Today I went to a briefing on Capitol Hill on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The policy/advocacy presentations were interesting since I don't any previous background on disability issues. I thought though that the most striking remarks came from the personal testimonies of two persons with disabilities. The first was a young man who lost an arm and a leg from an IED in Iraq. He spoke about belonging to three overlapping communities: veterans with disabilities, Americans with disabilities, and the global community of persons with disabilities. He also said that veterans can "serve again" by strengthening the Americans with Disabilities Act and by promoting signature and ratification of the UN Convention. The second speaker was a young lady who is blind, in her second year of law school and head of the Association of Law Students with Disabilities. She said that she benefited from ADA for example that her employer bought the necessary software and that she can travel with her guide dog. But it doesn't protect her from comments as when her doctor said that people "like her" shouldn't have children or when a taxi driver asked if she was contagious or when she's the only student in her class who doesn't get a second interview.
I went with my boss and the intern who's a grad student in public health. Since she's from Uzbekistan I thought we could wander around a bit and look at the rotunda. Alas - we were unauthorized and unaccompanied, and so no sightseeing for us.