NEW YORK, June 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association and over 100 wheelchair users from its national chapter network will gather in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, June 23rd for the 8th Annual Roll on Capitol Hill to advocate for greater disability rights, optimal healthcare and rehabilitation; accessibility of autonomous vehicles; and other legislative issues vital to the independence of people with spinal cord injury/disease (SCI/D).
Roll on Capitol Hill (ROCH) is United Spinal's annual signature policy event that supports key advocacy priorities for its membership and the broader disability community to ensure that legislators include wheelchair users and all people with disabilities in policy debates on Capitol Hill.
"This year, we're bringing the largest group of new advocates to Capitol Hill to let Congress know that we will not sit idle while disability policies are created. We demand a seat at the table," said James Weisman, United Spinal's president and CEO.
During ROCH, advocates visit with and educate Congressional leaders about the policy issues affecting the SCI/D community by sharing their personal stories about living with a disability and some of the obstacles they face in regaining their independence.
United Spinal Association builds on its strong advocacy work all year-round through participation in coalitions and partnerships across a broad spectrum of issues important to its 50 plus chapters and 200 support groups.
While attending United Spinal Association's 8th Annual Roll on Capitol Hill, advocates will talk to Congress about the following:
- Advocating for the introduction of new autonomous vehicles (AV) standards to develop, test and deploy AV and the promotion of universal design in autonomous vehicles and related technologies and transportation options to include wheelchairs and wheelchair users;
- Improving access to quality affordable healthcare for people with disabilities, including fighting against ACA repeal-and-replace efforts; and maximizing appropriate rehabilitation outcomes and therapies;
- Ensuring the smooth implementation of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018 (VA MISSION Act), which requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide access to community care if the VA does not offer the care or services veterans require.
During the Roll on Capitol Hill, on the morning of June 24th, Finch Fulton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, US Department of Transportation, will provide the event's keynote discussing the agency's work on new accessible transportation and automated vehicles guidelines and a renewed focus on both innovation and safety in AV and related accessible technologies.
Also new this year is the Advocacy Academy, which prepares new advocates for congressional visits through effective advocacy techniques to relate their stories to current policy issues and equips them to advocate on local issues when they return home.
On the evening of June 25th, United Spinal will host a Congressional Reception to recognize members of Congress as well as grassroots advocates for their outstanding service to people with disabilities and veterans in promoting veterans programs and services and championing the Affordable Care Act respectively:
- Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL) - 2018 James J. Peters Distinguished Veterans Legislator Award
- Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) – 2018 Outstanding Congressional Leadership Award
United Spinal will also honor two disability advocates that have shown advocacy leadership and dedication to, and success in, state and/or federal policy issue, or issues impacting the SCI/D or broader disability community.
This year Kenny Salvini of Washington State and Rob Wudlick of Minnesota will receive the 2019 Finn Bullers Advocates of the Year Award for their leadership and long-term commitment to policy and advocacy issues impacting the SCI/D and broader disability community.
For more information about the public policies that United Spinal will address at Roll on Capitol Hill, click here.
About United Spinal Association
United Spinal is a national 501(c) (3) nonprofit membership organization celebrating its 70th Anniversary. Formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans, United Spinal is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post-polio. It played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with SCI/D. United Spinal was instrumental in getting New York City to create sidewalk curb ramps and accessible public transportation that has been used as a model for many United States cities.
SOURCE United Spinal Association