Monday, November 10, 2008

A Call to Action

The following was written by Andrea Shettle at We Can Do. She has asked me to help get this message out, and others are encouraged to post it as well.

Change for People with Disabilities: Time to Email Obama!

On November 4, 2008, millions of people with disabilities across the United States and around the world joined our non-disabled peers in watching the United States election results. Obama supporters cheered or wept to learn that the next US president would be Obama. Then we cheered or wept again when Obama mentioned people with disabilities in his acceptance speech. History was made–not only for America, not only for Black people, not only for Kenya and all of Africa, not only for Indigenous peoples, but also for people with disabilities.

But we cannot afford to allow the moment to end here. Whether we supported Obama, McCain, or another candidate, we all know there is far too much work ahead before we can say, “Yes, we have made real change for people with disabilities.”

It is time for people with disabilities, our loved ones, our neighbors, and colleagues to join together, across ideological divides, to reach out to Obama. We should all send an email to Kareem Dale, Obama’s National Disability Vote Director (at, WITH COPIES TO Anne Hayes, a volunteer on the Obama Disability Policy Committee (at

First, we should thank Obama — and also Kareem Dale — for mentioning people with disabilities in Obama’s acceptance speech on November 4. Ensure that they understand how much it matters simply for us to be included. How did you feel when Obama mentioned us? Share your story.

Second, we should tell Obama and Kareem Dale that we are aware of Obama’s disability platform. He promised to increase educational opportunities; end discrimination; increase employment opportunities; and support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities. And he promised to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the first international, legally-binding human rights treaty for people with disabilities. Tell Obama and Kareem Dale that we are ready to call Obama to account if he fails us. But more importantly, we are ready to work with him for change for people with disabilities.

It is important to send your disability-related emails to BOTH Kareem Dale AND Anne Hayes ( AND between now and inauguration day. Kareem Dale’s email address may change between now and January 20, 2009. Anne Hayes can help ensure that emails sent to Kareem Dale are not lost during this time of transition.

Both Kareem Dale and others who have worked on disability issues within the Obama campaign are ready to receive YOUR emails on disability-related issues for US President-elect Obama. Emails are welcome from across the United States and around the world. If you are a US citizen, then please say so in your email.

Learn more about Obama’s plan for people with disabilities at:

Yes, the video is captioned. And if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can download Obama’s Full Plan for people with disabilities in PDF format (62 Kb).

Read Obama’s acceptance speech at:

Want to read someone else’s letter to Obama before you write your own? Come to:

Another letter is posted at

Learn more about the CRPD at

Learn more about the CRPD at

If you wish to contact Obama’s staff on some topic other than disability, then you can send an email via his web page at

Please circulate this email freely, or post this at your own blog, web site, or Facebook page.
This text was first posted at

The most updated version will be here, so please consult before cross-posting.

“It is the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, DISABLED and not disabled — Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.”–President-Elect Barack ObamaAcceptance speech, November 4, 2008; emphasis added


  1. Thanks so much for posting this, Bev!

    Here's a gift in exchange:


    I had been really hoping to recruit at least one Autistic blogger to the cause because I know that Autistic advocates have so very, very much to say -- and yet are heard so little in the places that often count the most. But if the on-line Autistic community can pull itself together to send many many emails to Obama's team -- both from individual people, and also organizations -- then maybe this once your voices won't be drowned out. This isn't specifically an Autistic campaign, but it could lend itself easily to a sort of "sub-campaign" focused on putting forth your own concerns to Obama's administration.

    In addition to writing your own emails, I hope others will copy/paste this into their own blogs and Facebook pages, or circulate via email, etc. among Autistic people, as well as people (including parents) who you consider to be good allies supportive of self-determination among Autistic adults. Do consult the original version first (I've already altered it slightly, to add a link to a second sample letter for people to look at. And will probably continue to make alterations as time goes on.)

    Thanks again, Bev!


    -- The Other Andrea ;-)

    (And now the Other Other Andrea will come along and complain about me calling myself the "other" Andrea when I'm obviously the first to post in this particular thread ... ;-) )

  2. Thanks for posting this. You're right -- there's a lot more to do, and we need to stay involved. I've listed "10 Ways to Make a Difference" and suggest contacting McCain and Palin too. See why at my blog, Special Needs 08.

  3. I'm nopt quite sure whether I should respond to this. As I'm not a U.S. citizen, don't live in the U.S. and have never BEEN there, it seems a bit wrong to campaign on U.S. domestic policy issues. I've joined in campaigns about Iraq, the environment and other stuff that affects the whole world, but as I'm not a U.S. voter, I'm not sure whether my opinion on Obama's disability policy matters.

    What do you think?

  4. Hi Bev - I would really like to follow your blog; however I have been unable to find the link on your blog page which will allow me to do so.....please advise.


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