The capitol building and

Letter From The CEO


Dear Friends,

As the clock struck midnight on 2020, many promised themselves that the year of tumult and strife would be behind us as a nation and that in 2021 we would be well on our way to better days as a country and community. The events that transpired on January 6, 2020, demonstrate that there is no moment, neither in the present nor in the future, during which we can take our eyes off the goal of justice and inclusion for all. Insurrection against American ideals serves no one and actively deteriorates faith in our institutions.

An Insurrection is a violent uprising against an authority or government.

Disability Rights Pennsylvania condemns the insurrection that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. We express our loudest outrage that the center of the first branch of our constitutional government was violently attacked by individuals hunting and seeking to harm the Vice President, Speaker of the House, and other elected officials. The peaceful transfer of power has been a hallmark of our democracy for over 200 years. It was jarring for Americans everywhere to see it threatened when the Electoral College certification was interrupted. We respect the rights of people to disagree and to assemble peacefully but not to overthrow the first branch of our constitutional government or to attempt to harm elected officials.

Law enforcement, U.S. Attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and others will work to identify and bring to justice those who organized, incited, and participated in the insurrection of January 6. This is one of the first steps that will return us to our democratic roots.

In addition to undermining the democratic process, the insurrection has worked in other negative ways by shifting disability policy out of sight and out of mind in the middle of a pandemic that is impacting our community deeply. The pandemic is disproportionately taking the lives of people of color and people with disabilities. We enter a new legislative session with critical issues facing disabled people. COVID-19 testing access, ensuring quick vaccine distribution, protecting and enhancing home and community-based service funding, and continued distribution of personal protective equipment to those facilities that need it are the top priorities. Yet again, focus has been diverted from the disability community as our nation faces

this constitutional crisis. We fear the insurrection will impact the future of policymaking and civic discourse over the visibility and engagement on our policy issues. We cannot fall back into a cycle of disabled disenfranchisement on public policy.

There is some hope, and it already lies in your hands While our U.S. Capitol may be more difficult to physically access, we still have the ability to communicate with our congressional delegation through email.

We have an action item for you that you can read about later in our newsletter. I always say #AdvocacyMatters. Let us start our advocacy for 2021 with an email to our members of congress. Let us condemn the insurrection and urge our delegation to get back to the business of supporting people with disabilities through this pandemic. Join us as we call for a return to focus on COVID for our community.



Peri Jude Radecic, CEO


P.S. You can help support our policy efforts on COVID-19 with a donation of any size today.

Emergency sign

What Happened At The Capitol Sends Message to People with Disabilities

As a member of the disability community, I abhor any threats to American democracy, such as the attack on the Capitol on  January 6.  The resilience of all people, including people with disabilities, was tested when protesters stormed the Capitol Building to riot against the certification of the 2020 presidential election. People with disabilities have shown self-empowerment and persistence during our ongoing civil rights movement, which often includes organized protest, but never violence. This is the American way.

The lack of proper emergency preparedness at the Capitol building enabled a democratic legislative process to be overcome by violent rioting.  As a person with a disability,  emergency preparedness in all public settings is essential. People with disabilities may be fearful of running for local, state or national office due to the lack of emergency preparedness seen during the attack on the Capitol, but my hope is that security personnel at all levels of government take emergency preparedness seriously and do not let politics or other considerations deter them from best practices. If best practices for emergency preparedness in public settings are not in place for people with disabilities, security personnel must build relationships with disability organizations for guidance.

The following resources are important:

CDC: Disability and Health Emergency Preparedness

Red Cross: Inclusive Emergency Preparedness

Enhancing Public Health Emergency Preparedness for Special Needs Populations

FEMA: Addressing Special Needs

Former Governor Thornburgh

Former Governor Dick Thornburgh: Celebrating The Life of A Tireless Ally To The Disability Community

Disability Rights Pennsylvania is saddened at the death of former Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh.  After serving as Governor of Pennsylvania, he served as Attorney General of the United States and was instrumental in the drafting and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Because of his advocacy for the disability community, generations of people with disabilities will feel the effects of his work. His drive to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities will always be remembered.

COVID-19 Resources

Know Your Rights According to the Americans With Disabilities Act During COVID-19

We as an organization feel it is necessary to equip our community with the information you need to seek care amidst the pandemic. With that in mind, please see below for our COVID-19 healthcare resources. If you need advocacy as it pertains to seeking care, please call our COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-692-7443 EXT. 402... Read more

MLK Marching and the text:
A woman wearing a mask and the text: Last year, DRP's COVID-19 work impacted the lives every Pennsylvanian with a disability. With your help we can do the same in 2021.Help us continue this work with a donation today.

Disability Rights Pennsylvania
301 Chestnut Street Suite 300 | Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101
800-692-7443 |

Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser