It was as if I was sitting in the front row at a Hollywood movie premier, but better. On Friday, I was fortunate enough to witness the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). Ever since I jumped into disability advocacy, the CRPD has been at my works core. From learning about the youth’s role for implementation in Syria to researching the CRPD’s status in Southeast Asia, I have learned of the treaty’s potential and proven success globally. Yet, it has always dumbfounded me that the world’s leader in disability rights, the US, had not ratified the treaty. With years of discussion and advocacy towards this issue, I was honored to witness the Senate Committee Hearing.
Seemingly, it appeared that a majority of the movement’s leaders were present, from independent living historians to the Congressmen who advocated and signed for all disability rights related legislation. In addition, to hearing the Senators and those who were testifying including John McCain and Judy Heumann, friendly faces surrounded me. Most importantly, my family and my great friend were visiting from California. As I was able to witness the historical hearing with some of the closest people in my life, I was overwhelmed with thanks.