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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Disability Rights

The disability rights movement has long challenged myths and stereotypes that inaccurately portray people with disabilities as unemployable, incapable of education, or unable to become contributing members of society. Limiting the potential of people with disabilities limits the potential of our entire nation.

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Department of Labor to Measure Federal Contractors’ Compliance with Veterans and People with Disabilities Employment Rules

December 19, 2013 - Posted by Hannah Cornfield

The House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections recently held a hearing to examine the Department of Labor’s recent final rules from its Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regarding federal contractors hiring of veterans and people with disabilities.

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Disability Treaty CRPD, an Opportunity for American Leadership

November 22, 2013 - Posted by Hannah Cornfield

Human rights activists filled the room to support Senate ratification of the disability rights treaty at the second hearing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on November 21.

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Disability Rights Advocates Call for Transportation Equity

March 1, 2012 - Posted by Sandy Thomas

At a recent briefing on Capitol Hill, civil rights, human rights, and disability rights advocates discussed how federal transportation policies can be improved to meet the needs of one of the nation’s most transit-dependent communities: people with disabilities.

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At Senate Hearing, Advocates Discuss Lack of Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities

November 28, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Disability rights advocates emphasized the need for accessible public transportation at a recent Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing.

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Lawsuit against Netflix Demands Equal Access for the Deaf

June 17, 2011 - Posted by Avril Lighty

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed a federal lawsuit against Netflix yesterday alleging that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide closed captioning for most of its instant and streamed content.

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Employment of People with Disabilities Improving, but Disparities Remain, According to Surveys

October 22, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Twenty years after the enactment of Americans with Disabilities Act, gaps and disparities in the employment situation of people with disabilities still remain, according to recent surveys conducted by the Kessler Foundation and the National Organization on Disability (NOD).

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Juvenile Detention Last Resort for Mentally Ill Youth

August 19, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

As states continue to cut funding for mental health programs, mentally ill youth are increasingly held in juvenile detention rather than receiving the medical care they need.

Currently, about two-thirds of inmates in juvenile detention centers across the country have a diagnosed mental illness. Juvenile detention centers often fail, or are ill-equipped, to provide mentally ill youth with the help they could get from mental health facilities. 

At least 32 states have cut community mental health programs this year and plan to double reductions by 2010. Ohio has reduced funding for community-based mental health services by 34 percent. California's recent budget cuts entail cutting $92 million in funding for mental health services and reducing funding for community clinics by as much as 30 percent. 

State cuts to mental health services exacerbate an already tough situation for many mentally ill youth seeking care.  According to a 2006 study, for every 100,000 youths there are fewer than nine child psychiatrists.   

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Dr. Aziza: An Inspiration for All People

August 12, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Dr. Aziza Baccouche, a nuclear physicist, freelance TV producer and motivational speaker, is breaking barriers for the blind. 

At eight years old, Dr. Aziza lost her vision to a blood clot and has since undergone five brain surgeries. Yet she overcame her disability to become one of a handful of blind people to gain a doctorate in nuclear physics and has successfully pursued a career in television, producing segments for CNN and PBS and serving as those networks' first blind on-air correspondent. 

Seventy percent of blind Americans are currently unemployed, a figure Dr. Aziza believes is largely a result of employers' reluctance to hire people with disabilities.  Dr. Aziza hopes to transform employer perceptions of blind people and is currently producing a biographical film "Seeking Vision", to encourage all people to pursue their dreams.

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U.S. to Sign U.N. Human Rights Treaty on People with Disabilities

July 28, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

People rallying in support of the disability rights

A July 2008 march in support of the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act

President Obama recently announced that the United States will sign on to the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at a ceremony commemorating the 19th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

"Until every American with a disability can learn in their local public school in the manner best for them, until they can apply for a job without fear of discrimination, and live and work independently in their communities if that's what they choose, we've got more work to do," said Obama.

Under the Convention, signatory nations are required to prohibit discrimination based on disability in employment, education, housing, medical care, and other areas and ensure that mass media like television, newspapers, and the internet is provided in accessible formats for the visually and hearing impaired. Nations are also required to collect data and research on people with disabilities to track and eliminate disparities in opportunity. A U.N. committee will monitor compliance with the treaty and review a comprehensive report to be submitted by signatory nations at least every four years.  

In the fall of 2008, Congress overwhelmingly passed and President Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008, which overturned recent Supreme Court decisions that had reduced protections for certain people with disabilities – including people with diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, mental disabilities, and cancer – who were intended to be covered by the original ADA. According to the Census Bureau, more than 54 million people in the U.S., or 19 percent of the population, have some level of a disability.

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New Proposal Fills the 'Doughnut Hole' for Medicare Recipients

June 30, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

Last week, the Obama administration announced a proposal that would cut in half the prescription drug costs for all Medicare recipients who fall into a coverage gap in their drug plans.

As the nation's largest federal health care program, Medicare covers nearly 40 million Americans, primarily seniors over the age of 65 and people with disabilities. The Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) allows Medicare patients to obtain insurance that covers some of their prescription drug costs.

Currently, more than 26 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in the plan, but about 26 percent of them are affected by a coverage gap.  Medicare covers costs up to a specific point and then beyond a certain point, which forces beneficiaries that fall between these coverage levels, commonly referred to as the "doughnut hole," to pay for drugs out of their own pocket or stop taking medications if they can't afford to pay.

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