A national coalition of consumer and professional organizations offers the new Administration a number of initiatives to address our access needs as Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing.
On November 8, we were heartened to witness so many of us Americans, with or without a disability that had voted last Tuesday in the general election. After about eighteen months with both the Democratic and Republican primaries and then the general election, the American people have spoken with the choice of Mr. Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
TDI extends its sincere congratulations to Mr. Trump – the President-Elect, and Mr. Mike Pence – the Vice President-Elect, and we pledge our total support to the new Administration to work with them on access issues that greatly impact on the needs of the American deaf and hard of hearing community.
It is appropriate that TDI expresses its deepest gratitude to the defeated Democratic nominee for the US presidency, Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton for offering her credentials to the American people to ascend to the nation’s highest executive office. We thank her for over thirty years of public service, and strong commitment for the needs of the disability community. Since when we enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, we have been blessed to see both Democrats and Republicans make every effort to address our disability access needs in a bipartisan fashion.
In the next few months, TDI will be joining forces with other national organizations of, for, and by the deaf and hard of hearing and the rest of the national disability community to work with Mr. Trump and members of his Administration. We also look forward to working with members of the 115th U.S. Congress, and appointees from the Trump administration for a number of federal agencies.
TDI and sixteen other national and state organizations of, for, and by the deaf and hard of hearing sent a letter with a public policy document on September 30, 2016 to the top officials of the Trump and Clinton campaigns, the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee, and the Trump and Clinton transition teams. The national coalition of seventeen consumer and professional organizations in the deaf and hard of hearing community is as follows:
- American Association of the Deaf-Blind
- American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association
- Association of Late-Deafened Adults
- California Coalition of Agencies Serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Communication Service for the Deaf
- Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf
- Cerebral Palsy and Deaf Organization
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network
- Deaf in Government
- Deaf Seniors of America
- Gallaudet University Alumni Association
- Hearing Loss Association of America
- National Association of the Deaf
- National Association of State Agencies of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
- Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- The National Family Association for Deaf-Blind
The public policy document proposes a number of initiatives in leadership and public policy for the new administration. The link to this document is here.
These initiatives cover a total of 75 recommendations in 7 areas:
- Civil Rights Protection & Enforcement
- Health Care
- Telecommunications, Information Services, and Video Programming
This document focuses on addressing the human and civil rights of approximately 48 million individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, deafblind, and deaf-mobile, at least fifteen percent of the entire American population across a broad spectrum of areas:
- Promoting civil rights through legislative, administrative, and enforcement actions.
- Improving the quality of education and related services, and ensuring appropriate transition services.
- Increasing employment opportunities through new initiatives and the provision of reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
- Ensuring effective early intervention systems; access to health care, including substance abuse and mental health care; and insurance coverage for hearing health care, including hearing aids, other assistive technology, and comprehensive rehabilitative services.
- Increasing the availability of safe and accessible housing.
- Providing equal access to telecommunications, information services and video programming, realizing the potential of broadband services, and enabling public safety improvements through accessible emergency communications.
- Ensuring accessible transportation information, services, and facilities.
With every opportunity, we look forward to collaborate with the new Trump Administration, the 115th U.S. Congress, sister groups from the national disability community, the business community, and other stakeholders to address our access issues and needs so that eventually we have equal rights and privileges of first-class American citizenship to succeed in every stage of life, from “cradle to grave.”
We stand ready to serve as a partner and resource to further the goals of the new Trump Administration in accord with our community principle of “Nothing About Us Without Us.” Together, we get to move forward as a nation to address the needs of all Americans, from cradle to grave, through the delivery of consumer-directed policy and services; by incorporating universal design; and by embracing the diversity of our experiences, abilities, and cultures.