August 26, 2014
Dear Senator Menendez:
The views in this letter are my own.
We face challenging times. In September I know your time will be consumed by how to respond to the projected growing threat from ISIS, the crisis in the Ukraine, and the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. Therefore, there will be scarce time to pursue and manage a vote on the resolution to advise and consent on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Nonetheless, I plead with you to find the time.
Word on the street is that you need tons of phone calls. Again? We will do that if we must, but I have three questions for you and look forward to receiving your answers:
1. Are floor amendments to the CRPD off the table?
2. Are you willing, with a member-to-member effort, to get a vote count? There are 60 Senators who would help you if you asked.
3. Are you willing to ask Majority Leader Reid to schedule a floor vote in September, regardless of the estimated vote count?
I maintain a blog on the CRPD, which has had 15,000 plus views from around the world (www.wecandothisifwetry.blogspot.com); have written a book on the CRPD, A Moral Imperative: U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (A Kindle book, http://t.co/Vigyant7aM, which has been ranked #1 in its category five times over the last seven weeks); and maintain a Facebook page to promote ratification (www.facebook.com/RatifyCRPD, with over 10,000 “likes”).
Clearly there is interest and support for ratification. Many, many people are prepared to be resources if the U.S. has the good sense to use ratification as a diplomatic tool. There are thousands of people and hundreds of companies ready, willing, and able to share human/disability rights expertise and accessibility-related products with the rest of the planet, and many countries are waiting to accept them.
Please take the time to make a Senate floor vote happen in September. We can live with the consequences. We will know where we stand with each of the 100 Senators. We will know what to do after the vote.
Patricia Morrissey, Ph.D.
A member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations when the CRPD was being drafted
Board Member, U.S. International Council on Disabilities