On November 4, 2008, millions of people with disabilities across the
United States and around the world joined our non-disabled peers in
watching the United States election results. Obama supporters cheered
or wept to learn that the next US president would be Obama. Then we
cheered or wept again when Obama mentioned people with disabilities in
his acceptance speech. History was made–not only for America, not only
for Black people, not only for Kenya and all of Africa, not only for
Indigenous peoples, but also for people with disabilities.
But we cannot afford to allow the moment to end here. Whether we
supported Obama, McCain, or another candidate, we all know there is far
too much work ahead before we can say, “Yes, we have made real change
for people with disabilities.”
It is time for people with disabilities, our loved ones, our neighbors,
and colleagues to join together, across ideological divides, to reach
out to Obama. We should all send an email to Kareem Dale, Obama’s
National Disability Vote Director (at email@example.com), WITH
COPIES TO Anne Hayes, a volunteer on the Obama Disability Policy
Committee (at firstname.lastname@example.org).
First, we should thank Obama — and also Kareem Dale — for mentioning
people with disabilities in Obama’s acceptance speech on November 4.
Ensure that they understand how much it matters simply for us to be
included. How did you feel when Obama mentioned us? Share your story.
Second, we should tell Obama and Kareem Dale that we are aware of
Obama’s disability platform. He promised to increase educational
opportunities; end discrimination; increase employment opportunities;
and support independent, community-based living for Americans with
disabilities. And he promised to sign the Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the first international,
legally-binding human rights treaty for people with disabilities. Tell
Obama and Kareem Dale that we are ready to call Obama to account if he
fails us. But more importantly, we are ready to work with him for
change for people with disabilities.
It is important to send your disability-related emails to BOTH Kareem
Dale AND Anne Hayes (email@example.com AND firstname.lastname@example.org)
between now and inauguration day. Kareem Dale’s email address may
change between now and January 20, 2009. Anne Hayes can help ensure
that emails sent to Kareem Dale are not lost during this time of
Both Kareem Dale and others who have worked on disability issues within
the Obama campaign are ready to receive YOUR emails on
disability-related issues for US President-elect Obama. Emails are
welcome from across the United States and around the world. If you are
a US citizen, then please say so in your email.
Learn more about Obama’s plan for people with disabilities at:
Yes, the video is captioned. And if you scroll down to the bottom of
the page, you can download Obama’s Full Plan for people with
disabilities in PDF format (62 Kb).
Read Obama’s acceptance speech at:
Want to read someone else’s letter to Obama before you write your own?
Learn more about the CRPD at http://ratifynow.org/ratifynow-faq/
If you wish to contact Obama’s staff on some topic other than
disability, then you can send an email via his web page at
Please circulate this email freely, or post this at your own blog or
This text was first posted at
obamadisabilities-email-obama/ The most updated version will be here,
so please consult before cross-posting.
“It is the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat
and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay,
straight, DISABLED and not disabled — Americans who sent a message to
the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue
States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
–President-Elect Barack Obama
Acceptance speech, November 4, 2008; emphasis added