I am a 26 year old with a disability and I had been involved with Hillary For America’s disability team since the very start of the primary race in 2015. Our team, Disability Action for Hillary included over 250 volunteers from across the country, representing nearly every type of disability and advocacy group, as we collectively worked together to elevate disability rights issues in the 2016 presidential election.
First, let me clarify one common misconception, Hillary Clintons focus on the disability community was not a reaction to Trumps mocking of Serge Kovaleski. Our team had been working together before Trump even announced his candidacy. This inclusion of people with disabilities (PWD) was not a clever political move aimed to take advantage of Trumps actions, it was in fact people with disabilities organizing themselves, demanding a seat at the table and providing expert advise that dramatically effected the national discourse during the campaign.
This type of large scale organizing around a presidential campaign was utterly historic for the disability community and is a prime example of true American values; engaging grassroots leaders from across the country to participate in building our future together and providing opportunities for young leaders to participate in the political process.
There were dozens of young PWD involved with our group on the Hillary campaign, who were given the opportunity to work hand in hand with the veteran leaders of the disability rights movement. While the outcome of the election was not what we hoped, we’ve used the structure provided by the Hillary campaign to empower the next generation of disability rights leaders to continue driving social change.
As we move beyond the 2016 race, with the creation of this PAC, this next generation of leaders is prepared to take the reigns to keep fighting to realize our goals of true equality.
We will use new creative tools for political engagement and advocacy as we continue our fight and hope that everyone, young and old, veteran to the disability rights movement or newcomer, will engage with our work and join our movement as we promote Disability Action.
[In the above photo, Dylan is in the top left. This photo was taken at a Hillary fundraiser for the disability community featuring Senator Tom Harkin]