2013 Annual Meeting


A group of people with and without wheelchairs smile at the camera

The inaugural class of our Youth in Development (YiD) program poses for their graduation picture with USICD staff, Mitsubishi Electric Foundation of America Executive Director Kevin Webb, and USICD Board President Marca Bristo

A black and white photo of a man in a wheelchair in profile with the words It was great to see all of you who were able to make it to this year's Annual Meeting.  Board president Marca Bristo started the meeting with a heartfelt tribute to USICD Board member Michael Winter whose unexpected passing stunned all of the disability community.  Michael was a pioneer in the Independent Living community and spent the later part of his career as a champion of accessibility at the U.S. Department of Transportation.  His warm presence and wry wit was greatly missed at this year's meeting. 

Marca went on to give a thorough update on the CRPD ratification process, after which David Hutt, acting as Board Treasurer, gave a quick review of USICD's finances and brought everyone's attention to this year's Annual Report which can be found below. 

Akiko Ito, Chief of the U.N. Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Division for Social Policy and Development Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) phoned in to the meeting to discuss the upcoming September high-level meeting on disability at the United Nations.  A small graduation ceromony was then held for our inaugural class of the Youth in Development program.  Kevin Webb, Executive Director of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, was on hand to give a few remarks and YiD intern Anais Keenon provided a short speech on her YiD experience and internship at IFES.

USICD is also pleased to welcom the following new members to its board following this year’s Annual Meeting:

  • Jill Houghton: Jill is the Executive Director of the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN ) and most recently served as the Executive Director of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel.
  • Axel Leblois: Axel is the President and executive Director of G3ict, the global initiative for inclusive ICT’s.  He has spent over 20 years as the helm of international technology companies in the United States, and served as a Senior Special Fellow of the United nations Institute on Training and research.
  • Susan Mazrui: Susan is the Director of Public Policy of AT&T. She has served on two terms of the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee, as well as on the national advisory committees of the Telecommunications Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center and the Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center (ITTATC).
  • Tom Zampieri: Tom is the National Director of Government Relations for the Blind Veterans of America and worked in health care for 25 years. His work has resulted in the expansion of the VA Continuum of Care for blind and low vision veterans’ outpatient programs opening 55 new programs with 237 employees.

Returning members re-elected include:

  • David Hutt
  • Barbara LeRoy
  • David W. Oaks
  • Stephanie Ortoleva
  • Jeff Rosen
  • Diana Samarasan
  • Glen White

Additionally, David Hutt was elected Treasurer and Glen White was elected Secretary.

What Else Happened That Week!

The Disability Treaty (CRPD)


Last week was a whirlwind for USICD and our friends in the broader coalition of support around the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) also known as the Disability Treaty.  Below are some of the highlights of last week’s wonderful ADA Anniversary and CRPD Action week! Please continue to lift your voices for the disability treaty throughout the upcoming August recess. Together we will get this done. 

A woman and a man in a suit, both in wheelchairs, lean in and smile at the cameraHAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY TO SENATOR DOLE!

Last week kicked off with a celebration of a longtime leader of disability rights, Senator Bob Dole.  In 1969 Senator Dole’s maiden speech on the Senate floor was on the rights of people with disabilities and he continues this noble tradition by leading the call for U.S. ratification of the CRPD.  Happy Birthday, Senator – lead on!

You can read Senator Dole’s letter of support for the disability treaty here


Secretary Kerry, a white-haired gentleman sits around a conference table with many people, above him a painting of the signing of the constitution.

Secretary of State John Kerry meeting with disability, business, veteranm and civil rights groups on the CRPD

Secretary Kerry, who was part of the Senate bipartisan leadership in 2012, restated his full support for the disability treaty and resolve to see the treaty ratified.  He called upon the community to stand up for the rights of all people with disabilities worldwide. 

You can read Secretary Kerry’s latest piece on the CRPD in USA Today here

You can read Secretary Kerry’s statement on the CRPD here



With the US Capitol in the background, a group of people in wheelchairs and standing hold up signs supporting CRPD ratification

On an open air stage, a man in a wheelchair speaks into a mic with his fist raised while a man interprets in ASL beside him

Advocates from around the country rally on Capitol Hill in support of the CRPD!

The annual National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) rally last week involved leaders from all over the country calling on Congress to champion the rights of Americans with disabilities.  USICD Executive Director David Morrissey and President Marca Bristo spoke to the crowd while the crowd responded with a rally cry of wanting the CRPD ratified now!

You can sign your organization on in support of the CRPD here

If you are an individual who would like to sign on in support of the CRPD, you can do so here


A white haired gentleman (former Representative Tony Coehlo) stands in front of the US Capitol speaking into a mic surrounded by disability advocates and an ASL interpreterA group of people in wheelchairs and standing holding posters supporting the CRPD

Kelly Buckland (NCIL), former Congressman Tony Coelho, Wade Henderson (The Leadership Conference), Marca Bristo (USICD) and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth were among the leaders who spoke on behalf of the treaty

Following the NCIL rally, leaders from the veteran, disability and civil rights community came together for a press conference on the CRPD.  Leaders asked for a hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and for bipartisan support to come together around this important issue. 

You can read coverage of the press conference in The Examiner here.


A smiling man in a suit stands smiling towards the camera near the back of a large crowd, many of which are in wheelchairs or have walkers.It has been twenty three years since the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted.  As a number of events celebrated this tremendous success last week, the role of the U.S. in the global community of disability rights was a constant feature of speeches, remarks, and reflection.  The CRPD was a consistent theme throughout the ADA celebration week and took front stage in the commemoration of the act by the Department of Justice on their official website, www.ada.gov.  Happy ADA Anniversary - we look forward to a world of nations that can celebrate their own national disability legislation that protects the rights of all people with disabilities! You can read ADA.gov’s comments on the CRPD here.

Picture above is USICD super-intern Steven Rodriguez attending the AAPD event for the ADA Anniversary.