Old Bethpage, NY - July 18, 2016 - On Wednesday, July 13th, Family Residences and Essential Enterprises (FREE) participated in a national effort to make the Disability Vote more influential. This effort, known as the REV UP Campaign, designated July 11th-15th as National Disability Voter Registration Week in advance of the November election. REV UP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!.
Individuals supported by FREE participated in an informational session led by Michelle Flood, Director of Advocacy, FREE and Lisa Scott, President of the Suffolk County League of Women’s Voters on the importance of voting, and using their vote wisely.
“It’s important that our individuals know how important it is for them to vote in our local and national elections,” said Robert Budd, CEO FREE. “It’s another way that they can empower themselves and make sure their voices are heard,” he continued.
Below are the top five reasons to pay close attention to the REV UP Campaign:
1. The disability community has a huge stake in state and federal results of the November election. Justin Dart, father of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), said “Vote as if your life depended on it, because it does.”
2. At a level that has never been achieved before, national and state disability organizations are actively registering voters and planning get out the Disability Vote activities leading up to Election Day. These include the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), #CripTheVote, the DO Network, the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), REV UP Massachusetts, REV UP Texas, the Texas Disability Project, #VoteDisability, and several other state and local disability rights organizations.
3. REV UP campaigns have kicked off in several states with more joining daily. California, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and DC are actively organizing the DISABILITY VOTE.
4. National and local elections will be affected as REV UP increases the political power of the disability community by getting more people with disabilities registered and committed to vote on election day while simultaneously engaging candidates for public office and the media on disability issues. While currently focused on the upcoming election, the REV UP Campaign is committed to continuing to engage people with disabilities in communities across the country through 2016 and beyond.
5. According to the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), there are nearly 30 million people with disabilities eligible to vote when registered. This number does not even include “the ripple effect” of family, friends, and service professionals who will vote in-line with disability interests. During National Disability Voter Registration Week, REV UP Campaigns around the country will make a concerted effort to get more people with disabilities registered to vote, educate voters about issues and candidates, promote turnout of voters with disabilities across the country, engage candidates and the media on disability issues, and protect eligible voters’ right to participate in elections.
For more information on the REV UP Campaign, National Disability Voter Registration Week, and how to start organizing in your state please contact AAPD, the national REV UP Coordinator, here. The REV UP Campaign offers a host of resources on the 2016 election, registering to vote, ways to drive civic engagement, and a compilation of state-specific resources and events.
About Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE)
Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE), founded in 1977, benefits and proudly supports more than 4,000 individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, mental illness and traumatic brain injury. It is the mission of FREE to assist individuals of all abilities realize their full potential. FREE provides a diverse array of supports and services including: housing; recovery services; transition to work; employment; day, community and family services; respite; crisis services; education and after school support; specialty health services; and advocacy.
FREE also collaborates with a variety of diverse 501(c)(3) nonprofit partners on educational, vocational, rehabilitative and a myriad of other creative initiatives to enhance the local communities and the lives of more than 25,000 people that reside within them. Each of the valued partners of the Family of FREE Network have a unique mission, vision and strategic goals that are aligned in purpose, and embody the spirit of the meaningful work we do every day.
For more information, please call 516-870-7000 or visit www.familyres.org.