United Spinal Association’s 7th annual Roll on Capitol Hill, which took place June 24 to 27 in Washington, DC, attracted more than 120 wheelchair user members, as well as clinicians, partners, and other disability advocates from 33 states plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.

All were gathered to highlight greater access to quality affordable healthcare, community integration, disability rights, assistive and rehab technology, veterans benefits, and air travel protections vital to people with spinal cord injury/disease (SCI/D).

Roll on Capitol Hill, United Spinal Association’s signature policy event, aims to ensure that legislators include wheelchair users and all people with disabilities in policy debates on Capitol Hill.

“We believe wheelchair users should be involved in creating disability policies. That’s why our members must help educate policymakers about the needs and rights of people with disabilities,” says James Weisman, United Spinal Association’s president and CEO.

“We’re not just here to fight for a seat at the table. We’re here to fight for a seat at the head of the table,” Weisman adds, in a media release.

During the event, attendees took part in more than 200 congressional office visits, meeting face-to-face with their representatives and other key legislators to personally discuss their unique challenges living with a disability and to advocate for maximizing access to quality affordable healthcare; supporting the rights of disabled veterans; protecting the rights of air travelers with disabilities; and opposing the ADA Education and Reform Act (HR 620), which would require a person with a disability to give a business a notification letter and wait no less than 120 days before filing a lawsuit when encountering a physical barrier.

On June 25, Roll on Capitol Hill attendees participated in a full day of policy briefings from advocates, agency officials and Capitol Hill staffers that focused on pertinent legislative issues impacting the disability community.

Keynote speaker Mary Lazare, Principal Deputy Administrator, Administration for Community Living and Acting Commissioner on Disabilities at the US Department of Health and Human Services, discussed the importance of healthcare services and supports for the disability community, the release continues.

On the evening of June 26, United Spinal hosted a Congressional Awards Reception to recognize members of Congress as well as grassroots advocates for their outstanding service to people with disabilities and veterans, including Sen Johnny Isakson (R-GA) – 2018 James J. Peters Distinguished Veterans Legislator Award; Sen Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis) – 2018 Outstanding Congressional Leadership Award; and Gretchelle Dilán – 2018 Outstanding Community Service Award.

Houston-based member Earle Powdrell and his wife Kathy were also honored with the 2018 Finn Bullers Advocates of the Year Award, for their advocacy leadership and dedication to state and federal policy issues impacting the SCI/D and broader disability community.

For more information about the public policies that United Spinal addresses at Roll on Capitol Hill and throughout the year, visit United Spinal Association.

[Source(s): United Spinal Association, PR Newswire]