Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Big Picture

Sometimes we need clarity. It is not easy to see the connection among an international treaty like the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), why the Senate should ratify it pronto, and us.  Well here's my take. We have the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is recognized by people with disabilities and their advocates everywhere as the gold standard on disability rights. People, local elected officials, and businesses want to be able to learn from us, to access our experience and expertise. Right now they can. A total of 133 countries (134 if you count the European Union) has ratified the CRPD. In these countries people with disabilities, through their organizations, are using the CRPD to push change. These organizations often depend in part on their national governments for funding. At some point these 133 + 1 governments may decide that these organizations may continue to receive money as long as they use it for expertise that comes from other countries that have RATIFIED the CRPD.

In the U.S. we are at a critical juncture. In good conscience can we say the U.S. stands for freedom and equality worldwide and yet not join other nations and ratify the CRPD? With ratification of the CRPD the doors around the world stay open to us and the tables where decisions are made have a seat marked U.S. If we don't ratify the CRPD the doors will slowly close, our seats will be taken by others, and our voice for freedom, dignity, equality, and respect will be heard less and less until it is not heard at all.

Any differences we have we can workout if we make a good faith effort.

Thank you.
Common Grounder