USICD Stands in Solidarity with Disability Community of Japan

USICD staff, Board, interns, and members stand in solidarity and share the grief of the disability community of Japan following a recent violent incident resulting in the death 19 people with disabilities at a care facility near Tokyo.  We extend our sympathies to those closest to the victims--their families and other loved ones.  The USICD community join in worldwide mourning and reaffirm our commitment to human rights, dignity, and independence for all people with disabilities.  The suspect, who was formerly employed at the facility and has turned himself into the police, is quoted as having said, "It is better that disabled people disappear."  
The membership of USICD hold a vision of a world where the equal rights of persons with disabilities are protected and advanced, where the capacities and talents of persons with disabilities are celebrated and elevated, and where people with disabilities come together across borders as a global disability community

A statement from the White House on this tragedy is available here:

Earlier in the week, USICD disseminated our Summer e-news, celebrating the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The article highlighted how USICD member organization, the National Coalition on Independent Living, was welcoming a delegation of independent living advocates from Japan at their conference in Washington, DC this very week.
We include the story further below in recognition that advocacy efforts for the human rights of people with disabilities around the world continue, and to share our continued collaboration with our counterparts in Japan through Disabled Peoples' International (DPI) and the global movement for independence for people with disabilities.
Two rows of people smiling at camera some standing some seated in wheelchairs
Representatives from USICD and the National Council on Independent Living join with our Japanese colleagues and friends to build a global movement for independent living, July 27, 2016, Washington, DC.


From USICD's Summer E-News:

Celebrating the ADA in its 26th Year -
& Promoting Global Independent Living

Visiting advocates for independent living from Japan join Yoshiko Dart (left side, rear row, middle) to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA -- with a larger than life figure of Justin Dart at the 2015 ADA Celebration in D.C.

Today, we in the United States celebrate the 26th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Under the ADA, the United States has made great progress toward building a society of access, inclusion, and opportunity for all.  The ADA has also been embraced around the world as a model for disability rights legislation.  However, our work as advocates is not done.  We have more to do, both around the world and here in the United States.  There are barriers to pull down, stereotypes to shatter, and goals to achieve, and we can only do it together. This is the time for global citizens with disabilities to connect, to empower, and to lead!  Our interconnectedness and shared leadership is particularly important for promoting community living and the independence of persons with disabilities.

This week, USICD member organization the National Council for Independent Living (NCIL) is holding its annual conference in Washington, DC, with the conference this year featuring an international track!  The NCIL community again this year also welcomes a delegation of advocates from Japan to the conference.  These advocates, together with NCIL and USICD, share a vision to bring advocates for independence and community access together from around the world.  USICD applauds NCIL not only for its global vision, but for its years of tireless advocacy for U.S. ratification of the CRPD!

The global movement for independence is on the move.  Since the world began to join the international disability rights agreement, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), disability advocates around the world are connecting.  The sharing of diverse cultural approaches to promote independence,  building systems of support, and asserting that every individual with a disability has a right to live in the community, free from institutions, is happening as a global movement.  USICD and all of our members are committed to fostering innovative ideas, creating ongoing learning activities, including our youth, and collaborating across borders. 

USICD member Mrs. Yoshiko Dart recently shared with USICD the following remarks her husband and pioneering disability rights advocate Justin Dart made at the Disabled People's International World Congress in Sydney, Australia in 1994:

"During my remaining time on earth I would like to try my best in contributing my limited ability, capacity and resources toward a more just society and a betterment of humanity.  I know I am just one human being - a tiny speck in the vast Universe, and yet, I have my own power I can/must use--supporting USICD is one of my important activities.  It is a fact - which is being recorded in the history of this Universe."

Justin's words and leadership continue to inspire the USICD board, staff and membership today, and we hope by sharing them here they will inspire our global community.  Together, we can make the vision of the USICD membership real: a world where the equal rights of persons with disabilities are protected and advanced, where the capacities and talents of persons with disabilities are celebrated and elevated, and where people with disabilities come together across borders as a global disability community.
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