Open letter to elected officials, public servants and political consultants

Subject: Open letter to elected officials, public servants and political consultants
From: Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Date: 10 Mar 2015

Dear Elected Officials, Public Servants and Political Consultants, knows that you want to be in touch with voters and meet their needs so that America can be a better place. Thus, we want to help you serve your constituents better. We recently completed a large-sample national poll of 3800 people within the disability community, and the results offer a unique insight into a community of 56 million Americans. We know that this information can help you who understand what matters to millions of Americans with disabilities and their loved ones.

Important for you: (click here for the full report)

Fully 95% of the disability community polled was more likely to vote for a candidate if they have a strong record on improving opportunities for people with disabilities.
Nearly 9 out of 10 are more likely to vote for a candidate if they have a written statement on their website on specifically what they will do to improve opportunities for people with disabilities.
Nearly 3 out of 4 people with disabilities surveyed values a job and independence over government benefits (no partisan split).

Bottom Line: by taking real actions to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities (PwDs) you can greatly increase your likelihood of making an emotional connection with this important constituency.

Why does this matter?

According to the U.S. Census, roughly 1 out of every 5 Americans has a disability (56 million Americans) and an earlier study released by Laszlo Strategies found that 51% of Americans have a close friend or family member with a disability.

Fully 70% of working-age Americans with disabilities are outside the workforce, compared to 28% of people without disabilities. This percentage has been unchanged since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. There are 10 million working-age Americans with disabilities, many whom could be working, paying taxes, and contributing to society. Seeking inclusion in the workforce, people with disabilities are asking for a hand up — not a handout.

Who is already on board?

Advertisers are catching on to recognize the disability community for the importance that it has in our society. Duracell and Saatchi & Saatchi New York partnered up to produce what Business Insider is already calling “one of the best ads of the new year” featuring Derrick Coleman, the Seattle Seahawks running back who is deaf. You may already also be one of the 8 million people who watched this groundbreaking Guinness Beer Ad on YouTube launched only 5 months ago. Do your own ads have captions? Is your website blind accessible?

Companies like Walgreen’s, Ernest & Young, AMC, and Lowe’s are leaders on employing people with disabilities (PwDs). They have found that providing inclusive workplaces for people with disabilities has helped drive their productivity and profits forward. By placing people in equal-paying positions that match their efforts and abilities, people with disabilities are working side-by-side with workers without disabilities, and helping their companies and bottom lines grow. It is time for more companies to follow their outstanding leadership!

RespectAbility is a new non-profit, non-partisan organization empowering people with disabilities to achieve the American dream. Want to learn more? Visit our “Stakeholders” webpage or reach out to me directly at [email protected].


Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi