Giving Compass' Take:
- Sara Luterman explains how Disability Victory is working to get people with disabilities elected to public offices to drive progress on important issues.
- What role can you play in supporting candidates with relevant lived experience?
- Read about the need for more disability inclusion in philanthropy.
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While politicians with disabilities like Sen. John Fetterman have become increasingly visible in national politics, disabled people are still significantly underrepresented. A new organization, Disability Victory, aims to change that.
Founded in May by Sarah Blahovec and Neal Carter, the organization hopes to mirror the success of other groups like the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund and She Should Run in increasing the number of marginalized voices in American politics.
“We need to be involved as decision makers when issues involving our community are being discussed,” Blahovec told The 19th.
Prior to working on Disability Victory, Blahovec was the voting rights and civic engagement director for the National Council on Independent Living, one of the longest-running disabled-lead advocacy organizations in the United States. There, she and Carter started Elevate, the first-ever campaign training program for candidates with disabilities — a precursor to Disability Victory.
“We learned about the challenges people were facing when trying to run for office. People would run for office and their local political parties weren’t supportive or would not provide accommodations,” Blahovec said.
Accessibility is a core principle for Blahovec, and while it has made the rollout a little slower than it might be for other organizations, she would rather do things right than fast.
“Everything we need to do needs to be accessible, and accessibility comes first. We don’t want to launch something where it’s only available to some people and not others,” she said. That means sign language interpreters, professional captioning and ensuring written materials can be read by screen reading software.
Unlike She Should Run and the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, Disability Victory is not explicitly nonpartisan — the organization aims to foster disabled candidates with progressive values. According to Blahovec, issues that are important to people with disabilities, like affordable health care, accessible transportation and preserving and expanding Medicaid and Social Security, have largely been the purview of progressive candidates.
Read the full article about Disability Victory by Sara Luterman at The 19th.