Richard Thornburgh and Tom Ridge, both former governors of Pennsylvania, issued an opinion advocating US lawmakers to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which would protect the rights and freedoms of individuals with disabilities across the world:
"As longtime advocates for persons with disabilities and individuals directly impacted by disability, we recognize that the ratification of the CRPD would be a victory not only for those whose rights are protected, but also for the ideals of freedom and equality for all that are the bedrock on which this nation was built. [...]
We are acutely aware that the international community looks to the United States as an exemplar, providing a way forward for protecting individual rights. The CRPD builds on the framework of the ADA and exports the protections given to citizens in the United States to the rest of the world. By ratifying this treaty, the Senate will signal that America remains a leader and pioneer in protecting the freedoms of people with disabilities.
Not only does ratification allow the United States to frame the standards for disability rights globally, but it protects American citizens and veterans with disabilities from discrimination and onerous restrictions abroad. Though protected from discrimination at home, our veterans with disabilities who want to travel and work abroad may be subject to unjust travel restrictions and face limitations in employment."
NOD is proud to have Giorgi Akheteli, a fellow from The McCain Institute for International Leadership, serve as our liason during the U.S. Senate hearings on the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Based on the campus of Arizona State University, the institute invites a number of emerging leaders from around the world to complete a year-long fellowship within the United States. Mr. Akheteli is working from the NOD offices in Manhattan while he pursues research and advocacy projects on disability policies.
In this blog commentary, Giorgi Akheteli recounts his experience at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee, where lawmakers considered a U.S. ratification of this international treaty that would promote equality of access to people with disabilities across the world. Mr. Akheteli considers the pathway the U.S. has set for emerging democracies--especially within the fight for disability rights--and encourages America's lawmakers to continue that tradition.
Human rights and disability rights advocates packed three rooms and tuned in via social media on Tuesday to watch the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing regarding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
“The CRPD will not change American law, but it is important because it provides access to the most important international forum on the rights of people with disabilities,” said Thomas Ridge, former secretary of homeland security and current chair of the National Organization on Disability, in his testimony before the committee. “If the U.S. wants to effectively promote access abroad, we must ratify the disability treaty.”
November 5, 2013, Washington, DC – Governor Tom Ridge, Chairman of the National Organization on Disability (NOD) testified today before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in favor of ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
The CRPD is a treaty that will extend to persons with disabilities overseas the same rights and protections that Americans currently enjoy at home under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other landmark laws. Ratifying the Treaty would continue the legacy of American leadership on disability rights and help ensure that Americans with disabilities, including our wounded warriors, have the same opportunities to work, study and travel in other countries as any other American.
Meeting comes in advance of NOD Chairman Tom Ridge’s Testimony on the Treaty before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on November 5th
November 1, 2013, Washington, DC – As the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee prepares to hear testimony on the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, Vice President Joe Biden invited National Organization on Disability President Carol Glazer and other disability leaders to participate in a conversation at the White House about next steps in the treaty’s ratification process. NOD’s Chairman Governor Tom Ridge will testify in favor of US ratification of the treaty on November 5th.
U.S. News and World Report's Laura McMullen interviewed Carol Glazer, president of NOD, for advice on how to interact with people with disabilities. The article points out that the language we use to identify people with disabilities often focuses on the disability first, rather than the person.
"Person-first is not just an etiquette rule or the politically correct thing to do; it comes from a way of thinking about the person," Glazer says. One of [Glazer's] sons, Jacob, is 21 years old and has hydrocephalus, which means excess fluid has accumulated in his brain.
"We have to overcome language that isn't person-first, because when someone calls my son a hydrocephalic, that's who he is to them. They're going to treat him differently," Glazer says.
In response to a Nonprofit Quarterly article about philanthropic funding for disability issues, NOD's president Carol Glazer applauded the media outlet for bringing to light disparities in foundations' support for people with disabilities versus other minority groups.
"We have heard "we don't do disability" from countless foundations who "do" alot to combat poverty, chronic unemployment, [and] disenfranchisement of underserved populations." Glazer noted.
"It's time for foundations who care about poverty, joblessness and lack of connection to the economic and political mainstream, to invest the same level of dollars in disability that they do in helping other disenfranchised people."
Fox News quoted NOD President Carol Glazer about the reality TV series Push Girls, which begins its second season this Sunday. The show that chronicles the lives of Los Angeles residents who use wheelchairs.
Glazer stated that "the fact that there is a television show documenting the life experiences of four women in wheelchairs represents progress in itself."
NOD's President Carol Glazer made an appearance on ABC News' Good Morning America to discuss an update to the traditional accessibility symbol in New York City to make it a more dynamic, less passive symbol.
Glazer stated, "It's about time, I think, that our society portrays people with disabilities as active and forward-leaning."
On January 15, 2013, Washington, D.C., NOD released the results of its Wounded Warrior Careers Four-Year Report.
Listen to NOD Board Member, Lieutenant General (RET) Franklin Hagenbeck on the radio, speaking about the results of NOD's Four-Year Report on its Wounded Warriors Careers Program.