Many countries and companies are making exceptional strides in providing accessibility opportunities to those with disabilities who desire to travel. I came across this video on YouTube that discussed Berlin, Germany’s focus on creating barrier-free environments when it comes to its museums, mode of transportation options, the social scene (the popular pubs), and being able to move about the city safely. I was quite taken aback at how advance Germany’s accessibility systems were, and the fact that Germany is a leader when it comes to accessibility in Europe.
On September 30, 2013, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation declaring October 2013 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. In his proclamation, the President urged employers and those in hiring positions to seek out individuals with disabilities to participate in our workforce and contribute their unique gifts and talents to our society.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy’s website, as of September 2013, only 20.9% of people with disabilities in America were active participants in the American labor force; those without disabilities made up 68.8% of the labor force. The overall unemployment rate in America for September 2013 was 6.8%; the unemployment rate of people with disabilities, however, was 13.1%. With people with disabilities making up such a small percentage of the workforce and yet a very high percentage of unemployment when compared to their able-bodied counterparts, this puts the population at an incredible disadvantage socially, financially, educationally, mentally, and hinders their ability to become independent members in society.
Today is Blog Action Day, a day where thousands of bloggers from around the world post about the same theme. Human Rights is this year’s theme.
I decided to share the great drawing by a very talented freelance graphic artist named Gavin Aung Than, the creator of Zen Pencils. (The drawing is found at the end of the posting.) His drawing for Blog Action Day sparked me to write something about the importance of human rights for people with disabilities. The United Nations have taken tremendous steps in advocating for human rights for people with disabilities on an international scale. Its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol on December 13, 2006 allowed the status of those with disabilities throughout the world to be on the consciousness of world leaders. On the opening day of the Convention, 82 nations signed the Convention, and 44 nations signed the Optional Protocol. Those signatures were the highest numbers ever in the history of the UN. The CRPD was the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the new century.
Watching last night’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars” on ABC caused me to think about the most memorable moments of my life. The stars from last night’s episode had to dance to a song that epitomize the experience(s) they had during a specific time in their lives that changed the way they viewed themselves, their relationships, and the world around them. Watching the deep reflections & epiphanies of celebrities like Christina Milian, Amber Riley, Elizabeth Berkley, Jack Osborne made me recount the most memorable moments in my own life.
Part 2 will continue the discussion of the current events in America, with a focus on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and how it affects all Americans, especially those with disabilities.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) & the Changes It Entails
October 1st marked the opening of the Healthcare Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace was established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is the policy that is under siege by the shutdown. The Marketplace provides a new means for Americans to find quality health coverage that is more affordable to their particular health and financial needs and circumstances. The hope for the Marketplace is that it will provide great assistance to those who are currently without health insurance, or those who are interested in doing some healthcare “window shopping” to get more bang for their buck. The enrollment period will be open for 6 months, and coverage under the ACA will begin as soon as January, 1, 2014.
Unless you have been living in your survivalist bunker over the past week, you cannot escape media coverage regarding the government shutdown, the new healthcare marketplace for the Affordable Care Act (widely known as Obamacare), and how these current events are affecting you and those in your communities. The stark feelings of how Americans view the 113th U.S. Congress who is responsible for the shutdown, as well as how welcomed or villianized the implementation of ACA are not covert. Everyone has an opinion (or several) about how program cuts, furloughs, etc., will affect the average American family, but what about the 50+ million Americans with disabilities?
This week’s articles will paint a clear picture of the discussions we are all having around the country about the state of the nation. Today’s post will discuss the government shutdown, and how federal programs that provide healthcare and nutrition services are being threatened.
One of the many Ironside show promotion images on the internet.
In its modern remake, NBC will revive the late ’60s-mid ’70s television hit, Ironside, tonight at 10 pm EST / 9 pm CST. Ironside tells the story of Detective Robert Ironside, played by actor Blair Underwood, who does not let a spinal cord injury he suffered from a bullet wound keep him from catching the bad guys in New York. From the previews of the remake, Ironside tells the story of how Underwood’s character doesn’t allow being in a wheelchair to slow him down, or affect his ability to do the best job possible for the city he serves.
Important Disability-Related Videos You Should Watch
Here's the Out of Step's TOOST Radio interview I participated in as a panelist on Nov. 6th, 2013. During the interview, I discussed my personal & professional viewpoints about the choice of discussing disability status while seeking employment opportunities. The part that I'm featured begins 15:29 minutes into the interview.
In this video, Beyoncé helps Kid President with World Humanitarian Day 2013. The Kid President has OI like I do. I think that his messages are ones that all walks of life & ages can learn from. I'm so jealous that he met one of my idols & favorite music performers, Beyoncé! I wanted to share with you all the interview the Kid President did with Beyoncé for World Humanitarian Day, which was August 19th, 2013.