Think Tank 2000: A Brief Summary As Background Information

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  • Major reports issued by NCD in 1993 and 1999 showed that people with disabilities from diverse cultures receive unequal protection and benefits under disability and other civil rights laws.
  • In May 2000, NCD called together a group of 80 advocates and other experts from diverse cultures to develop an action plan for advancing the civil and human rights of people with disabilities from diverse cultures. The gathering was called Think Tank 2000.

The Think Tank participants identified these key strategies for advancing civil and human rights of people with disabilities from diverse cultures:

1.      Including known and emerging leaders from diverse cultures in decision- and policy-making at every level (local, state and federal);

2.      Making available accurate, culturally competent, accessible and low cost information and training on civil and human rights issues; and

3.      Building strong alliances with civil and human rights groups outside the disability community around shared issues and a common action agenda.

The Think Tank 2000 participants formed a coalition called Leadership Coalition Unlimited (LCU).  LCU created a listserv where members are freely share information. Under its statutory mandate, NCD's role is supportive in ways that encourage/provide public information.

  • As its core efforts and activities, the LCU sought strategies needed to:

1.      Create a website (separate from the listserv) for making  "user-friendly" information available about opportunities for high quality education, training, leadership development, and coalition building strategies;

2.      Develop a multi-cultural cross disabilities advocacy tool kit; and

3.      Lay the groundwork and put mechanisms in place for rating national and local service systems on factors such as how well people are served, treated, included in policy and decision-making, and whether existing laws are being enforced.

  • Think Tank 2000/LCU participants asked NCD to:

Ø  Bring more civil and human rights organizations together to discuss coalition-building;

Ø  Develop a best practices handbook with examples of successful coalition-building from the national to the grassroots level, and

Ø  Issue a position statement addressing cultural competency from the perspective of all disability groups.