The holiday season has begun. It is a time when we eat too much; strengthen friendships, and ponder what we are going to do differently next year. Well, here's something you can do right now -- make a donation to the U.S. International Council on Disabilities. Go to www.usicd.org and push the DONATE button.
Each of us has a lot for which to be thankful. Because of our families and friends, where we live, and what we do, we have choices and opportunities to do many things. Not everyone is so lucky. In some places around the world going to school is not an option because of stigma or inaccessibility. In some places having access to health care or securing a job is rare because of inaccessible transportation. In some places deciding what you are going to do and when you are going to do it is controlled by someone else.
The U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) works with disability organizations in other countries to strengthen understanding of the U.N. Convention on Persons with Disabilities, a disability rights treaty. It is a powerful catalyst for bringing about equal rights, opportunities, and inclusion across the globe. This U.N. treaty is like the ADA for the world. USICD suggests how to work with government agencies to develop policies that promote and result in inclusion. USICD works with foreign aid contractors to realize the importance of and applying accessibility guidelines when engaged in development projects in foreign countries.
USICD is interested in assisting organizations who work with refugees, with family members with disabilities in this country, to understand U.S. policies and secure supports for which the refugees are eligible. USICD offers internships in USICD and elsewhere in Washington, D.C. to young people with disabilities who want to learn about U.S. policies affecting international relations and their intersection with disability rights. USICD offers training programs, and most recently assisted the Afghan Embassy in Washington, D.C. on a training on disability rights.
USICD's fund raising gala is on Dec. 5th, 6-8 pm, at the French Embassy. Ticket sales have been good, but we have a few left - $125 each. You can buy tickets through the USICD website. Again, it is -- www.usicd.org.
These are uncertain times. In many ways we are in a holding pattern. But, there are proactive things we can do now. Giving a donation to USICD or buying gala ticket, means we still are willing and able to help others make the right decisions, use powerful facts, and collaborate. Be part of that message. Be part of the future. Show everyone that you want the future to be more inclusive, more invested in people with disabilities, and more respectful of the voices of people with disabilities. Such individuals and their voices need to be heard at local planning meetings in preparing for and responding to disasters. Such individuals and their voices need to be considered in development discussions around national policies in education, health care, employment, housing, transportation, physical accessibility, and benefits planning. All of these things will be more likely if we contribute now to USICD.