VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/12/14)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) participated in an Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC) meeting at the White House on Monday.
Representatives of 16 IDAC member organizations as well as staff from the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)—including AAPD President Mark Perriello and IDAC Convener Ginny Thornburgh—met with Melissa Rogers, executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, and Claudia Gordon, liaison to the disability community, White House Office of Public Engagement, for a conversation on faith and disability.
“It is gratifying that Melissa Rogers and Claudia Gordon reacted so positively to IDAC’s past accomplishments and future advocacy plans,” Thornburgh says.
The meeting focused on IDAC’s efforts regarding employment of people with disabilities, reducing the stigma associated with mental health conditions, and support within the religious community for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, also known as the disabilities treaty.
“It was a constructive dialogue, introducing the work of IDAC in these and other areas and making connections for future collaboration to expand opportunities for people with disabilities,” says Curtis Ramsey-Lucas, whose recent commentary on the disabilities treaty was published by The Washington Post. Ramsey-Lucas attended the meeting on behalf of ABHMS.
IDAC, a program of AAPD, is a nonpartisan coalition of 33 national religious organizations from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh traditions with a mission to mobilize the religious community to speak out and take action on disability policy issues with Congress, the president and administration, and society at large. The core spiritual values of IDAC members affirm the rights and dignity of people with disabilities.
Ramsey-Lucas represents ABHMS on the IDAC Steering Committee and chaired the IDAC committee that wrote “Grounded in Faith: Resources on Mental Health and Gun Violence,” published by AAPD in April 2013.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.