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ADA@25: Economic Advancement and Financial Inclusion Summit – National Disability Institute

[email protected]: Economic Advancement and Financial Inclusion Summit – National Disability Institute


>>Good morning. All right, there we go. We want to invite people to take their
seats so we can begin our exciting summit. All right, this is a great crowd. You ask them to be quiet, everybody gets quiet. Let me see, anybody got a $10 bill,
you know, you’re just giving away? If you’re just going to follow everything I
say today we’re going to have a great time. But I just want to say first I want
to welcome you to [email protected] and the first of its kind economic advancement and financial
inclusion summit in our nation’s capital. Please, give it a round of applause. This is great to be here today. [ Applause ] Let me get out a few quick
announcements that I have to make. First, someone gave me this thing, Michael. Evidently someone in this room has
lost a roll of $100 bills wrapped –>>That’s mine!>>– in a rubber band. Whoever it is, please see us, because
we have found your rubber band. [ Laughter ] Now don’t ask me what happened to the
money, but we found your rubber band. I want to say good morning to representatives
from the White House, Chairman Gruenberg, leaders and members of the National
Disability Institute, sponsors, respected government leaders, committed
community leaders, supportive corporate leaders, concerned religious leaders, ladies, gentlemen,
and my beloved brothers and sisters all. My name is Kelvin Boston, and I am the host
of the “Moneywise” public television series, and I have the privilege of being your
emcee along with Michael this morning. Before I bring up our first speaker
I’d like to just say a few comments. As we begin what I think is one
of the most exciting, important, and impactful day in our nation’s history. My friends, let me share these words with you. “Consult not your fears, but
your hopes and your dreams. Think now about your frustration,
but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with those
things you have tried and failed in, but consider what is still
possible for you to do.” Pope John XXIII said these words many, many
years ago, but I think they are fitting as we come here today at this
summit on economic inclusion. As we gather today, my friends, as we’re here to
celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, consult not your
fears but your hopes and your dreams. And as you discuss strategies later and
pathways to a better economic future for people with disabilities think not
about your frustrations, but think about your unfulfilled potential. And tomorrow when you return to your
place of work don’t focus on those things that you have tried and failed in. But consider only what is
still possible for you to do. This is an important event. This is an important week. We have seen history made over
and over in the past few weeks. But what I’m most excited about is
that we’re going to make history today. Now many people know me from my work in public
television, but I’m happy to be here today because of the work that I do
with the Moneywise Foundation. I’m honored to be here because our work in many
ways reflects that work and mission of NDI, and it also reflects the
purpose for us being here today. The Moneywise mission, both our television
programming, and our outreach work, and our foundation work, has
one mission, and that mission is to help all Americans live their
lives with financial dignity. And I think, Michael, that our mission
is similar to NDI’s mission which focuses on economic advancement for
people with disabilities. Now and our work has primarily
focused on people of color. And many of whom, as you may know, took
the biggest hit from the recession. And according to our friends at
the Center for Responsible Lending, multicultural communities have lost almost 50% of their collective net worth
because of the recession. And for this reason during the next series
of “Moneywise” we’re going to be focusing on helping all Americans develop their
own personal economic recovery plan, regardless of their income, regardless of their
race, and whether they have disability or not. We want to make sure that every American
has their own economic recovery plan. And we’re going to use our national
broadcast reach to bring that about. So I’m very excited about that. But what many people don’t know is that
— the reason why we’re doing this. We’re doing this, my friends,
because the recession may be over, but for many communities the recovery
will take another five to 10 years — the economic recovery will
take another five to 10 years, especially in these low-wealth
communities that we try to focus on. But we’re also doing this work because
we’re the only national television program that has this mission, that
serves this audience, and that can provide this type of information. But Michael, a lot of people do not know about
the work we’re doing outside of television. They don’t know that because of our friends
at the FDIC, and our friends at Prudential, and our friends at the US Small Business
Administration, and our friends at NEFE and other nonprofit organizations that we
also have the number one faith-based economic empowerment tour in the country. And that once a month we travel to an
African-American church, and we teach five, to 500, to 1000 people how that
they can improve their lives and find economic success in America. But what I’m most happy about being here
today to share with you something I think that we can work with the NDI on is the
Moneywise Retirement for All initiative. Again, thanks to our friend
at the Insight Center for Economic Conclusion in
San Francisco and Prudential. For the next three years we’re going
to help underserved communities prepare for retirement security in America. Now you can imagine, Michael, what people
say to me when they say, “Well, Kelvin, didn’t you just say that the people
you serve lost 50% of their net worth? Didn’t you just say that many Americans
took a big hit during the recession, many have not come back? So why are you focusing on helping these
people who seem to have little savings, who seem to have little assets instead of
helping wealthy Americans improve their life? Didn’t you get the memo that we have
a trickle-down economic society?” And I share with them, “Well, you know, I
think that we need to focus on all Americans.” And this is especially difficult, namely
when you’re trying to raise money. Especially because most of our supporters
are financial institutions and foundations. And so sometimes, Michael, I have to dig
down deep and share with them this story about why I’m doing this work for
what I think people who need the most. I remind them of the — about this young
lady who wanted to get a business loan. She was an African-American. And the vendor said, “You know,
I’d like to give you this loan, but you have some very — how can I say this? — unflattering information
on your credit report.” And the young lady looked at the banker
and said, “Yes, but my future is spotless.” My friends, I believe all
Americans’ future is spotless. I think that we have to give all Americans a
chance regardless what they’ve been through. And for that reason we don’t focus on
the assets people don’t have in our work. We focus on the assets they can have. And we try to share with them through
financial education, and empowerment, and resources how they, too,
can enjoy the American dream. But I’m happy to be here, my friends,
because the most important thing we can share with people, especially coming
out of the Great Recession, is this the recession has impacted
everyone’s lives financially. And yes, some people have rebounded
better and quicker than others. But even those Americans who find themselves
at the recession with fewer financial resources and assets, we have to remember that they are
still blessed with enormous human capital. And if we share with them how they can use their
human capital then eventually they will increase their financial capital. And that’s why I’m here to be with you today. I’m so excited about this conference. But I think we have to bring one
thing home that’s very important — two things that are very important. One, we can never forget that in our great
society today a technology entrepreneur can lose a billion dollars with a failed venture, and
afterward angel investors will come along and give this person another billion
dollars on their second venture. And often when you ask the angel investor
why did they invest in this person after they lost a billion dollars their
rationale is that, “Well, you know, that entrepreneur will learn
from his earlier mistakes, and he will not make the
same mistake the next time. He’ll get it right the next time.” My friends, I believe that all Americans,
black or white, affluent or poor, disabled or nondisabled should have another
chance to secure the American dream. I think that they will learn
from any past financial mistakes, and that the next time they will get it right. But that it’s up to us to get them the
financial information that they need, the financial resources they need, and
the government assistance that they need so that they can get it right the next time. I am so excited to be here
because that’s what we’re today. We’re here to celebrate ADA 25 years
after its signing into our laws. But we’re also here to prepare
for the future and to look at what America will be like
25 years from today. And I’m so excited because I
believe America’s future is bright. I believe that if you look at the new
technologies, the rapid urbanization of our country, and the fact that for the
most part we still have a stable economy, that it’s going to take some time, But
America’s economic future is bright. The question is where will people
with disabilities be in that future? And that’s what we’re here to talk about. We want to make sure that not some
Americans but all Americans share in the great economic progress that’s
going to bless this country in a few years. And so I share with you my friends that
this is an important discussion we’re going to have today. This is an important summit. And I ask for you only to do one
thing as you go through this day, to consult not your fears but
your hopes and your dreams. Are you ready to get started?>>Yes.>>Oh, you got to say it better than that. Are you ready to get started? [ Applause ] What I’d like to do right now,
we have a special guest with us. And so what I’d like to do is introduce
to you Ms. Maria Town, Associate Director from the White House Office
of Public Engagement. And she’s going to bring us
remarks from President Barack Obama. [ Applause ]>>Thank you, Kelvin, for that introduction
and those wonderful opening remarks. I really love the concept of a spotless future. I’m thrilled to be here today on behalf
of the White House and the President. And if you look in your program you will see a
letter from the President welcoming all of you and championing all of you in
your work for economic stability and financial independence for all Americans. I want to applaud everyone at NDI for
organizing this critical conversation. When I go out in my role in public
engagement, and I talk to Americans with disabilities I hear things like, “I feel
like I’m being punished for getting married. I feel like I’m being punished
for wanting a family. I feel like I’m being punished
for wanting to work. I feel like I’m being punished for
trying to pursue the American dream.” Now beneath all of those comments is the
reality that, “Because of the systems and structures I need to support myself and live in my community I cannot pursue the
American dream and continue to survive because I cannot attain economic
stability and plan for my future.” Right? The ADA created possibility, and I’m
very honored to be a part of the ADA generation, a group of young people who’s grown up — since
its passage who’s grown up with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act which is
celebrating its 40th anniversary in the fall. And while they can see possibility, while
they can see future, they may not be able to establish the path to get there. And so yesterday when I was at the Department
of Labor and I heard Senator Tom Harkin, a fearless champion for disability rights, talk about the next 25 years being
jobs, jobs, jobs I completely agree. But in the context of jobs, jobs, jobs
we have to talk explicitly and directly about how we address poverty and
economic stability for all Americans. Now all of you know this, but
I’m going to say it anyway, poverty and disability go hand in hand. In fact, disability can be both a cause
and a consequence of economic insecurity. It’s a cause because disability or illness
can lead to job loss or reduced earnings, barriers to education and skill development,
as well as significant additional expenses. Disability can be a result of poverty and
economic insecurity because it can limit access to healthcare and preventive services that
increase the likelihood that a person lives in an environment that adversely
affects their health. Now it’s unfortunate that even when we
talk about individuals with disabilities who are employed at full-time wages we have
these large disparities of wage earnings. New research reveals that large
disparities exist when we compare part-time and full-time workers with
and without disabilities. In 2013 21.7% of part-time workers with
disabilities were poor compared to 16.7% of part-time workers without disabilities. For full-time workers with disabilities 8.9% had
incomes at or below the poverty line in 2013, which is nearly twice the rate of
full-time workers without disabilities. People with disabilities are much more likely
to be underbanked or not banked at all. And I’m really grateful that NDI as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are
actively doing work right now to address this. The Roads to Economic Independence Grant Program
is one of the first of its kind to really get at financial literacy and
economic stability tools for both people with disabilities and veterans. And I want to really applaud
NTI for their work on that. The President has had a strong
agenda when it comes to poverty since the very beginning of his administration. The Lilly Ledbetter Act was the first
act that he signed into law, right? The Dodd-Frank Act, formulating things
like the Consumer Protection Bureau, and now six years later the
President continues to believe that in America everyone should be empowered by
the country that they call home and not limited by the ZIP code into which
they are born or the fact that they may have received public
benefits since they were born. And that’s why he’s really focused on actions
to expand opportunities for more Americans. He has tried to restore economic
security to hard-hit American families, building strong neighborhoods and communities,
defending the civil rights of all Americans, and ensuring that young people have
opportunities to reach their full potential. What we know is that when children grow up in poverty it costs our nation half a
trillion dollars in lost wages, productivity, and other costs each year, which is
roughly equivalent of 4% of the GDP. So when we address the problem of
poverty it’s more than just money. It’s a moral responsibility for all Americans, and it’s an absolute economic
imperative for our nation. When we think about addressing poverty, in
addition to financial resources and making sure that they are accessible to
all Americans we have to think through strengthening unemployment, SNAP
benefits, launching rehousing programs, and expanding the eligibility of child tax
credits and the Earned Economic Tax Credit. These things have helped more than 3.9
million people and 5.7 million families get out of poverty during the recovery. In fact, during 2013 more than 1.1 million
Americans were lifted out of poverty, led by the largest one-year drop
in childhood poverty since 1966. Now I have 18 months left in my job. We are in the fourth quarter. How many of you out there are sports fans? Right? I’m a Saints fan myself, from Louisiana. Anyone who watched that Saints
Super Bowl game know that a lot can happen in the fourth quarter. On Monday the President celebrated
the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. And I highly recommend that all
of you take a look at his remarks. At the end of his address he
made a strong, fervent commitment to advancing disability rights and
raising the tides for all Americans, including Americans with disabilities. So I am really looking forward to what
comes out of your conversations today because I think they can directly inform what
the White House does for the next 18 months. Thank you all very much. [ Applause ]>>Thank you. Great, thank you. Thank you. At this time we will have
our opening key mark — keynote remarks from an individual with
the unique advantage point to observe and assess financial inclusion for all
Americans, including households headed by individuals with disabilities. Martin Gruenberg is the 20th
Chairman of the FDIC. He joined the FDIC after broad congressional
experience in the Senate Banking Committee and has served actively with the FDIC
Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion to provide advice and recommendations
to expand access to banking services to all
underserved populations. Will you please welcome the
Chairman of the FDIC, Mr. Martin Gruenberg — Chairman
Martin Gruenberg? [ Applause ]>>Morning, everybody. And Kelvin, thank you for that introduction. And Maria, thank you for your thoughtful
and inspiring comments this morning. I — it’s a real privilege for me to be here. And let me begin if I may by commending
the National Disability Institute for convening this summit and for
focusing attention on the issue of financial inclusion for
people with disabilities. You know, there are a range of issues and challenges confronting
with people with disabilities. I think that a mention of access
to basic financial services and credit products perhaps has
received less attention in the past? But clearly it is a critical factor in terms
