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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

HuffPo Adds Disability Content Page; NCIL Urges Our Members to Sign Petition to Recognize Disability as a Demographic

By Sarah Blahovec, Advocate for greater recognition of the disability community in politics in the media

Sarah BlahovecEarlier this year I successfully petitioned Huffington Post to add a curated disability content page. In the continuing interest of promoting greater visibility of the disability demographic, I have started a new petition targeting some of Washington’s biggest think tanks and advocacy organizations.

Did you know that the Pew Research Center, Center for American Progress, and Human Rights First do not include disability as a demographic in their research and advocacy? It is mind-blowing and upsetting to see that these organizations neglect to recognize the world’s largest minority. It means that the disability rights movement is not recognized as a legitimate social justice movement in the same way that racial and ethnic, LGBT, and women’s rights are recognized (all of these organizations research these topics extensively).

I have written these organizations to ask why they don’t view disability as a demographic to research and serve, and if I’m not met with complete silence, I get the answer that they “don’t have enough resources” to include disability as a demographic. Nearly 20 percent of Americans have disabilities and they don’t have enough resources to study trends and issues within that demographic? I feel like this is one factor that contributes to the fact that disability is almost entirely excluded from policy discussions. While presidential candidates are courting women and including race in their platforms, persons with disabilities aren’t even recognized within the context of issues vital to them, such as healthcare and Social Security. With an absence of information on people with disabilities’ voting trends or interests, it’s no wonder that candidates don’t even recognize that there is a huge voting bloc that they could tap.

I feel like this is a simple change for these massive organizations and is a first step toward greater representation of persons with disabilities in politics. Please sign the petition today!

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