D090 Engaging the Church in Advocacy for Disability Rights

Original version

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That The Episcopal Church reaffirm its commitment to preserve and advance the civil and human rights of all Deaf people and people with disabilities; and be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention recognize that despite significant progress in this regard over the past several decades, many Deaf persons and people with disabilities still face significant barriers to full integration in community and society, including but not limited to lack of communication access, unnecessary institutionalization, lack of access to appropriate services and supports, barriers to education and gainful, meaningful employment; and widespread discrimination in everyday life; and be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention direct the Office of Government Relations and Episcopal Public Policy Network to partner with Deaf- and disability-led organizations to support national and international legislation and advocacy consistent with the Church’s commitment, and engage Episcopalians in supporting those efforts.

Explanation

The Episcopal Church strives for inclusion of all God’s children and has expressed on numerous occasions a desire for people with disabilities and who are Deaf to be involved in the Church’s work and mission.

OGR and EPPN have already been charged with disability advocacy under 2016-D071 Ratify UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This resolution follows in the same vein, but authorizes EPPN and OGR to do work on broader disability rights issues.

There is a significant opportunity for to partner with organizations led by Deaf people and people with disabilities who are providing important leadership on disability and Deaf policy and advocacy. These organizations include the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), ADAPT, the National Council on Disability (NCD), among others.

Partnership with these organizations would result in wider Church awareness of accessibility policy and legislation on disability and Deaf issues, as well as an opportunity for Church community members to directly advocate issues that affect not only people with disabilities, but also those who are poor, those who are seniors, and those who have illnesses.


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