of providing individuals with a measure of empowerment, of independence, and of
personal security, that it really goes to the essence of the issues and challenges. So this has perhaps been an area that
has received less attention in the past, probably deserving of greater
attention going forward. So I really commend you for your
focus in leadership in this area. And I want to underscore the
FDIC’s commitment to work with you and to focus increased attention. For the FDIC, you know, expanding
access to the banking system and to mainstream financial services very
much goes to the core mission of our agency. The FDIC was established more than 80
years ago when our banking system was in collapse during the Depression. And the purpose was to restore the
public’s confidence in the banking system and to give people a sense of
security in their personal finances. And really since that time that has
been the core mission of the FDIC and certainly remains one
of our key priorities today. And we have spent a lot of time on this issue
of financial inclusion and expanding access to the banking system for everybody
who lives in the United States. And I’m really particularly pleased and grateful
for the opportunity to speak with you all today about the work we’re doing, particularly focused
on expanding access to the financial system for people in the United
States with disabilities. So let me — I want to do three things, talk
about particularly the research that we’ve done which I think has been important
because the first — for the first time we’ve been able to document
the dimensions of the issue and the challenge in terms of access to basic banking
services for people with disabilities. And then talk about some of the work that
we’ve done and initiatives we’ve undertaken to be responsive — to be
responsive to that challenge. So first, if I may, let me turn to the research. In order to have a better data, to help develop
effective economic inclusion strategies the FDIC periodically conducts national studies that
explore households’ use of financial services. The FDIC National Survey of Unbanked
and Underbanked households is conducted in partnership with the Census
Bureau every two years. It estimates the size of the
unbanked and underbanked populations, describes their demographic characteristics,
and provides insight into opportunities to address the financial
services needs of consumers. This initiative, which we began back in
2009, this partnership with the Census Bureau on a national survey of who’s unbanked and underbanked I really think
has been a foundational effort to document credibly the dimensions of this
issue in our country and to use it as a basis for developing effective responses. The most recent survey results from 2013 shows
that substantial portions of the population in the United States remain
unbanked or underbanked. The most recent survey found that 7.7% of US households have no bank
account, and 20% are underbanked. And as defined in the survey
that means they may — someone in the household
may have a bank account, but they’ve also utilized high-cost alternative
nonbank financial services in the previous year. And as in prior surveys we found that unbanked and underbanked rates are particularly
high among non-Asian minorities, households with lower income and
education levels, young households, and households experiencing unemployment. And for the first time in our 2013 report we
show that households headed by individuals with a disability are also less likely than
the general population to have a bank account and more likely to use high-cost alternative
financial services even when they are banked. If I may, let me walk through
some of the numbers with you. Among lower-income households, those
with annual incomes below $30,000, approximately one in five, 19%, are unbanked
and nearly a quarter, 23.8% are underbanked, for a total of over 40% of the low-income
populations either unbanked or underbanked. For African-American households
more than one in five are unbanked, and about a third are underbanked. Over 50% of African-American households
in the United States are either unbanked or underbanked based on the
findings of the survey. And the survey found that one in six
Hispanic households are unbanked, and nearly 30% are underbanked. Over 40% — 46% of Hispanic
households are unbanked or underbanked. For households headed by a working-age
individual with a disability approximately one in six, over 18%, are unbanked, and more
than one in four, 28% are underbanked. In short, over 46%, nearly half of households
headed by an individual with a disability rely on providers outside of the financial mainstream
for some or all of their financial services. Now while some of these figures show that access
to mainstream financial services continues to lag among these populations,
the survey also found that banks can serve the
needs of these populations. In other words, you can look
at the glass as half empty, or you can look at the glass as half full. So 40 to 50% of these populations may
lack access to the banking system, but what that also says is that 50% have access. So it is possible, and there are
opportunities to expand access. And that’s really, I think, an important
foundation for us to build upon. The FDIC survey results raise several
important implications about ways to successfully serve diverse consumer needs. First we should recognize that
banking status is dynamic. Many households enter and exit
the banking system each year. In fact, we see that almost
half of unbanked households, 45.9% have previously held a bank account. The survey shows that many households that
experienced banking transitions also had changes in their employment and income
that influenced those decisions. For those exiting the banking
system over 1/3 said that job loss or a significant drop in income contributed. At the same time employment changes
also help explain many transitions into the banking system. One in five households that
recently opened a bank account said that a new job contributed to their decision. It’s worth noting that there
