Posts filed under Advocacy

Do Our Votes Really Count? Re-Thinking the Political Participation of the Disability Movement

Written by Ethan B. Ellis.

I just completed an online survey asking my priorities for the newly elected majority in the House of Representatives. It was pretty long.

I could have checked off women’s rights and I did.

I could have checked off LGBQ rights and I did.

I could have checked off voting rights and I did.

I could have been for health care for all, campaign finance reform, a living wage, gun control, rebuilding our infrastructure, reducing income inequality, ending war and a whole lot more and I was - and am.

But there was no place check off disability rights on that agenda.

I also got hundreds of fundraising emails before the election. They all wanted my money and many used surveys to get it. I could be for everything good and against everything bad, but I COULDN’T BE FOR DISABILITY RIGHTS, MY OWN RIGHTS!

Posted on November 15, 2018 and filed under Voting, Advocacy, Volunteer Blog.

Talk's Over. VOTE!

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Written by Ethan B. Ellis.

Everybody’s made up their mind by now. The only question left is how many of us will vote.

I’m 84 but I will. I just got out of the hospital this week but I will. I have cerebral palsy but I will. I use an electric wheelchair but I will. My hands no longer can mark my ballot so my 12 year-old son will mark it for me and I will.

Why?

Because I want to keep my health insurance despite my pre-existing condition, because I want to avoid a having a limit put on how much health care my insurance will pay for during my lifetime.

Because I want my wife and son to be able to pay for Social Security and get it like I have.

Because I want them to have Medicare when they retire like I do.

Because I want them to have Medicaid if they need it.

Because I want my friends with disabilities to enjoy the rights I didn’t grow up with but helped win.

Because I want my son to to live in country where everyone is equal.

Because I want him to live in a country where rich people no longer pay politicians to make them richer and make poor people poorer.

Because I want him to live in a country where everyone gets the services they need regardless of what they cost.

Because I want him to live in a world where nobody goes hungry or thirsty and everyone breaths pure air and drinks clean water and no one is displaced or dies because of climate change.

Because I want our democracy back so his vote will count at least as much as mine .

I wasn’t born. yesterday. I know I won’t get these things just by voting this year but that’s the best tool available to me - and you - right now. After the election, we’ll have time to decide what we have to do next to win back our democracy and gain full equality but right now the vote is our best weapon. Let’s use it for ourselves and all who and what we hold dear.

See you at the polls.


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed by this author, are the views of the author only. The views expressed in this article do not represent the views of the Alliance Center for Independence/REV UP New Jersey, its staff or board. ACI and REV UP NJ are non-partisan, not for profit 501 (c) (3) organizations, and do not endorse any candidate for political office or political view point.

Posted on November 1, 2018 and filed under Voting, Advocacy, Volunteer Blog.

PETITION: People with Disabilities Need Straws

The New Jersey Disability Community wholeheartedly opposes efforts by companies, cities, and states to ban single use plastic straws. These policies create barriers to independence, community integration, and daily living for people with disabilities, work counter to our community ideals of universal access, and place an unnecessary burden on people with disabilities to fight for the accommodations we need to live independently.

Posted on October 10, 2018 and filed under Voting, Advocacy.

Edison Mayor Holds Ceremony to Commemorate ADA Anniversary

On July 26th, ACI staff, volunteers and friends gathered at the Edison Township Mayor's office to commemorate the 28th Anniversary of the American's with Disability Act. Mayor Thomas Lankey read a proclamation, which recognizes the significance of the law and to "proclaim, Thursday, July 26, 2018, to be a day of celebration and renewed commitment to the Americans with Disabilities Act." The event also included a ceremonial raising of the disability flag in front of the Edison Municipal Complex and featured speeches by CJ Dodge, Nybil Ghanem and Luke Koppisch. We would like to thank Mayor Lankey and Edison Town Council President, Ajay Patil, who also attended the event.

To watch the full ceremony, please visit: http://108.58.128.218/CablecastPublicSite/show/1110?channel=1

Posted on July 26, 2018 and filed under Advocacy.

