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Kenneth Marcus Addresses Importance of Inclusion of Students with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., Sept. 5 – “Wherever you are, and whatever you do, there is a way of making a contribution if you have the will.”

That was the closing note of Kenneth Marcus’s speech at RespectAbility’s annual summit focused on the future of people with disabilities. “There are many different ways that you can be of public service,” he added.

As a long time civil rights lawyer, Marcus has been an advocate for the disability community for years. From 2004 through 2008, he served as the Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “There was really no area of law that wasn’t pertinent,” Marcus said of his career. The main part of his current job, though, is implementing regulations. “Law enforcement is a big part of what we do.” [continue reading…]

Senators Discuss Opioid Painkillers Overdose Epidemic

Washington, D.C., Oct. 27 – “I woke up in the morning to my wife screaming, ‘Thad, wake up! Thad, wake up!’” said Todd Burke, father of then 22-year-old Thad Burke. The grieving father spoke with a shaky voice through tears to an audience of journalists and advocates live on stage at The Washington Post’s panel on ‘Addiction In America: A Nation Responds’ last week.

Clutched in his hands a tin can of what formerly held protein powder that now held his son’s ashes, Burke shared his story.

Thadeus A. Burke died on Oct. 2, 2016. He was addicted to opioids and overdosed on heroin. He was one of the “estimated 62,000 people who died of a drug overdose in 2016,” according to Lenny Bernstein, a Health and Medicine reporter for The Washington Post.

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26 Governors Celebrate Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

26 States Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month with a Proclamation or Event (highlighted in red)

States Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month with a Proclamation or Event (highlighted in red)

Rockville, Md., Oct. 25 – In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), 26 governors have joined together to show their support through public proclamations, executive orders and press statements. Expanding employment opportunities is not partisan, as both Democrats and Republicans are quick to recognize the abilities of what people with disabilities can accomplish.

“Disability Employment Awareness Month is a great way to emphasize the importance of the contributions of persons with disabilities,” said Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana. “Our businesses and communities can greatly benefit from the integrated, competitive employment of persons with disabilities.”

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s NDEAM statement argued that “people with disabilities offer a wide range of expertise and play an integral role in our efforts to build an inclusive community and strong economy.”

The nation’s governors are critical partners in the continuing effort to advance job opportunities for millions of people with disabilities. Governors can drive policy, prioritizes programs and bring attention to what people with disabilities can accomplish if given a fair chance. Over the past four years, RespectAbility, a nonprofit fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, has had the pleasure of meeting with 44 governors to talk about disability employment and advocate for best practices. We have forged partnerships with Republicans and Democrats alike, who are committed to the idea that people with disabilities deserve the opportunity to earn an income and achieve independence, just like anyone else.

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Voters with Disabilities Matter – This Year and Every Year

National Voter Registration Day

woman with a cane and man in a wheelchair at voting boothWashington, Sept. 26 – RespectAbility is honored to participate in the sixth annual National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), a nonpartisan effort to encourage people to register to vote and make their voices heard in our nation’s political process. Today, organizations nationwide will register thousands of new voters.

However, if you read the news today, many people might feel discouraged, disconnected or unconvinced that their voices matter. Last year, it was clear that getting the vote out mattered with the high stakes of a presidential race and key Senate contests across the country. What about this year? Why should people get out, get registered and get out the voter in a quiet year like 2017? The reason is simple.

As the former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Tip O’Neill famously said, “All politics is local.” Did you know that 59 of the 100 largest cities in America are holding elections this year? Did you know there are 36 mayoral races and more than 360 city council races in 2017 alone? In communities across the country, local, municipal and state elections are taking place this year.

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Telling a Compelling Story of Something You Overcame

Learning from Political and Investigative Reporter Jonathan D. Salant

All of the fellows and staff standing in a large group against the wall with the RespectAbility logo all over it

Jonathan D. Salant with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff

Rockville, Md., Sept. 24 – “What is really a news story?” asked Jonathan D. Salant, an award-winning political and investigative reporter who graduated from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He posed this question to a group of Summer Fellows at RespectAbility, a nonprofit fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities.

Salant is the Washington correspondent for NJ Advance Media serving NJ.com and The Star-Ledger. His connection to disabilities developed at a younger age when his mother became the founder of a school for children with disabilities in Long Island.

Salant was the former president of The National Press Club (NPC), also known as “The Place Where News Happens.” NPC began 100 years ago as a place for male reporters to get together after work to socialize. Now it is a place to receive training and a gathering spot for social activity. Two to three times a week, national figures are invited to address the NPC during a luncheon that airs live on C-SPAN.

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#LA2CapHill

From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities
Featuring Leah Daniels-Butler, Casting Director and Producer, Tommy Morrissey, the One-Arm Golfer, and Marc Summers of The Food Network

Rockville, Md., July 28 – RespectAbility invites you to our free one-day summit, From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities, geared toward bridging the gap between entertainment, politics and disability advocacy. This entirely accessible event is open to the public.

The summit will take place on Monday, July 31 from 8:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. at the Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The summit will celebrate the good that can be done to end stigmas and advance opportunities for the 57 million Americans with disabilities.

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From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: Full Lineup of Speakers Announced

head shot of Leah Daniels-Butler wearing a blue collared blouse color photo

Leah Daniels-Butler

Rockville, Md., July 27 – RespectAbility announces the final line-up for next week’s summit From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities. The summit will take place on Monday, July 31 from 8:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. at the Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room (RHOB 2168) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

The summit will celebrate the good that can be done to end stigmas and advance opportunities for the 57 million Americans with disabilities.

headshot of Marc Summers wearing a black suit and blue shirt with arms crossed in front of a kitchen set

Marc Summers

Featuring:

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Practical Lessons in Polling

Advice from World-Renowned Pollster Stan Greenberg

Stan Greenberg and RespectAbility Fellows standing and seated in a posed photograph, smiling for the camera

Stan Greenberg with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff

Rockville, Md., June 30 – As the Fellows in RespectAbility waited in the conference room for a leading pollster to enter the room, the intimidation increased after being told how important this person is.

Stanley B. Greenberg is a world-renowned pollster and New York Times best-selling author. He is known for advising business leaders with a broad knowledge of social and modern economics, along with being a polling adviser to presidents, prime ministers and CEOs globally. He has conducted deep research in more than a dozen countries.

Greenberg visited the RespectAbility office to meet with the Fellows. He previously teamed up with the organization by conducting polling on voters with disabilities in comparison to voters without disabilities. He also conducted a focus group with Republicans who work on Capital Hill and what they know about people with disabilities.

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