are some differences in the results for those with disabilities. These households were less likely to say that
employment changes contributed them opening or closing a bank account in the past year. On the other hand, they were more
likely to cite direct deposit as the reason for establishing an account. Nearly half of recently-banked
households headed by an individual with a disability said they
opened the account mainly to receive direct deposit
of a paycheck or benefits. That seems to me to be an
important piece of information. Taken together these results suggest that
interventions or product features designed to help households maintain and
renew their banking relationships through economic challenges may
reduce unbanked rates over time. This may mean, for example, reaching out
to consumers starting new jobs or enrolling in benefit programs with
opportunities to open an account. It may mean structuring a bank account to waive
fees if the consumer uses bill pay services in a month rather than requiring them to
maintain a certain balance in the account which can be difficult for
households experiencing unemployment or receiving certain benefits. A second implication from the survey findings is that mobile financial services
offer intriguing possibilities for helping to expand economic inclusion. Mobile financial services can provide — and the relevance of this to people with
disabilities is really self-evident. Mobile financial services can
provide account information from virtually any location at any time. Along with this information mobile financial
services can provide tools consumers can use to manage their finances, conduct
transactions, and avoid potential problems such as overdrafts, late fees, and fraud. As a result this technology has the potential
to make banking relationships more convenient and sustainable for households
that may experience such concerns. Our survey with the Census
Bureau shows widespread use of mobile phones across the US population. More than 2/3, 68%, of unbanked
households and more than 90% of underbanked households owns a mobile phone. While smartphone ownership lags
somewhat among the unbanked at 33%, underbanked households are actually more likely to have a smartphone than
fully-banked households. And in fact underbanked mobile phone users are
actually more likely to have used mobile banking and are more likely to rely on it as their primary banking method
than fully-banked households. But though we know that mobile services
are being rapidly adopted by a wide variety of consumers and institutions it is not clear
whether the technology’s full potential is being leveraged to expand inclusion
in the banking system. A white paper that the FDIC
released last year noted that mobile financial services will only — likely will only recognize its economic
inclusion potential when thoughtfully designed and integrated into a bank’s overall strategy. Notably, households headed by individuals are
less likely to use mobile banking at this time. Smartphone ownership is somewhat low
among these households, less than 40%. Even among banked households, those headed by
an individual with a disability were only half as likely to use mobile banking
relative to others. This difference suggest an
opportunity to learn whether and how mobile technology can be better used
as a tool for financial inclusion for peoples with disabilities, and this will be a focus
of attention for the FDIC going forward. The third and final implication from the
survey relates to the fast-growing use of prepaid debit cards among
the unbanked and underbanked. Between 2009 and 2013 the
proportion of unbanked households that indicated they had ever used
a prepaid card more than doubled. The most recent data shows that more than one in four unbanked households have
used a prepaid card at some point. In fact, in 2013 a majority of all households,
55%, used prepaid cards in the last 12 months — using prepaid cards in the last 12 months
were either unbanked or under banked. Did you catch that? A majority of all households using prepaid cards in the last 12 months were
either unbanked or underbanked. Relevant to our focus here, more than one in 10
households, over 13%, that used a prepaid card in the last year was headed by
an individual with a disability. Moreover, consumers using prepaid cards
generally report that they received them from nonbank sources but are using
them to conduct the same sort of day-to-day transactions
associated with bank accounts. It may be interesting then to learn that
almost half, 46.5%, of unbanked households that used prepaid cards in the last year
report that they are somewhat or very likely to open a banking account in the future. All told, these results suggest
that there are opportunities to meet these consumer needs
within the banking system. So let me talk a little bit about one initiative
that the FDIC has been pursuing in this area, and we call it our safe accounts initiative. As I indicated earlier an account
relationship is fundamental to participate in the mainstream banking system, and frankly
is an avenue for economic opportunity. In many ways opening an account with
an assured bank is a stepping stone to participation in our economy. But it is critical that consumers are
matched with accounts that meet their needs. To facilitate sustainable banking
relationships the FDIC developed a model safe account template. The template describes transaction and savings
accounts that are transparent, low-cost, and easy-to-understand, backed by established
consumer protections, and insured by the FDIC. The transaction accounts that I want
to focus on this morning are structured around an account-based debit card. This account-based debit card does not
offer checking services, but frankly that’s about the only service it doesn’t provide. By foregoing checking you
substantially reduce the cost of offering the card to the
financial institution. But at the same time the card affords
the consumer a full account relationship with the institution which means access to ATM,