Washington DC Road Trip to Oppose Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill

UPDATE (9/26/17): THERE WILL NOT BE A VOTE! thehill.com/policy/healthcare/352503-senate-wont-vote-on-obamacare-repeal-bill

Thank you to the NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities for sponsoring a van trip to Washington DC on September 25th to participate in the hearing opposing the Graham-Cassidy health care bill.

During the trip, the group discussed the implications of the bill and how it could effect the disabled and elderly. We made signs in the van, and once in Washington went inside the Dirksen Senate Office Building and joined ADAPT and other disability organizations in chanting "No cuts to Medicaid! Save our liberty!"
 
We had the opportunity to speak with other advocates from around the country and catch up with some old friends. The hearing room, hallway and overflow room were packed with people and media from all over. It was an incredible effort by all.

When the hearing ended, we visited Senator Booker's office to express our gratitude for his support of Medicaid. The Senator was not available, but we were able to talk with his staff and write thank you's in his sign in book.

On our way home from Washington, we received word that Senator Collins was voting no! The advocacy in Washington and those who submitted testimony, called their Senators and participated in rallies and events is having an effect. Please keep calling and using social media. The advocacy and fight is not over yet!

Posted on September 25, 2017 and filed under Advocacy.

CALL TO ACTION: Vote NO on the Proposed Federal Budget!

On March 15th 2017, President Trump submitted his first Federal budget to the 115th Congress. It features cuts of $54 billion to federal agencies, an increase of $52 billion in military spending, and tax cuts.

The budget will have a negative impact on people with disabilities, low income individuals, seniors and children. Members of the US Senate and Congress need to know that this is unacceptable!

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the 2018 budget proposal:

  • Cuts SNAP (food stamps) by more than $193 billion over the next ten years.
  • Cuts $72 billion over ten years from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income - which provide income benefits to individuals with disabilities.
  • Cuts, by $22 billion over ten years, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant and Contingency Fund, which provide funds to states for short-term income assistance, work programs, and other crucial supports for poor families with children.
  • Eliminates the Social Services Block Grant, a $1.7 billion program that provides states with flexible funding for services such as adult day programs for seniors and people with disabilities, child care, and help for children who are at risk of abuse and neglect, among others. 
  • Large cuts in rental assistance that would eliminate housing vouchers for more than 250,000 lower-income households, costing these households aid that helps them pay the rent and avoid homelessness.
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In addition, the budget would cut health assistance to low and moderate income people by $1.85 trillion over ten years. $1.25 trillion of which will come from the proposal to from the House bill to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and $610 billion of additional Medicaid cuts. New Jersey stands to lose $31 billion in Federal funding of Medicaid over 10 years, as a result.

What can you do to prevent this budget from passing?

Call your US Senators!
Senator Menendez (973-645-3030) and Senator Booker (973- 639-8700).

Call your US Representative!
You can be connected to your representative by contacting the House switchboard at (202) 224-3121.  If you wish to speak specifically about Medicaid or other healthcare issues in the budget, ask to speak with the Representative's Heathcare Staffer.

Tell them to vote "NO" on the President Trump's proposed budget. Indicate that the budget proposal will put the lives of people with disabilities at risk!

For more information:

Posted on June 14, 2017 and filed under Advocacy, Voting.

Responses to ACI and REV UP NJ's Gubernatorial Candidates Questionnaire

According to the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS), approximately 845,000 individuals, or 9.7 percent of NJ residents, have reported having at least one type of disability. People with disabilities accounted for 7.3 percent of the state’s 18-64 year-olds, and 3.5 percent of the state’s children under age 18.

ACI and REV UP NJ have requested that the NJ gubernatorial candidates participate in completing a questionnaire to better inform NJ voters with disabilities on where they stand with important issues. Click the buttons below to read the responses that we've received so far.

UPDATE 5/22/17: Responses from Democratic candidate, Raymond Lesniak, have been added.

UPDATE 5/31/17: Responses from Democratic candidate, Phil Murphy, have been added.

UPDATE 6/1/17: Responses from Democratic candidates, John Wisniewski and Jim Johnson, have been added.

UPDATE 6/1/17: Responses from Green Party candidate, Seth Kaper-Dale, have been added.

Posted on May 18, 2017 and filed under Voting, Advocacy.