Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The CRPD and Georgia

By my count we have 27 days until the midterm elections on November 4th. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has told us that unless we have a guaranteed count of 67 Senators in favor of the disability treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), we will not get a Senate vote on it.

In Georgia Senator Chambliss is retiring at the end of the current term and Senator Isakson is up for reelection this November. We are six votes short of the 67 we need for passage of the CRPD in the November-December time frame. That is why these two Senators are so important to us. If we could convince them to support the CRPD, we would need only four more votes to reach 67.

The National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency authorized by Congress to advise the government on disability policy, is having its quarterly meeting in Atlanta Georgia right now. NCD will hold a press conference on the CRPD at 2:30 pm today. Here are the details:

The Press conference will immediately follow the NCD meeting, October 7, 12:30 in Atlanta, Georgia

Location: Shepherd Center, 2020 Peachtree St.,  Atlanta, GA  30309

Speakers:
Jeff Rosen, chair of National Council on Disability
Mark Johnson, Georgia disability advocate
Kim Gibson, executive director of Disability Link, Decatur, Georgia
Ryan Johnson, Center for Leadership in Disability, Georgia State University
David Morrissey, executive director of US International Council on Disabilities

If you live in the area I hope you attend.

There is no doubt in anyone's mind, both supporters and opponents of the CRPD, that we are at a critical point in the ratification campaign.

THE SENATE RETURNS TO WASHINGTON, D.C. ON NOVEMBER 12th AND IS HERE FOR A LIMITED TIME (UNTIL CHRISTMAS). WE WILL HAVE OUR LAST CHANCE IN A LONG WHILE TO ACHIEVE RATIFICATION OF THE CRPD.

I URGE EVERYONE, INCLUDING THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN PRIMARILY SPECTATORS, TO BECOME ENGAGED WITH THE CRPD CAMPAIGN.

Why?

1. With all the conflicts going on, and the U.S. assuming primarily a military role, at least in the media presentation of these events, we need to project a positive, compassionate, view of the U.S. as a country committed to human rights and helping people rebuild their lives. Ratification of the CRPD would help us do that.

2.  Conflicts always result in many people who are newly disabled. We must be prepared and willing to help these people reestablish their independence and productivity. They, as others will, want to help their land of conflict rebuild.

3.  Many people in this country and abroad do not understand why we have not yet ratified the CRPD. If we were to fail in ratifying the CRPD, we would foster a lack of trust among many people here and elsewhere about the level of our commitment to assisting people with disabilities to lead full lives.

4.  Many who oppose ratification have negative feelings about the U.S. being a fully-engaged partner in the world community. We cannot let this view prevail. It is counterproductive. It diminishes the standing and influence  of the U.S. It raises speculation about our real motives in any negotiation.

5.  Today in Georgia we could make a turn in the right direction. Please be part of this turning point and contact your Senators and urge them to do two things: first, ask them to urge Senator Reid a hold of floor vote on the CRPD, and second, to vote for it when the vote occurs. All Senators should hear from all of us within the next 27 days, and a few more press conferences wouldn't hurt either.

Thank you.
Common Grounder

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