IDAC Letter to Candidates

Dear Candidate:

We, the undersigned, are people of faith from across the nation concerned about the civil rights of the more than 56 million Americans living with a disability. Our faith communities are diverse and include people living with all types of disability: physical, sensory, intellectual, visible and non-apparent. We write to urge you to lay out a comprehensive agenda that addresses the civil rights of Americans with disabilities.

The 56 million Americans with disabilities make remarkable and valuable contributions to our communities. Despite these contributions and despite our numbers, Americans with disabilities continue to face discrimination in many arenas including employment, transportation, and education. Persons with disabilities are more than twice as likely to be impoverished and unemployed as non-disabled individuals; a reflection of devastatingly real discrimination.[1]

Candidates for public office must address these disparities and must set forth a vision to encourage the civil rights of people with disabilities and to promote their full inclusion in society. This is imperative in light of the gifts and talents Americans with disabilities bring to their schools, jobs, and faith communities. If elected, we strongly recommend taking action to:

  • Further expand opportunities for people with disabilities to live and work independently in their communities, including expanding access to affordable, accessible, integrated housing and transportation options.
  • Increase productivity and innovation in the public and private sector by expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • Further the progress made in the graduation rate of students with disabilities from high school  by addressing remaining barriers to success in public education and transition to employment or post-secondary education.
  • Support the continuation of reforms passed into law as part of the Affordable Care Act that help people with disabilities lead healthy lives and increase their access to long term services and supports, as well as support further expansion of mental health and substance use services.

We encourage you to share your positions on these issues and where these concerns fall in your priorities. Furthermore, we urge you to invite persons with disabilities into the conversations concerning the best ways to expand both access and opportunity for all Americans. We do not offer endorsement of specific candidates or parties, but we will share your efforts and actions on behalf of people with disabilities with our community. We encourage everyone to work towards the goal of ensuring that the American experiment of self-government increasingly includes and reflects the voices, concerns, and wisdom of people with disabilities.

Add your name to the letter!


Signatories (as of July 1, 2016):


African Methodist Episcopal Church International Health Commission

American Baptist Churches in the USA

American Baptist Home Mission Societies

American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP)

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Christian Reformed Disability Concerns ministry

Community Relations Council of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island

Complete Access Consulting

Disability Concerns, Reformed Church in America

Disciples Center for Public Witness

Dream for disability foundation

Enabled Muslim


Faith Inclusion Network of Hampton Roads


Greater MetroWest ABLE

Greater Miami Jewish Federation JCRC

International Association of Jewish Vocational Services (IAJVS)

Islamic Society of North America

Jewish Community Relations Council

Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle

Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT)

Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church

Lincoln Baptist Church

Lutheran Services in America Disability Network

Maryland United for Peace and Justice

Muslims Understanding & Helping Special Education Needs (MUHSEN)

National Council of Churches, USA

National Council of Jewish Women

NJ State Association of Jewish Federations


Sikh Coalition

The Arc California

The Episcopal Church

The Jewish Federations of North America

The Rabbinical Assembley

The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society

Trinity CHANGE, Inc

Union for Reform Judaism

Unitarian Universalist Association

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries Washington Office

Wisconsin Jewish Conference



Julie Alexander

Beverly Allegretti


Lauren Appelbaum

Margaret Baird

Leslie Baird

Margaret Baird, Esq.

Zach Baldwin

Pamela Barmash

Annette Beck

Trisha Beltz

Helena Berger

Paulette Berry

Donna Bleiler

Robert Bliss

Howard Blunt

Dr. Timothy Boddie

Sandra Bookman

Cheryl Brackin

Stephen Bried

Ken Brooker Langston

John Burns

Ronald Carlson

Donna Carluccio

Charles Cates

Rachel Chapman

Arif Choudhury

Pamela Christensen

Debra Clark

Karen Claycomb

Brian Colfer

Mariah Corrigan

Dorothy Coughlin

Shirley Crisci

Roxanne Davenport

Edwin de Jong

Kelly DeBardelaben

Anthony DeStefano

Peter Douglas

Donna Dreyling

Rebecca Droste

Joyce Dubensky

Rev. Dr. LL DuBreuil

Aubrey Ducker

Christopher Duncan

Pamela Durso

Sherif Elgindi

Pauline Erera

Fermin Farias

Susy Flaherty

David Flynn

Bill Gaventa

Naba Kumar Ghosh

Daniel Glaze

Jeffrey Grahn

Suki Graves

Tammy S Green

Stacey Gruber

Christine Guth

Diane Plassey Gutierrez

S Hager

Patricia Haines

Ruth Harrigan

John Harrington

Allen V. Harris

Sarah Hemzawi

James Hill

Margaret Holzer

Jo Holzer

Karla Hughes

Emily Hull McGee

Kenneth Jackson

Lisa Jagodzinski

Joshua Janeway

Ginger Jee

Martha Johanson

Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson

Thelma Johnson

Sananda Jones

Linda Jones

Carmen Jones

Janice Kahler

Laura Kandle

Barbara J. Kiernan

Lea Klepees

Jacob Kooyman

Rhonda Kraai

Rabbi Robert Layman

Jonah Layman

Natalie Lee

Tammy Leerhoff

Stephen Listfield

Dorajean Littrell

Jolynn Lowry

Florence Lunde

Alexa Maltby

Pam Mason

Jo Maxwell

James F. McIntire

Shelley McMullen

Rev. Linda McWhorter

Ruth Medellin

Steven Meek

Sarah Meek

Valeria Mejia

Zeenat Merchant

James Michaels

Marvin Miller

Randle Mixon

Janice Mizrahi

Cindy Moit

Adrienne Montgomery

Christopher Moon

Sabrina Moore

David Moore

Michael Murray

Jacqueline Myers

Jeff Ostach

Caridad L. Perez Carballoza

Charles Popky

Linda Prautzsch

Linda Presley

James Price

Susan Prokop

Curtis Ramsey-Lucas

Leicia Raygan

Donna Reese

Angela Rehfuss

Miranda Resnikoff

Kent Retzer

  1. Michael Revis

Carol Ann Roberson

Karen Robles

Caleb Rollins

Elizabeth Rossow

Deborah Roszkowski

Ralph Rouse

Glennys Sabuco

Maria Sepalveda-Cabrera

Lori Sherry

Wilma Sholer

Tanmaykumar Shrimali

Sara Simon

Patricia Slevin

Brenda Smith

Marie Smith

Shulonda Smith

Kathryn Smith

Jamie Spritzer

Douglas Stanley

Linda Starnes

Mark Stephenson

Beth Stone

Jennifer Strigle

Sarah Strosahl-Kagi

Laird Thomason

Wakaki Thompson

Laura Tollin

Neil Tow

Bobetta Trani

Reid Trulson

Katrina Twyman

Martha Underwood

Lori Van Gorden

Rick and Wendy Von der Heide

Lindsey Waisanen

Roland Walker

Carol Wallace

Rebecca Wanatick

June Ward

Charles Watson

Sydney Webster

Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub

Lyman Welch

Terrie Williams

Richard Williamson

Rachel Wise

Kristin Wolf

Liz Yoder


[1] Persons with disabilities experience the highest rates of poverty of any subcategory of Americans charted by the Census Bureau. Of the nearly 30 million individuals with disabilities ages 18–64, 27%, or more than 4 million people, live in poverty. This is more than double the rate of 12.5% for the entire population. Equally troubling and certainly related is the disproportionate labor force participation rate: For people with disabilities, it is 19.5% and for people without disabilities it is 68.7%.  Office of Disability Employment Policy, Department of Labor.

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