united-spinal-rohMore than 50 wheelchair users and consumer activists nationwide attended the second annual Roll on Capitol Hill June 16 to 19. United Spinal Association and its membership division, National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), mobilized the attendees for the event. The advocacy event was held in Washington, DC and is intended to directly express to legislators the need for greater access to health care, wheelchairs, and disability rights. In a recent news release from United Spinal, the organization notes that attendees had the opportunity to visit the Capitol Hill offices of 200 legislators and meet with other key policymakers to discuss policies that impact the lives and protect their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

During an evening awards reception, Sen John McCain (R, Ariz) was awarded the VetsFirst Congressional Bronze Star Award, which is designed to honor Congressional champions of the disability community. VetsFirst is a program of United Spinal Association. The award recognized McCain’s efforts to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Paul J. Tobin, United Spinal president and CEO, emphasizes McCain’s support of disability rights through his cosponsoring of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and his support of VetsFirst and CRPD, “We are grateful for his continued support and perseverance in seeking ratification of this important treaty.” McCain added upon receiving the award, “I’m grateful for your presence and I’m grateful for your advocacy…. you speak for millions and millions around the world who deserve the passage of the CRPD.”

Policy briefings and dialogue discussed between attendees, Capitol Hill representatives, advocates, and agency officials included protection of civil rights, greater employment opportunities, and access to durable medical equipment and related services. Discussions also centered on access to consumer-directed quality health care and community supports and services.

Henry Claypool, executive vice president for Policy, American Association of People with Disabilities, made the event’s keynote speech to advocates. United Spinal notes that Claypool is former principal deputy administrator of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living and senior advisor to secretary Kathleen Sebelius on disability policy.

Other legislators honored during the event included Sen Jay Rockefeller (D, WV). Rockefeller received the James J. Peters Disability Rights Champion Award in recognition of his leadership as a champion for the rights and needs of people with disabilities.

Senator Xavier Becerra (D, Calif) also received the Junius A. Kellogg Award for Outstanding Congressional Leadership for his commitment and dedication in advancing the quality of life of people with disabilities.

Photo Caption: (right to left) Paul J. Tobin -United Spinal CEO and President, Sen John McCain, and Terry Moakley -United Spinal Board Member.

Photo Credit: PRNewsFoto/United Spinal Association

Source: United Spinal Association