December 2017
International Day of Persons with Disabilities

" Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all"
Today is a special day for the global disability community. Have you stopped by the USICD website to read the UN Secretary General's message on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities?

I also hope you are connecting with USICD on Social Media, sharing our Facebook posts, and re-Tweeting our Tweets. Our social media links at the bottom of this message.

We are looking forward to celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Tuesday evening at our Gala at the Embassy of France in Washington, DC. However, as we are celebrating, we will be thinking a serious issue happening in our government that is impacting people with disabilities worldwide.

USICD is deeply concerned about Secretary Tillerson's letter to Senator Corker in which he outlined his plan to eliminate the Special Advisor on International Disability Rights position.

USICD has created a webpage that provide details and includes the letters that USICD sent to Secretary Tillerson at the beginning of the year and then again during the summer.

If you would like to help, we have included a sample letter to Secretary Tillerson that can also be sent to President Trump, and courtesy copied to Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The sample letter provides examples of the important work that was accomplished under the previous Special Advisor, Judith Heumann.

In addition to writing letters, creating a webpage, and socializing the issue on social media, USICD met with several members of Congress this year to introduce them to USICD, share our programmatic priorities, and our concerns about the above issue. We also spoke to them about our concerns about USAID and the lack of a disability coordinator. Read more here...

The absence of disability leadership with the appropriate authority within the U.S. Department of State and USAID can mean several things:

  1. The needs of over 1 billion people, 15% of the world population are not being taken seriously by the current Administration.
  2. There is a lack of disability inclusion in USAID's solicitations for funding (read our White Paper) which eventually has negative consequences for people with disabilities trying to access on U.S. taxpayer funded projects overseas.
  3. Countries seeking expertise in their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) are looking elsewhere.
  4. U.S. disability leaders and U.S. businesses are missing out on valuable opportunities.

Finally, the political commitment our country made to the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals will ignore cross-cutting disability issues because of the lack of leadership.

These are just a few examples...

Please consider becoming a member of USICD. Our voice is stronger with you at our side. Donations are also appreciated as we will require more staff to focus on these issues and raise awareness across the country.

Thank you,

Isabel Hodge
Executive Director