access to point of sale, the ability to walk in or go into a branch of an institution, present
yourself as an account holder to gain access to the banking services and the credit
products that the institution offers. And under the terms of our safe
account the minimum balance for these cards has to be very low. The minimum fees are also quite low. And no overdraft fees are
permitted for these safe accounts. We initiated a pilot program — a one-year
pilot program with nine banks around the country to test the market acceptability of the card. The results were very positive. And we have since engaged with major
institutions around the country. And I’m pleased to tell you that
both major money-center banks and major regional bank are now offering
account-based debit cards that comport with the standards of the safe account. And I should point out that
others have demonstrated that insured institutions can also
use prepaid cards as a tool that leads to meaningful banking relationships
following the standards of the safe account. And there are a number of
institutions that are doing this, including the institution
that’s hosting this event. These card products can help consumers meet
basic transactional needs while providing security for their funds and access
to a range of products and services. The FDIC estimates today that 78% of the
US population lives in a county with one or more branches of bank
that offer safe accounts. But access alone is not enough to ensure
that consumers will take advantage of the opportunities provided by these accounts. So that’s the next portion of this speech. The FDIC has engaged with community-based
organizations, financial institutions, and consumers in efforts to
expand access to these cards and utilizing financial literacy
and capability as a vehicle. I would note just at the outset I believe
we have a representative of the Bank On movement taking part in
this program later today, but the FDIC has established a partnership with
the Bank On movement to work with local Bank On partnerships around the country
to expand access to safe accounts. And we have utilized our Money Smart program
to expand financial education and literacy so that individuals can better understand
the financial challenges that they face. The Money Smart program helps consumers,
particularly low- and moderate-income consumers, enhance their financial skills and
create positive banking relationships. I want to spend a moment talking
about Money Smart if I may. Nearly 2.8 million consumers have used
the Money Smart program since 2001. For many in the United States, especially those
outside the financial and economic mainstream, financial education introduces
the benefits of a bank account and provides the basic skills necessary
to make sound financial decisions. To be successful, financial
education must be easily accessible. To this end we make Money Smart
resources available in multiple languages and format including large print,
Braille, and through podcasts and have our online service including
self-paced segments meet federally-mandated accessibility standards. And because we train instructors
who can use Money Smart materials to teach consumers the FDIC includes
implementation resources and tips for teachers and instructors to use to engage
individuals with disabilities. All of these resources and materials
are available for free by starting at our website, FDIC.gov/moneysmart. In fact, through this website you will
find new resources that involve parents, other family members, and caregivers in the
learning process for financial education, and particularly focused on young people. In addition to making these materials
widely available our community affairs staff and FDIC regional and area offices play
an important role in addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities. For example, our Dallas region has been working
with REACH, the Rehabilitation, Education, and Advocacy for Citizens with Handicaps, a
nonprofit organization serving North Texas. As a result, REACH is using the FDIC Money
Smart curriculum to provide financial education and increase the financial
resilience of students transitioning from high school to independent living. I’m sure that others in this room could share
their own stories of working to expand access. So while we have made a lot of progress, I
think, in recent years it is clear there is a — that there is a great deal more to be done. Most financial — more financial
institution partners are needed to ensure that consumers can readily
find convenient options. We also depend on our partners to identify
and help initiate strategies to educate and connect consumers to banking
options that will meet their needs. I would note, as was noted earlier, NDI’s
recent announcement that it is working with the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau, and that’s an important example. The initiative aims to blend financial
education, counseling, and support services to help individuals with disabilities
set and achieve financial goals such as better credit scores
and increased savings. If I may say, NDI’s work with
the FDIC is another example. Researchers and experts, including staff from
NDI, advised the FDIC as we devised methods for using our data to provide estimates
for individuals with a disability. We have also learned from
research NDI co-published with Syracuse University using
FDIC household survey data. The research concludes that financial
institutions can do more to make their products and services more accessible to
individuals with disabilities. And I am pleased to announce that NDI
has agreed to help the FDIC find ways to improve access to banking services. To that end, at the fall meeting
of our FDIC Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion we will be
working with NDI to convene a panel to identify additional opportunities
for our financial institutions, to better serve individuals with disabilities,
and this will be a focus in priority for the FDIC’s work going forward. So in conclusion I would like to
thank you for the work that you do, really for the critical leadership that NDI
has provided in this area, and if I may I would like to underscore the commitment of the
FDIC to partner with you to expand access to the banking system for people
with disabilities in our country. Thank you all very much. [ Applause ]>>Thank you. Good job. All right, thank
you, Chairman Gruenberg. Exciting things going on. We would not be here today at this
great summit were it not for the vision of the two people whom you are about to meet. Man. Michael Morris is the Founder and Executive
Director of the National Disability Institute. NDI is the leading voice and source
for engagement for governments, financial institutions, nonprofit organization,
and disability communities seeking ways — trying to understand ways to make
sure that 58 million Americans with disabilities are not
forgotten in our society. Will you please welcome Michael Morris? And he will introduce a very
special guest from JPMorgan Chase. [ Applause ]>>Well, thank you all for
being here this morning and being a part of this important summit. This day had months in planning and really
was as much about a celebration of the ADA and all that has been achieved to date, but
also as has been shared by Maria, and by Kelvin, and by Chairman Gruenfeld
[sic], this is about the future. This is about where we go next. This is about building that
roadmap to financial inclusion, better-informed financial decision
making by people with disabilities, and ultimately about full inclusion
in our economy by individuals with disabilities and their families nationwide. I think all of us are familiar
with that the ADA, its intent was to end discrimination
and segregation. But it also established a new norm, 25 years
ago, the set of promises to establish a new norm of equal opportunity for community
action — community access and inclusion. The National Disability Institute’s vision
when we started 10 years ago was a simple one, to create a world where people with
disabilities have the same opportunity to achieve financial stability and
security as their nondisabled peers. This summit is about that. This summit is about marking
our progress toward that goal. And this summit is about building the next
generation of policy and practice ideas, efforts, activities to fulfill the promise of
the ADA to advance economic self-sufficiency. I think all of us — and Kelvin, certainly with
your opening remarks really drew the connection, as you did, Maria, between
disability and poverty. But what we also know about disability
is that it cut across the dividing lines of gender, race, ethnicity, and age. And what we’re trying to
do here today with you is about bringing the conversation to a new level. This morning’s agenda is about understanding
the challenges as well as opportunities to economic advancement and financial
inclusion for people with disabilities. But after lunch even more significant to me
is about building that roadmap for the future. It’s about everyone in this room regulators,
government leaders, nonprofit community leaders, people with disabilities, parents, family
members, everyone in this room having a say, beginning in round-table discussions,
talking about where do we go next? How do we really expand the opportunity for
economic advancement and financial inclusion for individuals with disabilities? You all when you sat down found at your table
— there is the program guide with a wonderful, welcoming letter from President Obama and an
extraordinary letter as well from the signer of the ADA, President George H. W. Bush. Please take the time and read those letters. We also provided with you
a commemorative poster. If you haven’t opened up that round
— if you have anyone — right there. Hopefully you’ll open this up. It’s in your bag. And what you will find is
a commemorative poster. This poster was developed with the
support of a person with a disability, and extraordinary artist who we have been
the pleasure of working with her family, the Apantes [assumed spelling]
who are here, Berthy and Milton. [ Applause ] Their daughter’s poster, as you look at
it, the title of the poster is Imagination. And you can learn more about the artist
on the inside cover of the program guide. We also provided you in your bag the two
reports which have been groundbreaking in defining financial inclusion and
behavior of people with disabilities. Also you have materials from JPMorgan Chase
about some of their efforts to build a world of financial inclusion and innovation. All of these materials today and
PowerPoints that are going to be used by the subsequent panels will
be found on our website, www. Realeconomicimpact.org/pages/ADA-event. They will be there permanently for
all of you to reference in the future. We also offer to those of you active
in social media a hashtag ADA25 when tweeting about today’s event. In addition to the 100 —
approximately 150 people that are in this room this event today is being
live web streamed across the country. At an independent living center in Milwaukee,
at the Washington Access Fund in Seattle, at places all across the county as
well as people watching in their home, they are participating in this summit today. And we have asked them with the notice that
we sent in advance earlier this week — you, too, will be part of the conversation. Send us your ideas. Send us your recommendations, and those
two will be synthesized into a final — what I hope will be 25 at 25, extraordinary,
powerful, transformative recommendations to advance economically people with
disabilities across this nation. I want to share with you three quotes that
I think really set the tone for the day. The first is in the welcome letter from
President Barack Obama, “Across our country, people with disabilities enrich and
contribute to their communities, and they deserve to participate in
our progress and pursue their dream. I wish you the very best
for a productive summit. And this is in the letter from Former President
George H. W. Bush, “Today’s Economic Advancement and Financial Inclusion Summit
