day.”
DNC Summer General Meeting
The Disability Council held its General Meeting on Thursday, August 22, 2019 in San Francisco. Our Summer General Meeting featured guest speakers California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, and Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford. Following our guest speakers, Ted Jackson and CA Democratic Party Disabilities Caucus Chair Hene Kelly, CDP Disabilities Caucus members Alyce Brown, Susan Pfeifer, and Carol Taylor, presented a training and panel discussion "How to Start a Disability Caucus in Your State Party." Thanks to all who participated in our meeting! If you have feedback, ideas, and suggestions for future Disability Council meetings, please send them to email@example.com.
Resolution Urging Full Access and Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities in the Democratic PartyAt the DNC Summer General Meeting, DNC members voted in favor of a Resolution Urging Full Access and Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities in the Democratic Party. The resolution, authored by Disability Council Chair Tony Coelho and Veterans Council Chair Christine Pelosi, commits to full inclusion for people with disabilities in our Democratic Party, by having the DNC commit to ensure that the 2020 Convention and future conventions are accessible; that campaigns are accessible to voters, volunteers, interns, and staff with disabilities; to ensure their voter outreach efforts are accessible, including all websites, social media platforms, field offices, large events and rallies, and communications; to engage people with disabilities directly to help them form their platforms and vision for disability engagement, including advice on the accessibility of their campaigns; and, to neither seek nor accept donations or in-kind support at all from any company that uses the Fair Standards Labor Act Section 14c certificate or engages in the practice of paying disabled workers sub-minimum wage. Access the resolution in full by visiting this link: bit.ly/DNCAccessibilityResolution.
HSDA Resolution in Support of Access Coordinators on Campaigns
The Youth Committee, chaired by Seamus Campbell, Rachel Gonzalez, and Anna Landre, was created this past June. Thanks to their advocacy and support from HSDA President Jack Greenspan, HSDA recently unanimously passed a resolution in support of having candidates have ADA/508 and/or Access Coordinators on their campaigns! To read the full resolution, visit bit.ly/HSDAResolution.
The Youth Committee, throughout the academic year, will be working on creating a guide to help students with disabilities coming from high school and into college and from college into “real life” to know what resources are available to them and organizations that are resources. If you are interested in getting involved with the Youth Committee by organizing and advocating for disability issues in your schools, colleges, and community as we go into the 2020 election, please email Chair Seamus Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disability Council Fundraising and Women's Leadership Forum
The DNC Disability Council Finance Committee held a fundraiser with Governor Kate Brown on July 23, 2019. The event had over 93 attendees and raised $8,000. This event, combined with I Will Vote Gala San Francisco proceeds, have brought the Disability Council's fundraising total to over $230,000.
The next ticketed event will be the DNC Women's Leadership Forum Conference, which will feature Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other incredible trailblazers. The conference and training will be held 10/16 to 10/17 in DC. There are limited quantities of the $100 Young Professional Ticket, which includes 1 Ticket to Training, 1 Ticket to Conference, 1 Ticket to #WomenWillVote Welcome Reception, and 1 Ticket to Women Will Vote Gala. To purchase your Women's Leadership Forum Conference tickets, visit http://bit.ly/DisabilityCouncilWLF. Please use Raiser Code 127448185 so the Disability Council can be credited. 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 email@example.com.
The next Democratic Primary Debate will be held on October 15, 2019 at Otterbein University in Westerville Ohio. It will be broadcast by CNN, please keep a watch out for information on multiple platforms and accessibility information for viewing the debates.
The DNC staff has been working with the host networks tom provide accommodations and make sure the debates are accessible to the audience. They are making progress with each debate, especially improving communication access. During the September debate in Houston the network provided live CART captions available on a streamtext link to audience members inside the venue and around the world.
Additionally, they engage local disabled community members directly to make sure they can attend the debates. A local Houston Black pastor who has been engaged for many years in the Civil Rights Movement and is now also disabled sent us this note:
I am not a politician nor a business mogul—not even a University official—but as a Democrat with a six-decade-plus work-span related to TSU, I thank you two for making it possible for me, my caregiver, and my wheel-chair to be present at that event. So let me express my heart-felt gratitude for your facilitating an old man to see...a globally-broadcast debate among candidates for the President of the United States!
Presidential forums on disability issues
The Democratic Presidential Candidate Forum: Focus the Disabled Voter - November 2, 2019
National Iowa Dem. Disability Caucus Chair Catherine Crist has been busy with accessibility and disability consciousness among presidential campaigns in Iowa, as well as with continued work with the states' democratic disability caucuses. She is organizing "The Democratic Presidential Candidate Forum: Focus the Disabled Voter" on November 2, 2019 from 10-4 PM in Cedar Rapids, IA, with virtual participation. Questions will be generated by the disabled community of voters, family members, activists, caregivers, and advocates during the AIO (Accessibility, Inclusion, and Outreach Conference held in Cedar Rapids on Oct 19th), and through the IDP Disability Caucus, DNC Disability Council members, and NADDC Members. We will send out the Facebook event link shortly. You can always "like" the Iowa Democratic Party Disability Caucus Facebook page to track news related to this event. If you have questions about this event, contact Catherine Crist Chair, IDP Disability Caucus and Chair, NADDC via email (AIOConference2019@gmail.com and IDP.DisabilityCaucus@gmail.com).
Presidential Forum on Disability Issues - November 3, 2019
The Disabilities Resource Center of Siouxland is proud to announce our national nonpartisan Presidential Forum on Disability Issues. The forum will take place on November 3, 2019 at Morningside College.
The Presidential Forum on Disabilities Issues will place the pressing questions the disability community faces on center stage and give major party Presidential candidates an opportunity to discuss policy decisions that affect approximately 23% of the American electorate. Seating is limited so claim your free ticket today! If you have any specific questions you would like to ask any of the presidential candidates, please comment below. This event will be streamed live on Facebook. For tickets, visit this link.
Elected for Inclusion – the Presidential Forum on Disabilities Issues - January 13, 2020
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and REV UP Texas are proud to announce Elected for Inclusion, our national nonpartisan Presidential forum on disability issues. The forum will take place on January 13, 2020 at the AT&T Hotel and Convention Center in Austin, Texas in advance of Super Tuesday and the November 2020 elections. Elected for Inclusion – the Presidential Forum on Disabilities Issues will place the pressing questions the disability community faces on center stage and give major party Presidential candidates an opportunity to discuss policy decisions that affect approximately 23% of the American electorate. AAPD and REV UP Texas are hosting Elected for Inclusion as a means of highlighting the power of the disability vote. In 2020, over 35 million eligible voters will be people with disabilities. The number of “disability voters” increases to over 62 million when we consider the ripple effect of the disability vote that connects families, friends, advocates, educators, providers, and other individuals that interact with people with disabilities. For details, visit this link.
Contribute to Disability Policy
The Policy Committee has created a first draft of a policy guide which addresses employment, criminal justice, emergency mgmt and climate change, transportation, housing, education, financial wellness, and healthcare. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Chakir Underdown or Kelly Buckland at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Protect the Disability Vote
The Disability Council's Voter Protection Committee chairs met 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. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Eddie Correia firstname.lastname@example.org and Kelly Simoneaux email@example.com.