Bill Krebs from “The Riot” Answers the CRPD Question
Bill “Trouble” Krebs is a self-advocate from Philadelphia who fights for the rights of people with disabilities. After being diagnosed late in school with a developmental disability, Mr. Krebs fought to be awarded a high school diploma like his peers at the age of 21 and now serves on committees throughout the state of Pennsylvania for disability advocacy. He is the proud recipient of a Brighter Future Award and a the Justin Dart award among others.
In the self-advocacy newsletter “The Riot,” Mr. Krebs answers letters that constituents write in. Of his work on this article, he said:
“Someone asked me what was going on with the disability treaty. I didn’t know who to go to to find out. Then I remembered that I knew David Morrissey at USICD was a person like me with the passion to care about making sure the U.S. joined the CRPD and not just let it be a token treaty. So I called him up and interviewed him and wrote the article below.”
What happened with the United Nations (UN) Treaty on Disabilities?
Heather A., KY
Good question! To find out the answer, I talked with David Morrissey, the Executive Director of the US International Council on Disabilities (USICD). He told me that the Treaty, also known as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), is for people with all kinds of disabilities across the world.
Countries that join the CRPD believe the rights and equality of people with disabilities. 154 countries have signed the CRPD, including the United States! In 2009 President Obama signed the CRPD, and in 2012 it was sent to the Senate to vote to “ratify” or approve it. It came close, but missed getting enough “yes” votes to pass by just 5 votes!
Reasons why some Senators voted no:
- They don’t favor international treaties of any kind.
- Thought it would get in the way of parents’ rights to home school their children with disabilities. It doesn’t, as the fact sheets explain.
- Didn’t know enough about it because they didn’t hear from their local citizens.
It is important for people to know that ratifying the CRPD will not change any current US laws. In fact, we passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) over 20 years ago that protects the rights of people with disabilities.
What can you do?
- Go to the website www.disabilitytreaty.org to get updates, check out the “Talking Points” document, and find your Senator and see how they voted on CRPD.
- Call your Senator. If they voted yes, thank them! If they voted no, find out why. Share information and your personal stories.
- Get your self-advocacy group involved with letters, emails, and phone calls to Senators. Contact USICD if you need materials to support your efforts.
- Reach out to friends and neighbors. Get them involved. We have more strength together!
Don’t give up the fight if you believe this Treaty should be passed. Don’t let it die.
To read more of this issue and other issues of “The Riot,” CLICK HERE