Posts tagged with "politics"

Sara Sandman, 360 MAGAZINE, illustration, community service, philanthropy, humanitarian

COVID-19 TOWN HALL

Today, BET announced a partnership with civil rights organization and stewards of human rights, the NAACP, on a four-part tele-town hall series “Unmasked: A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series Powered by NAACP & BET” focused on how the pandemic is affecting African Americans and what steps the community can take to build an action plan for positive change. The first town hall kicks-off on Wednesday, April 8, at 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT, and will focus on the health, emotional, economic toll, congressional response and how activists can apply pressure to ensure legislation is equitable. Viewers can participate LIVE via an interactive toll-free conference call that will also be streamed at https://naacp.org/call-to-action-program/. To participate via phone dial 866-757-0756 and to join the conversation on social media follow @NAACP and @BET.
 
“As the world faces unprecedented times and new realities during this global pandemic, the health and safety of people around the planet, particularly African Americans, are at an unparalleled risk,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP. “The occasion to uplift and educate our community during this pivotal moment charts a pathway forward through uncertain times. The NAACP, in partnership with BET, is committed to rising to meet this moment head-on through this informative four-part series focused on the health, economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the African American Community.”
 
“As the devastation from the COVID-19 pandemic mounts, BET is developing partnerships and programs to support our community through this global health and financial crisis,” said Scott Mills, President of BET.  “We’re proud to work with our long-time partner the NAACP on this important town hall series that will provide comprehensive information for African Americans that will empower and help the community move forward during these difficult times.”
 
In the United States alone, close to 200,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed. Because of the racial and economic inequities embedded in our country’s infrastructure, the effects of the coronavirus could be compounded for Black and Brown communities. The town hall series will help separate facts from myths and directly address how to ensure that the policies and practices that are born out of this pandemic justly address the health, economic and social needs of all people. The weekly series will focus on issues such as the state impact, response, and what comes next to advocating for your local community to the impact to schools, school systems, colleges, and exposed divisions.

sara sandman, 360 MAGAZINE, business, tech, illustration

NAACP × STIMULUS PACKAGE

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, made the following statement about Congressional passage of the $2 trillion stimulus package in response to the coronavirus. 

“This legislation is a critical step toward addressing the needs of the American people who are most at risk. After much negotiation, the final version resulted in an improved, if incomplete, response to the litany of harms caused by this crisis.  

But Congress has much more work to do. The NAACP will continue to advocate for a fair and equitable recovery plan for marginalized and under-resourced communities. In providing future relief, Congress must prioritize people first, not corporations.  

Impacted communities will undoubtedly need to receive repeat direct cash payments to help them weather this crisis. From workers who have lost their jobs to small businesses that will be forced to close to students drowning in student loan debt, we must ensure the safety of our communities and economy through cash injections and other forms of support, without stipulation, for those that are suffering. Additionally, our hospitals and health providers throughout this crisis need continued support to ensure all communities receive testing and treatment. We must expand paid family and medical leave for more workers. We must meet the food and nutrition needs of our most vulnerable families through this treacherous time.  

Above all, while this bill provides a downpayment to securing our democracy in this time of crisis, we recognize more robust action is required and quickly. The proposal allocates $400 million to protect elections when in reality states need $4 billion — ten times that amount — to ensure secure voting. We should not be forced to choose between our health and our vote. Congress must significantly increase funding to states so they may adopt a variety of measures to administer elections in a safe and accessible manner. Failing to protect our democracy is not an option in this critical election year. 

The NAACP urges Congress to begin work on another COVID-19 response package quickly. For the duration of this crisis, we will continue to fight for measures to protect the health, safety and well-being of underserved and overlooked communities.”

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

William Anthony Allen – Harlem’s Renaissance

by Abigail Baldwin × Vaughn Lowery

Earlier this month, 360 had the opportunity to sit down with the award-winning community activist William Anthony Allen. After many years of serving Harlem as a community leader and on the District Council, Allen is exploring the possibility of running for City Council serving the 9th District.

Harlem has long been a beacon of Black culture, community, and heritage since the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, the Harlem that William Anthony Allen knew was one of unity, familiarity, and freedom. According to Allen, “Crack cocaine came and killed all that. It stopped people from going to the community. It created mistrust. It changed how people participated politically and how they saw themselves. A great number of the working class and middle class of Harlem began to look at other options.” Allen describes his childhood in Harlem as poor but centered in the community, “people were so loving like they were aunts and uncles, but they really were not a blood relationship. The way they treated you, felt like family.” He watched as crack cocaine and the crisis to follow attacked the infrastructure of Harlem and divided the community, giving way to gentrification. “Black people don’t own the businesses in their own neighborhood anymore and young people say that can’t afford to come back to Harlem,” he says. Allen has completed housing and community development efforts in New York, as well as health care and social services proposals on a local, state and federal level. His efforts have always been lead by a desire to uplift the community and uphold the “great legacy” of Harlem, “particularly for African Americans.”

But what are his plans? How does Allen intend to use his experience in the community to serve them at a City Council level? He told 360 he would begin by “sitting down with parent leaders, senior citizen leaders, youth leaders, and really talk about mapping it out in terms of how do they see the future of this community, what do they want from it, and make that the blueprint.” He calls for the people of Harlem to define their own community and make their own decisions, with himself as a representative of their interests. “I’m going to be fighting very hard to address the housing inequities and disparities, helping to lower the cost of housing,” he told 360, “making sure that folks that really want to make a contribution to the life of this city can afford to be here.”

Allen lamented that a particular program that had been around for nearly fifty years, the Addicts Rehabilitation Center (ARC), has closed, “without those services, gentrification moves us all out.” Allen is fighting to get these programs reestablished, but he specifies that black and brown people should be running these programs for the community, “I want to make sure that the people that are running the program are culturally correct.”

In his youth, William Anthony Allen attended Fordham University in the Bronx where he was the first non-white person to serve as Vice President of the Student Council. Later, he transferred to CUNY where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper. Now, he is the founding member of a local charter elementary school. He recognizes that education is of the utmost importance. In City Council, Allen plans to create a network through Historically Black Colleges. “We need to make learning and knowledge sexy,” he says, so everyone, regardless of there circumstance can step up and participate in the betterment of their community.” Of his current efforts, he says, “I’m organizing a network of black influencers to address crisis issues that affect black people across the country.” These crisis issues include police relations, employment discrimination, gentrification, and inadequate schools.

For himself, Allen’s goal is, in his own words, “to be known as the guy who brings everybody together to have dialogue and then create action.” He says to not only the Black community but to the youth of Harlem and the LGBTQ+ community, “Tell me how I can support you to have a strong voice.”

“Harlem represents a great legacy, particularly for African Americans. And our entry, not only here into the city but what we have done for the nation,” says Allen, “We need to leverage that.”

sara sandman, 360 MAGAZINE, business, tech, illustration

SCLC FIGHTS FOR POOR

With all Americans bearing the brunt of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), today called on President Donald Trump and the U.S. Congress to make sure all Americans benefit from the nearly $1 trillion that will be spent to restore the health of citizens and the economy.
 
“I want to weigh in on behalf of regular people,” said Dr. Steele, who currently heads the civil rights organization co-founded and first led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “We have seen this socialist bailout of corporate America before. As the Trump Administration and Congress prepare to help some corporations, hand out new contracts and create new jobs to address this pandemic, we must ensure that billions ends up in the hands of the people who have been historically left behind. Poor people, black and brown people, must be recipients of these gifts of generosity that normally go to corporations.”
 
President Trump has said efforts are underway to financially assist corporations that have been hit hard by Convid-19, including the travel and cargo industries. He has announced plans to assist small businesses, but there are no specifics how those disbursements will be handled, and he has announced plans to give all families at least $2,400 to help them through the crisis.
 
“When it comes to bearing the weight, it is not fair that the corporations get the support when the rest of us starve,” Dr. Steele said.  “We saw our government bail out the banks during the housing collapse. We also bailed out the auto industry and Wall Street. Those industries recovered, but we didn’t. Most black and brown people lost their homes. We lost our wealth. Nearly 75 percent of poor people are living from check to check. Many of us have no health insurance. We can’t afford to take a day off work.”
 
Dr. Steele said the SCLC, which has focused on the plight of the poor and the voiceless since the days of Dr. King, has received calls for individuals and groups who are concerned about how individuals with no jobs and insurance will fair during this pandemic and recover after the crisis is over. 
 
“They are asking, ‘Where are our leaders,’” Dr. Steele said. “They are not seeing them standing up to make sure the real money will flow down to the people most impacted. That is why the SCLC is taking a stand. We must fight to make sure our government does not repeat what has happened in the past. We need more than $1,200 to catch up in America. We will not be left behind this time.”

ABOUT THE SCLC:

Established in 1957, the SCLC, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a now an international organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans: north, south, east, and west. Its sphere of influence and interests has become international in scope because the human rights movement transcends national boundaries. For additional information about the SCLC, visit www.nationalsclc.org.

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

SCLC × 50-Mile March

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference Is Inviting the Presidential Candidates to Participate in the 50-mile March from Selma to Montgomery

Issues Impacting African Americans Deserve More Focus Than Appearing Briefly for Photo Opportunities, SCLC President and CEO Dr. Charles Steele, Jr. Says 

With Super Tuesday just a few days away, and capturing the black vote in the 015 jurisdictions crucial to winning the coveted seat, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)  is extending an invitation for the Democratic presidential candidates to participate in the historic 50-mile march from Selma to Montgomery. 

The reenactment of the march, which was originally led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the SCLC’s co-founders and its first president, begins at 8am on Monday at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and concludes on Friday on the steps of the Alabama state capitol in Montgomery.

Monday’s march follows the 55th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” which occurred on March 7, 1965 when more than 500 demonstrators, participating in a right to vote march, were met with violence by state troopers and others after they crossed the bridge. The bridge crossing is commemorated every year, but every five years the SCLC organizes the long walk from the bridge to Montgomery. At the end of the march, civil rights leaders, politicians and other influencers give speeches about freedom and equality and other important public policy issues. 

“We are extending this invitation for the presidential candidates to join us on Monday morning, because this historical event is about more than a photo opportunity on Sunday,” Dr. Steele said.“ The real education begins on Monday when we discuss during  march to Montgomery the concerns about poor people, the voiceless and those who are still trying to reach the mountaintop.”

Dr. Steele, fresh off of a presidential candidates and public policy forum in Columbia, S.C., said there are several key issues that the organization wants the presidential candidates to address, including the restoration of the Voting Right Act, jobs, healthcare, education, economic development in black communities, funding for historically black colleges and universities and reparations, which will provide compensation to the descendants of slaves whose forced free labor helped to develop the United States as the world’s leading economy.

“We as African Americans have never been free in this country,” Dr. Steele said. “Everyone has had access to capital. Everybody has been accepted in society, but we as ex slaves and African Americans have never been given a hand up. It is always a hand down.”

Dr. Steele said the march is a teachable moment for those who believe the masses of African Americans are in a much better place economically following the eight-year reign of President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, and as they witness the successes of a few blacks such as Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and Jay-Z. The reality, Dr. Steele said, is that some blacks are in a worse place economically than blacks were in 1965 and even during the Jim Crow era.

“During the housing collapse, we lost 60 percent of black wealth,” Dr. Steele said. “The wealth creation was in our homes. We once had dozens of black banks, but now we only have 17. In five years, some experts predict we will not have any. In the next 20 to 30 years, it is predicted that black wealth will be eradicated. There is a conspiracy of keeping capital away from black folks. They talk about the stock market. Well, our people don’t have jobs so what do they care about the stock market?”

While the SCLC does not endorse candidates, Dr. Steele said some candidates are identifying with the SCLC’s mission and goals. When candidates talk about restoring the Voting Rights Act to its original intent, and when one speaks about reparations, jobs, and funding for HCBUs, then that opens the door for all candidates to address those issues.

“When we hear them talk about these issues, they give us hope,” Dr. Steele says. “If they address those issues, they will lift up poor people, and if they lift poor people, remove racism and provide black people with access to capital, then we are getting closer to realizing the dream.”

Elizabeth Warren, presidential candidate, essence magazine, essence.com, 360 MAGAZINE

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: ESSENCE.COM OP-ED

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) pens an exclusive op-ed for ESSENCE.com entitled, Closing the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Good. In this piece, she talks about the threat that young students of color face every day, rethinking the approach to public education and public safety and more. She states:

“In the 1990’s, hundreds of police officers were deployed to public schools across the country as a component of the war on drugs and later in response to school shootings. Today, at least fourteen million students attend schools staffed with a police officer — but without a single counselor, social worker, psychologist, or nurse.

The result is that in many cases, an infraction as simple as back talking or skipping class that should end in detention or administrative intervention can end in arrest. Over the years, the implementation of policies from Zero-Tolerance to surveillance to criminalizing lateness and absenteeism have created a system of loopholes that trap our most vulnerable students in a pipeline kept alive by the for-profit prison system. It’s a system that disproportionately hurts black and brown students and undermines their learning…As President, I will work to close the school to prison pipeline, by rethinking our approach to public education and public safety…”

In addition, she reflects on her recently revealed plan to invest $800 billion in public schools and how she would invest “an additional $100 billion in ‘Excellence Grants’—that’s equivalent to $1 million for every public school in the country—to invest in things like after school arts programs and school-based student mentoring programs…” This would be in an overall effort toreduce the impact of systemic racial and economic disadvantage on students.

For more, visit ESSENCE.com.

NBA and China

The American public strongly supports the Houston Rockets general manager’s tweet regarding Hong Kong and China’s rights conflict. (Daryl Morey, the GM, tweeted support for the Hong Kong protesters seeking freedom from Chinese oversight.  The Chinese reacted with disdain and business with the NBA was threatened).Only 9 percent of the public thought the Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, should be fired, with 77 percent saying the Rockets should keep him and defend his freedom of speech.  14 percent said they did not know or had no opinion.

In addition, 54 percent of the nation feels Daryl Morey should be applauded for taking a stand supporting the Hong Kong protesters, with only 19 percent saying he should not have sent the tweet because it risked valuable relationships over a foreign domestic issue.  27 percent did not know or had no opinion.
These are the findings of a Seton Hall Sports Poll, conducted this week among 703 adult Americans across the country on both landlines and cellphones.  The Poll has a margin of error of +/-3.8 percent.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver first apologized for the tweet but later backtracked and showed support for freedom of speech.  46 percent of the public felt he handled it well, and 36 percent say he did not, with 18 percent saying they did not know or had no opinion.

52% Say Lebron James’ Comments were out of self-interest

LeBron James tweeted condemnation of Morey, claiming “he wasn’t educated on the situation” and endangered people “not only financially but physically.”  Only 28 percent thought his reaction was sincere, with 52 percent saying he acted out of financial self-interest.

69% expressed concern that China has so much influence over an American professional League, with only 23 percent saying they are not concerned.

Morey’s Tweet vs. Kaepernick’s Kneeling

Comparing Morey’s tweet to Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem, 47 percent said both actions should be defended as free speech, with 16 percent saying that it only applied to Morey and 5 percent saying it only applied to Kaepernick.

There are big differences between Democrats and Republicans on this comparison.  59 percent of Democrats and only 29 percent of Republicans say that they should both be defended as free speech, while 7 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Republicans say that it only applies to Morey.

“The fundamental right of free speech seems to have carried the day in favor of Daryl Morey’s tweet,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business. “It is much clearer when applied to a foreign power than to a domestic one.”

For more information, visit here.  (Questions and results breakdown below, an online version of this release may be found here.

 

Rebecca Friedrichs’ book #1 on Amazon

Friedrichs appeared Sunday on Fox News Channel’s “The Next Revolution” with Steve Hilton to discuss how corrupt teachers’ unions inject their agenda into every aspect of the education system and beyond. Watch the full interview here.

