Your USICD Donation Will Help People with Disabilities in the Caribbean Affected by Hurricanes

Group of people stand in two rows smiling at camera, standing people in the back and people seated in wheelchairs in the front row

Dear USICD Members & Friends,

On 19-20 August, I attended the 2017 Biennial Regional Disabled Peoples' International North America Caribbean (DPI NAC) meeting in Antigua. At the meeting, I was elected as the organization's Vice President. The next day, I traveled with the local Disabled Peoples' Organization, the Antigua & Barbuda Association of Persons with Disabilities (ABAPD) to visit islanders with disabilities. What I found was disturbing.

One gentleman had been lying in his bed for over 15 years and living in a shed that was falling apart with holes in the roof. 

With the help of volunteers, ABAPD was building him a new home but had run out of funds to complete it. Another individual experienced a stroke and was living in something much worse and used a cane that was falling apart. A young girl, Jamamarie, was about to turn 14 the next day and had not been to school in years because she lacked a wheelchair. She was crawling on her hands and knees and showed signs of infection. I promptly bought her a basic wheelchair and a cane for the other gentleman.

Yes, this is the reality in Antigua and Barbuda. A popular tourist spot for cruise ships and others who love to enjoy Calypso music, Caribbean food, and some of the best beaches in the world -- where people with disabilities are living in appalling conditions and being hidden away from tourists. ABAPD is resourceful and is working hard to change these circumstances for their peers with disabilities. But the lack of funds is holding them back.

Today, I write to you because I am deeply concerned about our brethren in the Caribbean. Hurricanes have devastated Barbuda and Dominica.  We are still waiting to hear from members of our sister DPI organization in the other islands and concerned that they are now rendered homeless due to flooding and hurricane damage and have lost anything of value, such as their mobility devices. 

Woman stands next to a man lying in bed

As the Vice President and regional council member of DPI NAC, USICD feels a strong responsibility to do something to help. So I write to you today to ask for your help in raising funds to assist the Disabled Peoples' Organizations in the region that have been hard hit by Hurricane Irma.

Please consider donating to USICD today! Your donations will be sent to DPI NAC and distributed to the region's disabled peoples organizations to help them purchase equipment and other medically necessary items.  Please use the designation "Hurricane Relief Efforts" when making your donation. 

Don't forget to share this message with your friends and colleagues!

Isabel Hodge
Executive Director

Board Member Testimonials


Board Members Judy Heumann, Jerry McCloskey, Candace Cable and Shelia Newman

Visit our new USICD Board Member Testimonials page to read why being a member of USICD is important to them.  Contact us to share your personal testimonial!

USICD Partners with the Embassy of Afghanistan on Disability Rights Conference

USICD Deputy Director, Isabel Hodge with Afghan IVLP delegates & government representatives and advocates.

On 23-24 May, USICD partnered with the Embassy of Afghanistan, the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council, and Georgetown University's Center for Child and Human Development to hold a disability rights conference on at Georgetown University.  
The Afghanistan Disability Rights Conference: From Policy to Programming was a follow-up to the first National Conference on Disablity Rights convened by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential palace in October, 2016. Under President Ghani, the Afghan government has made disability rights a national priority.
The conference, which included USICD Board members, Stephanie Ortoleva and Judy Heumann, focused on practical approaches for making inclusive education, inclusive public healthcare, and vocational training and employment opportunities a reality for Afghan citizens living with disabilities.
Afghanistan's Ambassador Dr. Hamdullah Mohib welcomed participants. Also during the first day of the event, prominent Afghan and international disability rights advocates spoke on panels and responded to questions from the audience. On the second day of the conference, USICD was honored to host the Afghan delegates for a Knowledge Sharing Workshop where they had the opportunity to speak with American experts from U.S. disability organizations.
Check out USICD's Twitter feed @USICD  or #AFGDisabilityConf to see photos from the event.

USICD Releases Consolidations of Disability Citations in the 2015 State Department Human Rights Repo

Each year, the U.S. Department of State releases an extensive compilation of human rights reports covering the previous calendar year for 194 different countries around the world. The full set of human rights reports for a single year can easily fill thousands of pages. For people who want to see only the disability-related citations woven throughout these reports, it can take a long time to wade through these thousands of pages to find them.

USICD's team has done the work for you! Each year, USICD staff and interns seek out references to disability issues throughout the State Department human rights reports and consolidate them into a single file for each major geographical region. These regional reports are also consolidated into a single, much larger file. Each file can be downloaded in accessible PDF format. The disability consolidations covering the year 2015 have just been completed and are now available via USICD's website. You also can find disability consolidations going back to the year 2010:
USICD's team is now working on consolidating disability citations that were in the US State Department reports covering the year 2016, which were recently released. We will announce in our newsletter when the 2016 consolidations become available sometime later this year.

AmazonSmile - A No Cost Way to Donate to USICD

AmazonSmile logo

You can contribute to USICD at no cost to you! USICD is a registered organization with the AmazonSmile program. That means, if you sign up to participate in the AmazonSmile program, .05% of all eligible purchase amounts will go to USICD. If you spend $500 per year, USICD will receive $25; if you spend $1,000, USICD gets $50. Just think how that could be multiplied if you get all your family members and friends to do the same. Every donation, no matter how small, takes us one step closer to realizing our vision. 

It's easy to do! Visit AmazonSmile and on your first visit select the "United States International Council on Disabilities" as the charitable organization you want to receive your donations before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation to USICD. Tens of millions of products are eligible for donations and such eligibility is noted with the product's information with the simple message: Eligible for "AmazonSmile" donation.
Bookmark to make it even easier to return and shop at AmazonSmile. There are no differences in prices or products if you shop through except that a percentage of the money you spend goes to USICD. 

Please take a few minutes to take this simple action if you shop on Amazon and encourage others to do the same. 

Thank you so much. 

USICD Resource Committee

USICD's 25th Anniversary!

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The USICD Board of Directors and staff are happy to announce that 2017 will be USICD's 25th Anniversary!
USICD was incorporated as the United States Council for International Rehabilitation in 1992, and became the USICD we know today in 2002.  From our beginning and continuing today, we remain the U.S. member in both Rehabilitation International and Disabled Peoples' International, and our membership continues to include the leading disability organizations and visionary advocates in the U.S. today.  We have grown over the years from a small, volunteer driven organization to one with a staff, office, a diversity of programs, and a global network of colleagues and partners.
In 2009 when USICD launched a campaign for United States signature and ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), you answered the call to action.  When President Obama ordered his ambassador to the United Nations to sign the CRPD in 2009, we celebrated together.  And when we lost our only vote yet for ratification in the Senate in 2012 by 5 votes, you stood up, louder and stronger than ever.  Our community is amazing and USICD is eternally grateful to all those who volunteered their time and resources to the CRPD effort.  One day we will prevail.  And USICD will need you with us.
Please take a moment to browse past issues of our newsletter, sign up to receive future newsletters, read our most recent Annual Report, or our website's page introducing you to our Board of Directors.  Together with you, we are committed to action and advocacy on disability rights for the one billion persons with disabilities in the world.  Your role in USICD as member, supporter, and friend is vital to our work today and our reach tomorrow.  We hope you will be a part of the future by joining USICD today!