Carrying on the Good Fight: Summary Paper From Think Tank 2000 - Advancing the Civil and Human Rights of People With Disabilities From Diverse Cultures
August 23, 2000
SCOPE AND PURPOSE:
On May 18-20, 2000, in Arlington, Virginia, the National Council on Disability (NCD) hosted Think Tank 2000 to bring people with disabilities from diverse cultures together with members of national civil rights organizations in order that they might find common ground and generate action plans that could advance disability rights and civil rights reciprocally. Concerned about the overwhelming evidence that benefits won for the disability community under the historic Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) were not reaching everyone equally, Hughey Walker, NCD vice chairperson and chair of the Subcommittee on Minority Issues, called for the two advocacy communities to meet.
In full support of such a meeting, Marca Bristo, NCD chairperson and a primary mover behind passage of the ADA, also saw the meeting as an opportunity to re-affirm the broad base of support for disability rights. During the two days that Think Tank 2000 met, national disability rights supporters such as Congressman James Clyburn (South Carolina), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; Congressman Major Owens (New York), who helped steer the ADA through the House; acting assistant U.S. attorney general for civil rights Bill Lann Lee; Milton Little, vice president of the National Urban League; and Leadership Conference on Civil Rights executive director Wade Henderson, underscored their appreciation for the meeting’s goals. Mr. Henderson commended the NCD and the participants for “participating in something that I think is really potentially historic….” He described the current civil rights movement, which includes the disability rights movement, as the “second generation” of civil rights advocacy.