When asked about the school choice debate, Rebecca stated, “There’s only one reason America does not have school choice teachers’ unions state and national teachers’ unions.”

According to Rebecca, state and national teachers’ unions employ teachers’ dues money to plan, lobby for and enact a radical leftist social, sexual and political agenda. This is despite the fact that, according to three internal studies* conducted by the NEA, most teachers lean conservative. This means most teachers unknowingly fund — via their union dues — the demise of their own beliefs, safety, authority, and classrooms. Rebecca says the best remedy is for Americans to adopt teachers educate them through her book Standing Up to Goliath, and empower them to reject union control.

After the interview, Rebecca’s book Standing Up to Goliath jumped to #1 on Amazon’s best-seller list in all three of its categories — Educator Biographies, Education Reform & Policy, and Labor & Industrial Relations. Due to the influx of demand, Amazon has been forced to delay shipping while awaiting more copies from the publisher.

*NEA’s Status of the American Public School Teacher 2005-2006 (most recent available)

 

Will Candidates Talk About Disability at the Debates?

This year marks the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) becoming law. The ADA was intended to ensure that people with disabilities could earn an income and achieve independence, just like anyone else. With the Democratic candidates debating this week in Detroit, the question remains if any of the candidates will address the one-in-four adults in the U.S. who have a disability from the debate stage.

Just 12 of the 20 Democratic candidates debating this week made any mention of the ADA anniversary on Friday.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden tweeted that he was “proud to have cosponsored the Americans with Disabilities Act” and thanked Sen. Harkin for his “vision & persistence” to ensuring its passage, “a critical step in the fight for equal rights for people with disabilities.” Biden also talked about his own stutter, tweeting that his parents taught him “that being different is no barrier to success.”

“Today, on the Act’s anniversary, we must recommit to fully breaking down barriers so everyone has the opportunity to succeed—no matter their zip code, income, race, or disability,” Biden also tweeted. “As president, I’ll ensure everyone’s treated with dignity and respect.”

The Biden campaign also unveiled a new page on its website devoted to people with disabilities, joining the Sanders and Booker campaign in being the third campaign to do so. His plans, so far, include ensuring that children with disabilities “get the education and training they need to succeed;” protecting and building on the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid; training police departments for interactions for people with mental illness, autism or who are deaf “so misunderstanding does not lead to incarceration;” and to ensure people with mental health problems “are provided with the housing or other social services they may need.”

Cory Booker

Cory Booker, who also has a page on his website devoted to equality for people with disabilities, tweeted “We have more to do to ensure equality for Americans with disabilities who still face high poverty rates & barriers to health care & quality of life. As president, I’ll fight for equal rights & inclusion for people with disabilities.”

“As president, Cory will work to ensure accessibility, equality, and opportunity for all people with disabilities,” his website states, including, “break down barriers to accessing employment, transportation, housing, and health care with the Disability Integration Act; fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and raise wages for people with disabilities by phasing out the subminimum wage.”

The Booker campaign also has a new accessibility policy on its website. “Cory 2020 is dedicated to offering a quality online experience to those with disabilities,” it states. “Cory 2020 is working to achieve substantial conformance with generally-recognized and accepted guidelines for website accessibility… The website will continue to be assessed on a recurring basis in an effort to substantially comply with these guidelines.”

This is important as a study last month by the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired found that none of the 2020 presidential candidates have websites that fully comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Just a few days following this study, the Booker campaign had an hour-long phone call with RespectAbility detailing steps they could take to become more accessible – on their website as well as via social media, at events, etc.

Steve Bullock

“29 years ago today, the ADA began to tear down the walls preventing them from the fair shot they deserve,” Steve Bullock tweeted.

The Montana Governor also talked about his work as governor. “I fought for folks with disabilities to receive equal wages and work without discrimination — but we have a long way to go,” he tweeted. “On the anniversary of the ADA, we must all recommit to ensuring a fair shot for every American. As President, that’s exactly what I’ll do.”

