The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
July 28, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
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.
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.
April 27, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Greenpeace members hang a banner from a construction crane across from the State Department in Washington, D.C. © Greenpeace / Taz
This afternoon, police arrested approximately 100 disability rights advocates - many in wheelchairs - at a protest in front of the White House.
The protest, by the disability-rights group ADAPT, is in support of the recently-introduced Community Choice Act, which will give people with disabilities and older Americans who rely on Medicaid the choice to receive long-term care from community-based attendants as an alternative to nursing homes.
Also today, Rep. John Lewis, D. Ga., was one of five members of Congress who were arrested for civil disobedience outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C. The protesters were calling for Sudan's government to reverse a recent decision to expel international humanitarian agencies - such as Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam - from the Darfur region of Sudan.
Since 2003, more than 300,000 people have died in Darfur in a conflict between ethnic rebel groups and the national government. The United Nations reports that nearly 5 million people in the region currently rely on international humanitarian aid to survive.
And early this morning, Greenpeace activists hung a giant banner protesting global warming from a construction crane near the State Department. The message on the 600-square-foot banner, a photo of the planet earth and the phrase "too big to fail," was intended for government delegates from 17 countries who are attending the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.
April 13, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
In honor of its 63rd anniversary, the Paralyzed Veterans of America has made this week PVA Awareness Week, in order to celebrate its successes and achievements and highlight some of its current challenges.
During the week, PVA and its 34 chapters are holding events around the country to increase awareness about their work.
In addition, every day this week the PVA website will be providing information around a particular area of their work, starting with today's theme of their work to make sure veterans receive the health care and benefits they are due.
Currently, the veterans health care system has so many problems that some veterans wait for months before they can see a doctor.
President Obama recently announced plans to create a federal electronic database to better track veterans' medical records. The database will be overseen by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which will allow them to share information more easily.
Active members' health care is managed through DOD. Once a soldier is released from active duty, the VA takes over administering health care. Currently, the two agencies maintain separate databases and it's common for information to get lost during the transition from active duty to civilian.
"We are delighted that the President is making veterans a top priority for his administration … The issue of seamless transition of electronic medical records is a nut that needs to be cracked and will remove much of the needless red tape that folks coming home from conflict have to deal with," said Homer S. Townsend, national executive director of PVA.
The other PVA Awareness Week themes are: promoting wheelchair sports and recreation, advocating research into new treatments and cures for spinal cord injuries, increasing accessibility for people in wheelchairs, and empowering paralyzed veterans.
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