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For Our Veterans

November 10, 2014

The following is a message in support of the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities written by Rev. David Pyle, District Executive, Joseph Priestley District of the Unitarian Universalist Association in honor of this upcoming Veterans Day.

As a Unitarian Universalist minister who serves as an Army Reserve chaplain, I have seen the wounds that our veterans carry, both physical and spiritual. I myself struggle with chronic pain from a training injury I suffered as an enlisted soldier before I became a chaplain. The peacetime injury that I experienced pales in comparison to the wounds that many veterans returned home with from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a nation, we sent these young women and men off to war. It is our responsibility to do all in our power to support them now that they are home.

In recognition of Veterans Day, I ask you to join me in protecting the rights of people, including veterans and many others, who are living with disabilities. Call Sen. Harry Reid, the U.S. Senate majority leader, at 202-224-2158. Ask him to bring the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to a vote in the U.S. Senate.

When you call, press 2 to leave a short message. All you need to say in your message is the following:

“Hi, I’m [name] from [state]. I’m calling to urge Senator Reid to schedule a floor vote for the disability treaty before the end of this congressional session.”

People throughout the world who live with disabilities often experience stigma, marginalization, and discrimination. CRPD would provide greater legal protections to people with disabilities — including veterans — to ensure such things as access to public transportation, education, employment, housing, and safe drinking water and sanitation. Americans with disabilities would also benefit by being able to travel, study, and work overseas.

CRPD is modeled on the Americans with Disabilities Act, but until the United States ratifies the treaty, our country can’t fully participate in the global movement for disability rights.

Whether you agreed or not with the wars our nation chose to fight, we all still owe a duty to those who answered the call to serve. These young men and women displayed courage during their military service and have continued that bravery as they returned home to rebuild lives forever changed by the wounds they sustained. We must do our part to ensure that the rights of all of those veterans and others who live with disabilities are protected both in the United States and throughout the world.

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