Montana now ranks 8th in the nation for employment rates of people with disabilities with 31,935 of the 69,553 working-age (18-64) Montanans with disabilities being employed. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows Montana has maintained a 45.9 percent disability employment rate from 2017 to 2018.

Julián Castro

“For 29 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act has helped defend the rights of disabled Americans,” Julián Castro tweeted. “It is integral to building an inclusive, fair, and just nation and as president, I will defend and strengthen it.”

In a series of additional tweets, Castro outlined his People First policies, including “fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act,” strengthening housing protections, and fixing the system that leads to disabled people being killed by police.

“There’s so much more that needs to be done to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities, and I am committed to that cause,” he closed.

Kirsten Gillibrand

“29 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act codified protections against discrimination based on disability,” Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted. “My presidency will advance this fight, including having disability community representation in my Cabinet. Let’s keep working to make our society accessible for all.”

In May, Gillibrand made news with a new commitment of having someone with a disability in her Cabinet. The issue of hiring staff with disabilities on the campaign has been addressed by two other presidential candidates: Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg. Both of them have promised to hire campaign staff with disabilities, and O’Rourke promised to hire them to positions of leadership on the campaign and, if he wins, in the Oval Office. Buttigieg already has followed through with his promise of hiring a person with a disability on his campaign staff.

One month later, in response to a question posed to all of the viable 2020 presidential candidates by RespectAbility, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities for people with disabilities, Gillibrand’s campaign has pledged to not only “make accommodations to enable staff with a disability to perform their job without undue hardship” but also “to make volunteer opportunities inclusive and encourage creative solutions to allow people with disabilities to be an active part of our team.”

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris, who held an hour-long call with her supporters on this topic on Friday, wrote a blog post “recommitting to build an America that is fully inclusive and accessible for everyone,” noting that there is still a lot of work to do 29 years later.

She called for ensuring all people with disabilities receive the minimum wage or higher; equal access to educational opportunities for children with disabilities; and “access to quality health care and community supports and services.”

“As the former Attorney General of California, I know the impact that strong enforcement of civil rights laws can have on the lives of Americans,” she wrote. “That’s why I will appoint an Attorney General who prioritizes enforcement of the ADA, and all disability civil rights laws, and will double the size of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to ensure we have the resources to back up that commitment.”

Harris also unveiled her campaign’s Americans with Disabilities Leadership Council, which “will work closely with my team and me throughout this campaign to take on the issues that are most important to Americans with disabilities.”

Amy Klobuchar

“The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed 29 years ago today, ensuring accessibility for all Americans and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability,” Amy Klobuchar tweeted. “It changed millions of lives and we’re a better nation because of it.”

Disability is personal to Klobuchar. When her daughter was born, she could not swallow for the first two years of her life. “Many Minnesotans know a family or a person who has been affected by a disability,” she wrote in 2015. “For a lot of us, this is personal. … [D]uring those two years, I was able to see through the eyes of a parent of a child who was struggling, and I know that, like me, the parents of children with disabilities want what is best for their families — both now and for the years to come.”

Beto O’Rourke

“The ADA is a landmark law—but recently, it has been under attack,” Beto O’Rourke tweeted. “29 years after its passage, let’s build a country where Americans with disabilities have full access to education, opportunity, and the workforce, are treated with dignity, and can live to their full potential.”

Disability is personal to O’Rourke. His 38-year-old younger sister, Erin, has intellectual and developmental disabilities. She grew up in public special education classrooms in and around El Paso, TX and currently lives in a community for intellectually disabled adults. He is close to his sister and instructs his aides that “unless he’s in an interview,” he will stop everything to take her frequent calls. “Some longtime El Pasoans credit O’Rourke’s family with always proudly including Erin in all activities,” the Dallas News reported. What’s more, O’Rourke regularly mentions Erin on the campaign trail when discussing disability issues, particularly when it comes to education.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders called for recommitting to “championing the rights of people with disabilities,” citing a “moral responsibility.”

“We must guarantee people with disabilities the right to live in the community; truly integrated employment that pays a living wage; affordable, accessible housing; and the right to health care, including mental health care and home and community based services and supports,” he tweeted, following up with a tweet calling to get rid of “waiting lists and means tests.”

