Guest post by Curtis Ramsey-Lucas, Director of Interfaith Engagement, American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
The Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC), a program of AAPD, is proud to count Lutheran Services in America among its members. Together we work to mobilize the religious community to take action on disability policy with Congress, the President and Administration, and society at large. Currently we're mobilizing people of faith across America to sign a letter encouraging candidates to address disability concerns in their campaigns.
The letter 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 notes that "persons with disabilities are more than twice as likely to be impoverished and unemployed as non-disabled individuals; a reflection of devastatingly real discrimination." The letter encourages candidates for public office to address these disparities and set forth a "vision to encourage the civil rights of people with disabilities, and to promote their full inclusion in society."
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.
Margaret Mead famously said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Lutheran Services in America serves six million people annually, touching the lives of 1 in 50 people in the U.S. every year. Imagine if just a portion of those individuals joined others from IDAC member organizations by signing this letter. Candidates would stand up, take notice, and be encouraged to address the disparities between disabled and non-disabled Americans and to set forth a vision that advances the civil rights of people with disabilities and promotes their full inclusion in society.
Individuals and organizations are invited to sign the letter. To do so, click here