Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) recently posted a call for action to the community: we asked you to sign on to a letter to be sent to President Obama, requesting that coverage of hearing healthcare be included as part of the White House agenda and healthcare reform. We have been overwhelmed with responses: in just one month, between July 9 and August 4, 4,682 people signed onto the letter to the President.
Brenda Battat, Executive Director of Hearing Loss Association of America, joins President Barack Obama and disability representatives from around the country today at the White House to celebrate the 19th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ground-breaking civil rights legislation for people with disabilities.
WASHINGTON, DC - President Obama announced a new name and a new mission for the White House office charged with dealing most closely with the American people. The Office of Public Liaison is now the Office of Public Engagement. OPE, along with the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, will serve as the front door to the White House through which ordinary Americans can participate and inform the work of the President. www.whitehouse.gov/ope
April 15, 2009, Washington, DC: Brenda Battat, executive director of HLAA, attended a meeting and briefing with senior White House officials related to disability matters at the White House. Kareem Dale, the special assistant to the President for Disability Policy, a newly-created position, brought together over 50 cross-disability representatives for a briefing and exchange of ideas with officials from the Executive Office of the President. Among them: Office of Personnel; Office of the First Lady; Domestic Policy Council; Office of the Staff Secretary; Technology Innovation and Government Reform; Office of Management and Budget; National Economic Council; Office of Public Liaison.
First Time a President has a Special Assistant Focused Exclusively on Disability Policy
BOISE, ID, February 23, 2009 – Vice President Joe Biden today announced Kareem Dale as Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy. The Vice President, who was leading a Presidential Delegation at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho, made the announcement during a stop at the Special Olympics’ Healthy Athletes Event, a worldwide program in which athletes receive a variety of health screenings and services.
The new Administration has set up a website already and posted their position on disability issues.
"We must build a world free of unnecessary barriers, stereotypes, and discrimination.... policies must be developed, attitudes must be shaped, and buildings and organizations must be designed to ensure that everyone has a chance to get the education they need and live independently as full citizens in their communities."
-- Barack Obama, April 11, 2008
An historic event took place with the first-ever Disability Inaugural Ball held Sunday, January 19, 2009, at the Press Club in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 people of all disabilities, both physical and intellectual, and leaders in those communities, joined to celebrate our new president and administration. The Hearing Loss Association of America was a supporter of the event and HLAA staff joined many organizations for people with disabilities to celebrate this event.
The consensus document of organizations representing people who are hard of hearing or deaf should appear on that site in the coming weeks.
You can view the document “Proposal for Leadership and Public Policy to Ensure Equal Access and Equal Opportunity for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late-Deafened and Deaf-Blind Americans.” [View PDF]