As he did in 2016, his campaign has a dedicated page on their website for disability issues. While some of the other campaigns have pages on mental health, the Sanders campaign was the first 2020 campaign to have a dedicated page on disability rights on their website.

“We need a president who will champion expanding the rights of people with disabilities,” his website reads. “Despite the progress that has been made over the past two decades, we unfortunately still live in a world where people with disabilities have fewer work opportunities and where the civil rights of people with disabilities are not always protected and respected. People with disabilities experience much higher poverty rates than people without disabilities. As a nation, we have a moral responsibility to ensure that all Americans have the support they need to live with dignity.”

It also is important to note that people with disabilities are included on his page outlining his commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. One of his organizational priorities, for example, is “increasing engagement of communities of color, women, those with disabilities, and all people historically shut out of electoral and caucus processes.”

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren tweeted several statements, the first of which she spoke about her first job out of college – “teaching students with speech and learning disabilities at a public school.” She witnessed firsthand how the ADA changed the lives of the children in her classroom.

“It not only helped dismantle prejudices about Americans with disabilities, it recognized their right to live, work, and love independently,” she tweeted. Yet, she said, there is more work to be done. “As I celebrate the ADA today, I’m committing to continue the fight to protect these rights every step of the way.”

Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson’s Instagram post and Tweet have come under fire from many in the disability community for insensitive language and her focus on visiting a sheltered workshop in Las Vegas that pays its disabled employees less than a dollar an hour. On Monday afternoon, her Instagram post was edited, removing any reference to Opportunity Village but not removing the phrase “differently abled,” a term the disability community does not use to describe themselves.

In her Instagram post, Williamson calls for people with disabilities being able to access “all educational and training programs,” including preparing children for with disabilities for “post-secondary education” and increasing funding for assistive technology.

Andrew Yang

“For 29 years Americans with disabilities have had a greater sense of dignity and respect,” Andrew Yang tweeted. “More work to be done but my family is thankful for the ADA.”

Yang is the father of two sons, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. The issues of early intervention and erasing stigma for people with autism is not just important to him. It’s personal. He believes so much in his Autism Intervention Program and Funding that he discusses them in person and on his website.

On his campaign website, he writes, “One of my boys is on the autism spectrum—I know how invaluable resources and intervention can be, particularly if adopted early on. Families struggle with this in very personal ways. As a country, we should provide ample resources to parents to be able to intervene to support the development of children with autism or who are exceptional in other ways. Many of these children have something unique to offer.”

Donald Trump

Current President Donald Trump, who is running for re-election in 2020, also commemorated the anniversary.

“Today, we renew our commitment to empowering Americans with disabilities through equal access so they can achieve their full potential, and we celebrate their contributions to our great Nation,” Trump said in a proclamation. “The more than 61 million Americans who are currently living with disabilities are part of the fabric of our Nation, and the ADA helps eliminate barriers to their full participation in every community across the country.  We are grateful for the ADA for helping to foster a vibrant culture of inclusivity in our Nation.”

Trump noted that the employment rate for people with disabilities has been growing recently.

“My Administration continues to encourage hiring individuals with disabilities, including through our Multi-Agency Task Force on Improving Employment for People with Disabilities,” he said in the proclamation, citing an Executive Order to increase apprenticeship opportunities for all, including people with disabilities. “This action has helped bring reforms to ineffective training and workforce development programs, better enabling Americans with disabilities to develop in-demand skills for a wide range of industries.”

Importance of the Disability Vote

“More than half of Americans with disabilities have reached out to their elected officials or attended a political rally in the recent past versus 39 percent of Americans without a disability or any disability connection,” said former U.S. Representative and Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett, citing a recent poll. Bartlett, who was a primary author of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, is the board chair of RespectAbility.

According to the Census Bureau, more than 56 million Americans live with some form of disability. This can include visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, visual impairments or hearing loss to people living with invisible disabilities such as learning disabilities, mental health or Autism.

