Lindsey Gordon is from Roswell, Georgia, and an active member of NFTY-SAR. The following is a speech Lindsey gave during a RAC L’Taken seminar, lobbying the staff of Georgia Senator David Perdue.
Everyday I go to school and say the Pledge of Allegiance. Every time I say it the last 3 words stick out to me the most. Those three words are “justice for all”. How is it justice for all when people with disabilities still lag behind in the National Average for having a complete education? Are they lacking in their educations because they actually cannot learn or because they are placed in schools where the teachers are not willing to teach the students the way they need to be taught. How is it justice when 29.2% of the disabled people live in poverty because of their lack of education? How is it justice when the people with disabilities are discriminated against for how they look and work to the point where they are often ignored as potential employees?
56 million people have disabilities. 15 percent of the world’s populations live with a disability. Every one in five people has a disability, and 100 percent of those people have family, friends, and acquaintances that are affected by their disability. That exponentially increases the number of people that are affected by disability issues in America. It is evident that living with a disability is a major issue not only in America, but around the world.
I believe that to every problem there is a solution. Our solution in this case will never be to rid people of their disabilities, but to make them believe that it is not actually a hindrance anymore. The way this can be done is if our Senate will ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, otherwise known as CRPD. The goal of this convention is to represent an international effort to bring the world closer to achieving the goals of equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. CRPD helps people with disabilities by giving the government ideas on how they can improve lives for people with disabilities in their country. For example, it would make traveling and working abroad for the people who are disabled possible. Not only that, but it would make living at home in the US a lot easier as well. It does this by increasing accessibility across the board and it could, in fact, lead to these people living on their own. The CRPD has no change in laws, and no additional costs are required to ratify it.
In summation, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will focus on helping treat people with disabilities equally under the law and prohibit discrimination on the basis of the disability.
In a country where kids say the Pledge of Allegiance every day, it is so important to mean what we say. We want to mean justice for all. As the leading country of the world we can help make disabled people’s lives a lot easier by coming together with the other countries in the UN and signing this treaty. Thank you!