Washington, Sept. 17 – The RespectAbility Report and RespectAbility USA, along with a growing list of nonprofit disability partner organizations (listed below), will host Online Presidential Candidate Town Halls on People with Disabilities, Jobs, and the American Dream.
These town halls will be national, nonpartisan events that will connect the disability community with the presidential candidates. These online town halls will provide candidates with the opportunity to articulate their policy positions on the critical issues affecting Americans with disabilities and to describe their vision for ensuring that more people with disabilities can pursue the American Dream, just like anyone else.
Crowded debates, like those held in Los Angeles last night, do not allow enough time for the candidates to fully flesh out their policy plans or to articulate their visions. Given that the majority of likely voters either have a disability, or a loved one with a disability, these issues must be addressed fully. Therefore, every candidate will have his or her own individual session where they can showcase their views and experience. RespectAbility will be hosting these online town halls throughout the fall, with the times dependent on each candidate’s schedules. All candidates will get the same amount of time and will have the same core opening questions. However, live audiences also will be invited to email in questions.
By connecting with all candidates, the disability community will have the opportunity to influence the course of the 2016 presidential election.
“We look forward to working with 100 percent of the candidates and campaigns,” RespectAbility’s president, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, said. “We recognize that only one of the candidates running will win the presidency. However, 100 percent of the candidates are devoted to public service and want to serve our country. Thus, we want to ensure that each of them has a wonderful connection to the 56 million Americans who have disabilities.”
By hosting these online town halls before the first caucus, RespectAbility and its partners hope to raise the profile of the critical issues of employment, education, community integration, and independent living.
“Imagine the impact that we as a community can have by engaging with candidates on both sides of the aisles who are vying for their party’s nomination,” Mizrahi said. “By making our voices heard, and listening to their experiences and views, we hope to strengthen relationships with both the Democrats and the Republicans. We hope to encourage the candidates to understand that people with disabilities have dreams that need to be recognized and to be a part of their vision for this nation. By connecting with the candidates, we will ensure that ‘Nothing about us, without us’ is a part of the conversation we will have as a nation in 2016.”
Disability Partner Organizations (as of October 16, 2015)
- Bergen County’s United Way
- California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
- Easter Seals Iowa
- Iowa Statewide Independent Living Council
- The Jewish Federations of North America
- Mental Health America
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, Des Moines
- National Alliance on Mental Illness, Montgomery County
- National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD)
- National Respite Coalition
- Paralyzed Veterans of America
- Parent to Parent USA
- Service Center for Independent Life
- United States International Council on Disability
Is your organization interested in becoming a partner in these online town halls? There is no financial cost for nonprofit organizations to do so, but partners agree to help with marketing and other responsibilities. Contact Jenniferm@respectabilityusa.
RespectAbility also offers sponsorship opportunities for corporations.