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My heart is bleeding for the people of Baltimore and other communities who are struggling with challenges. We have been paying attention to police violence in Maryland for some time. While we focus on disability issues, we are all a part of our community overall.

When a young man with Down syndrome was killed by police in Maryland, it was not an isolated incident. Likewise, too many innocents of all abilities and races are being killed. And still, we recognize and value the role of police and the good intentions of the vast majority of those in law enforcement. No grievance – no matter how big or how real – ever justifies violent attacks on innocent people or institutions.  We must stand up against violence, and do the hard work to create solutions. No one group can do this alone. We must break down silos and work together. However, we cannot afford to make the mistake of thinking this is just about the tragic killing of Freddie Gray. It is about finding holistic solutions.

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Today is a somber day. It’s Holocaust memorial day. I am so deeply grateful that my father was able to escape the Nazis in 1939. Most of our family on his side was not so lucky. They were killed. I am so grateful to the many allied troops and others who made freedom and survival possible. Without them the world would be a different place. May the memory of all who died be a blessing, may the lessons of that terrible time never be forgotten.

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Please see the story below about Jeb Bush, who has not yet officially announced his candidacy, doing an event tomorrow to celebrate the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act in Mississippi.  Earlier Gov. Phil Bryant made Mississippi Employment First for people with disabilities. Also make sure to read our piece about Hillary Clinton’s video failing to show people with disabilities here.  We will treat all candidates equally, but we want to see ALL of them covering these issues.

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RespectAbilityUrges Hillary: Don’t Forget People with Disabilities! 

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday the Hillary Clinton campaign released its launch video, which included many different individuals and families who represented diversity in America. But nowhere in the video could you see anyone with a disability. This is a key voting group across America, including the four first voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Responding, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of, a national non-partisan organization advocating for America’s 56 million people with disabilities, said, “Fully 20% of Americans have a disability and the majority of voters have a loved one with a disability. We urge Hillary Clinton and all the other Presidential candidates to focus on jobs for people with disabilities. We want to be included in the ‘Opportunity Agenda!’”

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Honorable Committee,

Thank you for your leadership on expanding opportunities through the successful implementation of WIOA.

As you know from my previous testimony, my name is Jennifer Mizrahi and I am the President of RespectAbility, a national nonprofit working to enable people with disabilities to achieve the American dream. We know that people with disabilities deserve to have jobs and careers, just like anyone else.

Together with our partners NCIL, Best Buddies, NOD, NACDD, and PVA, we have developed the Employment First Planning Tool, which we shared with you earlier I urge you to read and share it along with our state-by-state statistics that can help in state performance metric dashboards.

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Washington, DC. As presidential candidates and political leaders gather for CPAC, RespectAbility, a non profit, non partisan organization devoted to empowering people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, urged candidates from all parties to put people with disabilities into the “Opportunity Agenda.” Said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President of RespectAbility, “Our nation was founded on the principle that anyone who works hard should be able to get ahead in life. People with disabilities deserve to be able to work to achieve the American dream, just like anyone else.”

Companies including Walgreens, E.Y. (which was formally known as Ernst and Young), AMC and others have shown that employees with disabilities are loyal, successful and help them make more money. When we find the right jobs for the right people it can and does increase the bottom line of companies. There is a substantial body of evidence-based practices that show how people with disabilities can have tremendous success if the right programs are put into place. RespectAbility has developed a resource called the Disability Employment First Planning Tool. This document details what those practices are and what models are most effective.

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Testimony of RespectAbilityUSA

Today I am testifying to the United States Department of Labor on key factors regarding how the new WIOA law is implemented to expand jobs for people with disabilities.

Given that these discussions can impact $17 BILLION a year of how our tax money impacts workforce development, it is vital to use best practices. Please see my summary statement below and the two very important attachments. Together we can really create progress which can reduce poverty and make our country stronger.

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Today in New Hampshire Sen. Rand Paul made an unfortunate comment about people with disabilities when he told a group of New Hampshire legislators that people on disability assistance were “gaming the system” and that “over half the people on disabilities are anxious or have back pain – join the club.”

Watch the video:

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Je Suis Charlie!

As a champion for equality for people with disabilities, Je Suis Charlie too. The terrorist attacks were aimed at freedom, liberty and equality. They harm us all. Humanity is like a tapestry with many different colored and textured threads. Woven together, we can keep each other warm, beautiful and safe. Torn apart we are nothing more than tiny bits of threads and scrap. The world is a better place when ALL people are respected for the gifts they have.

The work we do at RespectAbility is not fighting against terrorists – but it is fighting for the very VALUES they are trying to destroy. Every human being must be valued. For that to happen, every person must count – literally. What do I mean, and how does this apply to our work? This past week many celebrated that the unemployment rate in America went down to 5.6%. However, most people with disabilities who are working age were not counted in those numbers at all! That is because the government only counts people who are actively looking for work, and many people with disabilities, facing low expectations and harsh stigmas, have given up. So we have spent months simply counting.

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Slingshot Guide Highlights the Best of Non-Profit World

Bethesda, Maryland – RespectAbility, a new national, non-profit, non-partisan organization working to enable people with disabilities to achieve the American dream – including full inclusion in religious life, has been named one of North America’s top innovative organizations in the tenth annual Slingshot Guide. Slingshot is a creation of Jewish philanthropists and non-profit experts who are focused on results-driven non-profit organizations. The Slingshot Guide has become a go-to resource for volunteers, activists and donors looking for new opportunities and projects that are truly innovative. Groups chosen for the guide went through a deep vetting process.  RespectAbility was selected from among hundreds of finalists reviewed by 112 professionals with expertise in grant-making and communal life. Slingshot 2014-15 was released today.

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Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.


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Rockville, MD 20852
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