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Category archive for: DNC

Celebrating ADA on the Sidelines of the DNC

Philadelphia, July 31 – Gathered in the city of brotherly love, more than a hundred disability activists celebrated the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on Tuesday.

Current and former officials touted the importance of the ADA and focused specifically on disability employment and economic empowerment for people with disabilities.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell talked about making employment for people with disabilities his platform while leading the National Governors’ Association – something he said other governors questioned.

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Clinton Shines Spotlight on Disability Issues

Philadelphia, July 30 — When Hillary Clinton took to the stage the final night of the Democratic National Convention, several disability activists had one question – will she include people with disabilities in a meaningful way in her speech?

The convention already had touched on disability issues – from Anastasia Somoza, a young woman with cerebral palsy delivering a speech Monday, and Sen. Tom Harkin highlighting the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Tuesday to discussions on mental illness and drug addiction and speakers such as Rep. Gabby Giffords and Rep. Tammy Duckworth addressing the convention.

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Updated DNC Platform Most Inclusive of People with Disabilities Ever

Philadelphia, July 29 – As the Democratic National Convention comes to a close, the disability community is celebrating a victory in the final DNC platform as important additions were added in the eleventh hour.

“This platform incorporates our community, our values, our issues and aspirations like never before,” stated Disability Action for Hillary, a volunteer group of people with disabilities working to elect Clinton to the presidency. “With over 30 distinct mentions of disability, ensuring the rights and opportunities of people with disabilities has moved from a section of the platform to a pervasive value infusing it.”

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America: Land of Opportunity for People with Disabilities

Philadelphia, July 29 – Rep. Tammy Duckworth offered a simple but powerful message of the American spirit and inclusion on the last night of the Democratic National Convention.

“I worked hard, but I had a lot of help from my community and country,” she said. “My story is not unique. It’s a story about why this country is the greatest nation on earth.”

Duckworth represents multiple groups who often are overlooked in American politics. She is the first Thai American to be elected to U.S. Congress, as well as the first woman with a disability to become a member of the House of Representatives in 2012.

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Giffords Serves as Role Model for People with Disabilities

Philadelphia, July 28 – When Gabrielle Giffords took the stage with her husband, Mark Kelly, they electrified the audience.

Speaking on the third night of the Democratic National Convention, Giffords used her time to both call attention to the rising gun violence in the country and give a rousing endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary is tough. Hillary is courageous. She will fight to make our families safer. In the White House, she will stand up to the gun lobby,” said Giffords, who served as a congresswoman from 2006 to 2012.

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Growing Disability Council Highlights Importance of 400 Delegates with Disabilities

Philadelphia, July 27 – With 400 delegates self-disclosing a disability, the Disability Council is growing. Along with Disability Action for Hillary, the Council is energizing Americans with disabilities during the Democratic National Convention.

“Our goal is to get as many people all over the country involved with the campaign,” former California Rep. Tony Coelho said at the first meeting on Monday. “It is important for our community that everyone knows that we are committed, we are involved and we can make a difference in this election.”

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Harkin Highlights ADA at DNC in Show of Disability Inclusion, Pushes for Competitive Integrated Employment

Philadelphia, July 27 – The second night of the DNC began with a tribute to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was celebrating its 26 years since it was signed into law. In doing so, it answered some disability activists’ criticisms that while the DNC has highlighted and included people with disabilities such as Anastasia Somoza on the first night, there had been little substantive conversation regarding disability issues on the main stage.

“We are a better nation because of the ADA. But we still have a way to go to build a truly inclusive America,” former Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin said. “When, 26 years later, 70 percent of adults with disabilities aren’t in the workforce, it’s time to take action. That’s why Hillary Clinton wants to ensure people with disabilities are judged by their potential and have the tools to secure competitive integrated employment.”

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Frank Discussion on Mental Illness, Drug Addiction at DNC

Philadelphia, July 26 – The first night of the DNC had a section focusing on “Combating Substance Abuse” featuring New Hampshire mother, Pam Livengood, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and singer-songwriter Demi Lovato.

Livengood, a Keene, New Hampshire resident whose daughter became addicted to pain medication following the birth of her son, Francis, articulated to the audience that “[addiction] does not discriminate against age, race, gender or income. It affects all of us.”

Facing the possibility of her grandson being turned over to child services, Livengood and her husband – who is on disability – decided to raise Francis until his parents were able to receive the treatment they needed to recover.

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Disability Rights Advocate Anastasia Somoza Takes Center Stage at DNC

Philadelphia, July 26 – Following a video which highlighted what many see as Donald Trump’s mockery of a disabled New York Times reporter, disability activist Anastasia Somoza rolled onto the DNC stage in her power wheelchair and spoke about her friendship with Hillary Clinton and the Clinton family, a relationship which has lasted more than two decades.

Somoza, who, along with her twin sister, was born with cerebral palsy, first met the Clintons at nine years old. After being invited to a town hall meeting for kids, she boldly asked then President Bill Clinton why her sister, who is non-speaking, could not be in a regular classroom like Anastasia was. Her chat with the president kicked off a flurry of media coverage and her family worked with the Clintons to advance equal, inclusive education as well as healthcare for people with disabilities.

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Gov. Malloy Opens DNC by Owning his Own Disabilities

Philadelphia, July 25 – “I am here today to tell you a story of hope,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, before speaking about his life and experiences as a person with multiple disabilities.

“It’s a story of a young boy with physical and severe learning disabilities,” Malloy said.

He related his early experiences and how “reading and writing were almost impossible” for him.

“A child thought to be, as the term was used in the early 1960s, ‘mentally retarded’ as late as the fourth grade. A boy who could not tie a shoe or button his shirt until the fifth grade. Someone who knew the harsh words of bullies on the playground and discrimination in the classroom.”

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DNC Platform Integrates People with Disabilities in Show of Powerful Inclusion

Stay tuned for a piece examining the Republican Platform coming soon!

Washington, July 12 – People with disabilities achieved a great victory in the 2016 draft Democratic National Committee (DNC) Platform.

While it may appear that platform’s disability rights section has shrunk in comparison to the 2012 platform, when the document is examined in entirety, people with disabilities are included in numerous other sections, from employment, minimum wage and housing to technology, education and voting rights.

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Democratic Party “Champion” of Diversity

Cleveland, August 6 – At a Democratic National Committee (DNC) press conference on the sidelines of the first Republican primary debate, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the Democratic party is a “champion” of diversity.

The Florida congresswoman claimed that Democrats “ensured that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became the law of the land…that it was expanded and had broader reach.” It is important to note that the ADA was signed by President George H.W. Bush and the legislation was bipartisan.

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