I sense it will take something big, like a march on Washington, D.C., to get Senate action on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Senator Menendez needs some sustained wind behind him in order to make the right move. People in the U.S. need to see that we have power and that we matter. People in the U.S. need to understand that the world is going to change because of the CRPD and we must to be a player. Failure to ratify the CRPD is not an option.
A march would provide us with an opportunity to push a broad policy agenda in addition to ratification of the CRPD.
- Ratification of the CRPD
- Reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act, perhaps as an independent piece of legislation
- Amendment to the Social Security Act, so that people with disabilities are not penalized for saving more than $2,000
- Renewed funding for the Help America Vote Act provisions that support accessible voting materials, procedures, and places
- A White House Commission to determine the real barriers to employment for people with disabilities
- Amendments to laws that affect veterans, so that those now covered, get what they need, when they need it, or there are adverse consequences for those responsible for delays and waiting lines
- Investment in innovative housing options that put access to housing modification, financing, and support systems under one agency
- Proactive training of healthcare professionals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services so that people are informed, treated, and live healthy lives
- Creating new and broadening of existing opportunities for people to become entrepreneurs
- Broadening of support for respite care
Such actions would benefit many people, many families. We need something to re-energize everyone. A march might just do it. If we each read the words in the CRPD we grasp the value of empowerment. We know things can happen more quickly through partnerships, including global partnerships. People with disabilities, veterans, senior citizens, and people of all backgrounds could join hands and walk from the White House to the Capitol and say, “Hear us and act. If you don’t there will be real consequences in November."
Think about it.