pproximately 70% o working-ageAmericans with disabilities don’t havejobs. As a result, millions live in or nearpoverty and are denied access to achievingthe American dream.For too long people with disabilities havebeen an aterthought in the corridors o political power. They are typically used aspolitical pawns in the days beore electionsand then orgotten or months or yearsthereater. I we are to be a true democracyALL voices must be heard, including thosewho cannot always literally stand up andspeak out or themselves.Until now the disability communitywas ragmented into individual eorts,undermining the power o collective action.With your help all that can change.RespectAbility is a new Washington, D.C.-based nonprot non-partisan organizationwhose mission is to empower citizens withdisabilities and their loved ones to have aseat at America’s public policy and politicaltable so they can work to achieve theAmerican dream.
“All men are created equal andendowed with equal rights.”
As Abraham Lincoln said, these permanenttruths rom our Declaration o Independenceare “applicable to all men and all times.” Now, hundreds o years ater the oundingo America, and long since, women, racial,ethnic and religious minorities have begun toclaim their own rights, it is long overdue orAmericans with disabilities to claim theirsas well.
RespectAbility will comprise threeessential components:1) We will use top experts in strategiccommunications and the latest inpublic opinion research (includingocus groups and polls) to understandthe hopes, dreams and challenges oAmericans with disabilities, and thentranslate that inormation straightto policymakers in Washington andleaders across America.2) We will seek and vet cost-eectivebest practices to help people withdisabilities achieve independence.3) We will use sophisticated strategiccommunications to share bestpractices with decision-makersincluding government ofcials,other policy makers, campaignconsultants, media, philanthropists,CEOs, human resource directors, jobcreators, clergy, nonproft and leadersin other arenas.
In the short term our core work will ocuson helping Americans with physical andintellectual disabilities, mental health issues,as well as wounded warriors, get or createjobs and become independent. In orderto leverage the power o our research andstrategy RespectAbility will partner withexisting nonprot disability organizationsand leaders. We will provide them with reepublic opinion research resources and mediatraining so that they can be more eectiveadvocates or America’s approximately 57million citizens with disabilities.