Media contact: Allison Korotkin
Communications Assistant, AAPD
Office: (202) 457-0046
Religious Community Backs Employment of People with Disabilities
Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition Works to Promote Disability Employment
WASHINGTON, DC – November 1, 2010 – The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) applauds the religious community for supporting the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition’s (IDAC) Statement of Solidarity Around Employment of People with Disabilities. Over 50 congregations, seminaries and religious organizations of various denominations have signed on to the Statement of Solidarity committing to increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The Statement of Solidarity is sponsored by IDAC, whose mission is to mobilize the religious community to speak out and take action on disability policy issues with Congress, the President and Administration, and society at-large.
Signed by religious organizations, the Statement of Solidarity addresses issues of disability employment and the fact that two-thirds of Americans with disabilities who want to work are currently unemployed or underemployed. The Statement of Solidarity was initiated during National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October 2010, and will continue to draw support through October 2011.
“Americans of many faiths believe that work brings dignity, self respect and responsibility to an individual and that lack of work is demoralizing, socially isolating, and wasteful of a person’s abilities,” said Tony Coelho, Chairman of the AAPD Board of Directors. “Creating a way for the religious community to come together and support the disability community is empowering to both and demonstrates that we can counter the negativity surrounding disability employment through a conjoined effort.”
Lay and ordained leaders of religious organizations are urged to read the Statement of Solidarity, which can be found on the AAPD website, and join the effort by signing-on. The Statement has several suggestions for those congregations willing to take action, including hiring qualified people with disabilities as ordained leaders, religious educators, musical directors, communicators, administrators, support staff, technical support and maintenance workers.
“People with disabilities simply want what all people want – the dignity, value and worth which comes from holding a job,” said Ginny Thornburgh, IDAC’s Convener and Director of AAPD’s Interfaith Initiative. “The Statement of Solidarity is part of our effort to bring the powerful and prophetic voice of the faith community to the 21st Century disability agenda.”
IDAC members include: The American Baptist Home Mission Societies; Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies; Council for Health and Human Service Ministries of the United Church of Christ; The Episcopal Church; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Hindu American Foundation; Islamic Society of North America; Jewish Council for Public Affairs; The Jewish Federations of North America; Jewish Reconstructionist Federation; L’Arche USA; Lutheran Services in America; Muslim Public Affairs Council; National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry; National Catholic Partnership on Disability; National Council of Jewish Women; Rabbinical Assembly; Union for Reform Judaism; Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations; United Methodist General Board of Church and Society; and Women’s Rabbinic Network.
For more information about the Statement of Solidarity, IDAC, or AAPD, please visit http://www.aapd.com/.
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The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country's largest cross-disability membership association, organizes the disability community to be a powerful voice for change – politically, economically, and socially. AAPD was founded in 1995 to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To learn more, visit the AAPD Web site: http://www.aapd.com/