Tell Congress: Support People with Disabilities Worldwide
This week, the Senate will hold a second hearing on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In July 2009, the United States signed but did not ratify CRPD. The Convention is based on the ideals of the Americans with Disabilities Act, intended to empower persons with disabilities to be independent and productive citizens. The need for this treaty is great - 650 million people, some 10 percent of the world's population, live with a disability. Now is the time to urge your Senators to ratify the Convention and support people with disabilities worldwide.
Watch a video from URJ's Kutz Camp on the importance of supporting people with disabilities worldwide:
In July 2009, the United States signed but did not ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Convention is based on the ideals of the Americans with Disabilities Act, intended to empower persons with disabilities to be independent and productive citizens.
The CRPD represents an international effort to bring the world closer to achieving the goals of equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. There is a great need for this treaty across the globe. Approximately 650 million people, some 10 percent of the world population, live with a disability—making them the world’s largest minority. In developing countries, 90% of children with disabilities do not attend school. In the United States the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 15% in 2011, nearly twice as high as the rate for those without disabilities (which was 8.7%).
The CRPD would also provide significant benefits at home too. It would make traveling and working abroad possible for more Americans, especially those who do so frequently, such as veterans with disabilities or military family members with disabilities.
The CRPD now stands at a crossroads. The CRPD was voted on in the Senate in December 2012, but—despite bipartisan support—failed by just five votes Now is the time to tell Congress to ratify the CRPD and support people with disabilities worldwide.
The Reform Movement has long supported the rights of people with disabilities, drawing upon what we are taught in Leviticus 19:14, that “You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind.” We are commanded to be proactive in bringing down barriers placed by society, whether intended or not, before people with disabilities.
In an historic collaboration, the Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist and Reform Jewish Movements have come together to formHineinu, an innovative collaboration of the disability professionals from each stream sharing resources, support and direction in order to increase disability Inclusion in our synagogues for people of all abilities.
Every Jew has a right to practice their Judaism in the community of their choosing and we, as Jews, have a responsibility to ensure that this is both possible and practical. The four movements come together in affirmation that Inclusion is a Jewish value. Isaiah 56:5 teaches "For my house shall be a house of prayer for all people."
Contact your Senator and urge him or her to support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Capitol Switchboard can be reached at 202.224.3121.