Today the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), along with Texas Disability Project, Disability Rights Texas and other disability advocacy groups launched the national ‘REV UP’ America-Make the DISABILITY VOTE Count campaign at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas.
As part of the kick-off, voter registration booths were set up at the nationally-renowned rehabilitation hospital and information on issues important to the disability community was provided. ‘REV UP’ stands for Register, Educate, Vote, Use, Power. The REV UP event at TIRR Memorial Hermann promotes the growing influence of the disability vote nationwide. REV UP will also work to ensure access to the polls on Election Day for Americans with disabilities.
The ‘Road to Freedom’ ADA Bus also made a stop at the REV UP kickoff event at TIRR Memorial Hermann. The bus just completed the ADA Legacy Tour logging more than 23,000 miles and making more than 115 stops in 33 states designed to raise awareness and build excitement around the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“For people with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act has had a dramatic influence on the lives of people with disabilities, making the environment more accessible and enabling us to be more independent; but there is still a lot of work to be done,” says Lex Frieden, a chief architect of the ADA, director, Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program at TIRR Memorial Hermann and professor of biomedical informatics and rehabilitation at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). “Important issues that have a profound effect on people with disabilities haven’t really been part of the discussion this political season. There are more than 56 million Americans with disabilities and 76 million baby boomers who will soon be coping with disabilities. We need to be active in the democratic process and our voices need to be heard.”
According to the Rutgers University School of Labor and Management study, voters with disabilities made up the second largest minority voting bloc in the 2012 election. “We know people with disabilities are about 20 percent less likely to vote or even be registered to vote compared to other groups. We want to change that and encourage our community to get involved in the process and get out and vote,” says Frieden.
TIRR Memorial Hermann has been providing rehabilitation services for individuals with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, strokes, amputation and neuromuscular disorders since 1959.
Last July, TIRR Memorial Hermann joined millions of Americans in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA has brought about historic change in the United States resulting in more accessibility and higher quality of life for millions of Americans with disabilities.
TIRR Memorial Hermann is home to the Southwest ADA Center. Anyone seeking information about the ADA or other disability rights laws can call the center at 1-800-949-4ADA (4232).
For more information on the REV UP America-Make the DISABILITY VOTE Count campaign, visit aapd.com/REVUP.