By Curtis Ramsey-Lucas, Director of Interfaith Engagement, American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
One of the four major areas of focus for the Justice Table of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is hunger and poverty. We know these realities of life in our society are intimately connected with a lack of economic opportunity and that persons with disabilities are more than twice as likely to be impoverished and unemployed as non-disabled individuals. That is why we are pleased that the leadership of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Disciples Center for Public Witness have joined over 100 other organizations and individuals in endorsing a letter encouraging candidates to address disability concerns in their campaigns.
The letter, coordinated by the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC), a program of AAPD, notes that Americans with disabilities “make remarkable and valuable contributions to our communities,” yet, “continue to face discrimination in many areas including employment, transportation, and education.” It encourages candidates for public office to address economic disparities and set forth a “vision to encourage the civil rights of people with disabilities, and to promote their full inclusion in society.”
This effort is part of a national campaign launched earlier this year to organize people with disabilities, family members, friends, advocates and other Americans into a “disability vote” bloc with influence on par with other special interest groups to be taken seriously by politicians. Launched by AAPD, Texas Disability Project, Disability Rights Texas and other disability advocacy groups, the REV UP campaign is an effort to make the disability vote count. REV UP stands for Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power. The REV UP campaign is promoting the growing influence of the disability vote nationwide while working to ensure access to the polls on Election Day for Americans with disabilities.
Faith communities have long encouraged their members to engage in responsible citizenship, including voting, and many serve as polling places on Election Day. The IDAC letter builds on these endeavors by encouraging candidates for public office to make a greater effort to engage the concerns of the disability community. It is our hope that in doing so, the American experiment of self-government increasingly includes and reflects the voices, concerns, and wisdom of people with disabilities.
Individuals and organizations are invited to sign the letter. To do so, visit:
The Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC) mobilizes the religious community to take action on disability policy with Congress, the President and Administration, and society at large. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities.