Jessica with retired Senator Harkin in his Washington, D.C. office. (photo above)
More than one billion people on our planet have a disability—yet most still struggle to escape discrimination. The U.S. has been the world leader in promoting the rights of people with disabilities—until recently.
You can help change this.
An international disability rights treaty based on The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), aims to promote human rights and protections for people with disabilities around the globe. The world counts 173 ratifications/accessions to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)—but not the U.S.
In 2012, despite broad bi-partisan support, the U.S. Senate failed to ratify the CRPD by just five votes. It hasn't come to a floor vote since.
Call on your Senators to support the CRPD. Your name will be delivered in person to the Washington, D.C., offices of Senators to convince them it is the right thing to do.
Sign below to say:
I support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I urge you, and your fellow Senators, to support the disability treaty when it next comes to debate and a vote.
Ratification of the CRPD is free. Ratification does not change U.S. law. Ratification tells the world that the U.S. is serious about protecting the rights of people with disabilities.
Please, Senator, lend your support to the U.S. joining the disability treaty.
Last May I heard about a new film coming to the big screen called Me Before You— a love story that featured a main character with a disability named Will. I was very excited. However, as the disability community also got wind of the film, we soon learned that the portrayal of Will’s disability was not what we imagined or hoped for.Read more
Today something happened to me that has not happened in a long time—I lost my balance and fell flat on my face. My husband heard my scream and was bewildered to see me on the floor. Fortunately, I did a "face plant" onto the living room carpet, and only suffered carpet burns. I cannot remember the last time this happened. I use my right foot to accomplish so many tasks, I’m normally perfectly poised balancing on one foot.Read more
Friends, today I have a special favor to ask. Please, if you haven't done so already, join me in my efforts to advance disability rights by signing and sharing this HI petition urging U.S. Senators to support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), also know as the Disability Treaty.Read more
I’m thrilled to announce that Right Footed, the documentary film about my life and work as a disability rights advocate, is scheduled to appear in numerous film festivals around the U.S. this summer and fall. Check the listings to see if you can catch a screening in your area. If there isn’t a screening near you, don’t worry, more venues are being added. The official movie website will always have a complete list of screenings.Read more
Last month, I traveled to Rome to attend the Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival. I was there for the European premiere of Right Footed, a documentary about my life that features my work with HI in Ethiopia and the Philippines. The director, Nick, couldn’t make it. Neither could my husband Patrick. So, I set off on June 21 for my first solo international trip.Read more
When people see me for the first time, they tend to view me through the lens of their assumptions of what it means to be a woman with a disability. They see me in terms of limitation—of all the things they assume I can’t do. They simply cannot imagine living without hands or arms.Read more