Fully three-quarters of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member, or a close friend with disabilities. Therefore, as the 2020 candidates take to the debate stage, it is in the best interest of every presidential candidate and the citizens of this country for candidates to recognize disability issues at this time.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said, “Both including people with disabilities in your campaign and talking about this demographic at town halls and debates is the right thing to do but you don’t have to do it because it’s just the right thing to do. It also is the smart thing to do.”

Eight candidates did not publicly celebrate the ADA through a statement on their website or social media. These candidates include: Michael Bennet; Pete Buttigieg; Bill de Blasio; John Delaney; Tulsi Gabbard; John Hickenlooper; Jay Inslee; and Tim Ryan.

“Candidates for office ignore the disability community at their peril,” added Bartlett. “People with disabilities are politically active swing voters, and candidates should take note of the important issues they care about.”

Additional research conducted by Eric Ascher and Ariella Barker.

RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. View more coverage of 2020 presidential candidates.

Donald Trump Is Deliberately Distorting What Ilhan Omar Says About America

During President Trump’s attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar  he said: “And she looks down with contempt on the hard-working Americans, saying that ignorance is pervasive in many parts of this country.” Trump directly quoted an interview Omar did with national affairs correspondent John Nichols on the inaugural episode of Next Left, The Nation’s new podcast where politics gets personal with the next generation of leading progressive politicians.

Nichols is available for comment from Madison, WI, to explain how Omar’s comments were entirely mischaracterized and how, ironically, Trump is reaffirming Omar’s critique.

“It’s an interesting dynamic,” says Nichols. “What Omar was actually talking about was the way in which politicians, in this case Republican politicians, manipulate information to achieve political ends. And about her interest in countering the misinformation. If anything, Omar was putting her faith in the power of information, and dialogue, with people who do not share her views. She’s talking about challenging the politicians who foster misconceptions about refugees, and about presenting information that might counter those misconceptions—not about insulting voters.”

At the time of its airing, Omar’s Next Left episode was widely picked up by conservative media from Breitbart to FOX—with headlines like “Ilhan Omar: ‘Ignorance Is Really Pervasive in Many Parts of This Country’” and “Ilhan Omar on Trump voters: ‘Ignorance really is pervasive in many parts of this country” and “Ilhan Omar insults Republican voters: ‘Ignorance really is pervasive in many parts of this country.’”—which is likely how it came to the attention of the president and/or his staff. Nichols can also speak to how this right-wing echo chamber misinforms the president’s worldview.

In the actual interview, Omar said:

The Republicans are really good at misinformation and sort of really reorganizing facts to sort of paint a picture that really eventually is not rooted in fact…. And so it is not that they might not be knowledgeable about [resettlement programs], but they use it as a tool to stir up hate and division. And ignorance really is pervasive in many parts of, of this country. And as someone who was raised by educators, I really like to inform people about things that they might be ignorant to, willingly or unwillingly.

In that same interview, Omar told Nichols:

There’s a reason that I got elected to be in Congress and it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a refugee, an immigrant Muslim or woman, or Black woman. It’s because I am someone who has a particular lens about how we approach policy domestically and internationally and to many of the people here my approach is more threatening to them. And I think for them it is more pleasant for me to just be seen as like this person who, you know, is sort of like an example of like hope still being alive, which is wonderful. But I’m someone who is agitated about things, the way things work here. I’m someone who believes that Congress needs to be beholden to the people and not special interests, that we have to be consistent in our values, whether they are domestically or internationally, and that fighting for prosperity shouldn’t be that hard. We don’t have to settle.

ABOUT: From the grassroots to the ballot box, we are witnessing an explosion of progressive political energy. New candidates are running for offices high and low—and they’re winning. In Next Left, a new podcast from The Nation hosted by national-affairs correspondent John Nichols, these insurgent politicians let us into their lives, tell us

their stories, and explain how they plan to change our country for the better. New episodes air every Tuesday.

Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has chronicled the breadth and depth of political and cultural life from the debut of the telegraph to the rise of Twitter, serving as a critical, independent, and progressive voice in American journalism.