There are approximately forty million persons in the United States and Canada who live impaired lives because of physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities. Many of these people must be helped to gain their full rights as citizens-rights that include improved education, expanded rehabilitation programming, accessible housing and civic facilities, effective transportation and pedestrian routing, civil rights, and enhanced employment opportunities.
The federal government has recently published regulations that prohibit granting federal funds to projects that provide no access for the disabled. This policy moves the disabled a long way toward realizing a fuller life. However, because the disabled are a relatively invisible minority, much work is needed to implement these regulations and to help the disabled become active members of society.
In order to respond to our commitment to a just society in which each citizen lives in dignity, the Jewish community must become more sensitive to the plight of the disabled, the blind, and the deaf.
THE UAHC, THEREFORE, URGES:
The United States Congress, the Canadian Parliament, and state and provincial legislatures to provide tax incentives for businesses to hire and train disabled workers and to provide funds to make structural changes in the offices and factories of companies that employ substantial numbers of disabled people.
The labor movement to recognize its obligations to the disabled and, together with management and government, to take initiatives for the encouragement of handicapped workers;
Our congregations to modify as necessary our physical plants, grounds, and camps so as to be more accessible to the disabled;
Our congregations to take steps to encourage the participation of disabled Jews in synagogue life; and
Our congregations to initiate community-wide educational forums, together with other religious and civic groups, to sensitize the public to the needs of our disabled citizens.