Utah Grassroots Advocacy Partnership wants to help the disability community in advocacy

October 17, 2012 by Storee

Utahns looking to influence public policy and advocate for disability-related issues have the support of Utah Grassroots Advocacy Partnership (GAP).

The goal of GAP is, “To provide education and support to the disability community that allows individuals with disabilities, their families, and professionals to proactively advocate for the policies and services needed though the interaction and engagement in the making of public policy.”

Utah is divided into eleven regions, each region having its own organizer. To see regions and contact information for organizers, visit utahgap.org/blog. Region 1 organizer, who oversees Cache, Rich and Box Elder Counties, is Cherissa Alldredge.

Alldredge tries to use her own experience with disability to help those who haven’t experienced disability.GAP regional organizer, Cherissa Alldgredge

“My interest in disability advocacy is a result of my own experience with disability.  My disability – visual impairment – is due to an acquired brain injury,” she said. “Because of my brain injury, I have come to understand on a personal level some of the social, economic, and accessibility challenges that individuals’ with disabilities face.”

Before Alldredge’s brain injury, she was working as a human resource professional, so she is particularly interested in improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.  Currently, she is a student in the Disability Disciplines doctoral program at Utah State University.

Disability is a relevant national issue for policymakers. A recent, weighted survey found that 51 percent of respondents either had a disability, or had a family member or close friend with one. Advocacy for disability services and policy is particularly important with the upcoming 2012 election and 2013 U.S. budget resolution, when programs may be facing cuts.

Earlier this month, the CPD participated as a viewing site for the National Forum on Disability Issues, where representatives for the presidential candidates addressed concerns from citizens.

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Want to influence global policy on disability? Call your senator.

July 17, 2012 by JoLynne Lyon

Urge Senator Lee to support The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and pass it out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to move it forward for a Senate floor vote. Utahans have a unique opportunity to make an impact at this stage in the legislative process as constituents of Senator Lee who is one of 19 Senators on this committee.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Contact Senator Lee by Thursday July 19th with the following message (or something similar):

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)

(202) 224-5444

Foreign LA: Miriam Harmer (miriam_harmer@lee.senate.gov) OR   www.lee.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

 

MESSAGE:  Identify yourself and your connection to disability (person with a disability, parent of a child with a disability, family member, etc.) then tell your Senator that, “I support ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and as your constituent I request that you support the CRPD at the Committee meeting on July 19, vote in favor of the treaty in Committee, and move it forward to a floor vote in the Senate!”

 

BACKGROUND on the CRPD

The following information about the CRPD is provided by the United States International Council on Disabilities.

What is the CRPD

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a treaty that describes the obligations of ratifying countries to promote, protect, fulfill, and ensure the rights of persons with disabilities. The treaty embodies the American ideals that form the basis of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): empowering persons with disabilities to be independent and productive citizens.

What is the history of the CRPD

The United Nations adopted the CRPD in 2006.  It was officially open for countries to sign on March 30, 2007.  The CRPD “entered into force,” meaning that that the treaty became law for countries that have ratified it, on May 3, 2008. The US signed the CRPD on July 30, 2009, joining the 141 other signing nations. As of June 2012, the Convention has 114 ratifications and 153 signatures. On May 17, 2012, following almost three years of thorough inter-agency review, the Obama Administration submitted its treaty package to the Senate for its advice and consent for ratification.

Why should the US ratify the CRPD when we have the ADA?

Similar to the ADA, the principles of the CRPD are equal treatment and non-discrimination in access to justice, health, education, employment, and rehabilitation. Through the ADA, the US has made progress toward the goals of inclusion, equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for Americans with disabilities. Ratification of the CRPD would present the opportunity for a reaffirmation of these values and provide the forum to advance them worldwide.

 

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