is a crucial first step to making economic equality a reality for all. And finally, the individual certainly all of us
recognize as the Father of the ADA, Justin Dart, who went state to state all across this country
building and galvanizing support for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Justin stated some time ago,
back in those formative years, “The vision of justice is an eternal long march
to the promised land of the good life for all.” So before I turn to our next speaker for some
welcoming remarks I want to thank all of you because so many of you represent part of what
has made the National Disability Institute so strong over the past 10
years, our short history. I want to particularly thank
some of the government agencies that have been extraordinarily
a part of what we do. Our first collaborator was the IRS, and you’re
going to hear from the IRS on the next panel. The extraordinary work we have done
with the US Department of Labor, and they’re here in the room as well. And then it cuts across the federal government. The new project that has been mentioned with
the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Social Security Administration, Treasury, the FDIC as was discussed,
Department of Education. We have mined the fields of government to find
the critical connections to focus on this issue, which is the issue of the day and
the future in terms of the ADA, advancing economic self-sufficiency. I want to thank as well a distinguished group
of private funders that made us possible to be here today and get us to this point. Our first funder was Bank of America that
took a chance on an unknown organization that was only a few days old
and has been with us ever since, taking the risk then and helping us grow. I want to thank the Kessler Foundation
for support over and over again in building our dreams, testing new
projects in sites across the country. I want to thank Walmart for its
many years of support of us. I want to thank Acorda Therapeutics
who had the novel idea to work with us about creating a financial wellness series. What a novel idea for a pharmaceutical company
to give back and help the people they support with finding that pathway
to a better economic future. And there are others, but I just
wanted to single out some of those. Today would not have happened if it wasn’t for a
conversation that started less than a year ago. I was welcomed by Rodney Hood — Where’s Rodney? There he is — who came up to me when we
released our first report based on FINRA data about financial capability
of adults with disabilities, and he said to me, “We need to talk.” And you know, sometimes — sometimes
you forget and you meet so many people. This time I remembered, and I
called Rodney up, we emailed, and the next person he introduced
me to is Naomi Camper. And we began a conversation about
what do we do that will be the event, the moment, the conversation about the ADA? And we came to the conclusion that first
I wanted help with support of research. And that was working with the FDIC on this
extraordinary report on banking status and financial behavior of
individuals with disabilities. But that was just the appetizer. What we had to get to was this today. This today, because it is a defining moment. It is — as Kelvin said, this is
history, and you are part of history. And this is an extraordinary concept to not just
celebrate and reflect on where we have been, but to make a commitment to the future. [ Applause ] I want to introduce you to our collaborator
for this extraordinary event at JPMorgan Chase, Naomi Gendler Camper, Managing Director and
Head of the Office of Nonprofit Engagement. [ Applause ]>>Good morning, everyone. And Michael promised a standing-room-only crowd. There are lots of people standing,
but there are also seats over here, so as much as I love the vision of — you know, the appearance of standing
room only I do welcome you to cross right in front and sit if you would like to. So thank you so much, all, for being here. As we gather on the 25th anniversary of the ADA
I’m struck by periodically how important it is to step back and take stock not just of how
far we’ve come but how far we need to go. And I’m also struck as a Washington
insider by how much a law can accomplish, but how much laws can’t accomplish
and how much needs to be done outside of the legislative process. A law can require equal access
or outlaw overt discrimination, but it can’t mandate equal attitudes,
or understanding, or employment rates. It can’t mandate fully banked populations. There’s so much that a law cannot do,
which is why today collectively talking about the next frontier for financial
inclusion and equality of access of economic advancement is so important to us. It’s a true commitment and passion for us
at JPMorgan Chase, and I’m very gratified to see we share that passion with you. There are no simple answers. It’s not going to be the banks that do it all,
or government that does it all, or individuals, or community-based organizations. I mean, it really takes a collective
effort, which is why today is so important. I want to give a special shout-out
to Keith Ernst who is the godfather of the FDIC Unbanked and Underbanked Survey. Everybody here who does anything in Washington
knows that you can only get so far without data to prove the point and to prove the need. And so the data combined with the personal
stories, that is the holy grail for progress in Washington and in any
area throughout the country. So I think we’ve got the winning
combination with those two elements. A couple of things I wanted to note. You know, like we’ve heard, the statistics
can be really depressing, really daunting, but as Chairman Gruenberg said,
let’s view it as a glass half full. What do we have, you know, to look forward to? There’s some real reason for optimism. The ABLE Act, wow, like a huge step forward. [ Applause ] Taking head-on one of the structural elements
that’s been preventing people with disabilities from building assets toward their future. Section 503 to [applause] — right, to encourage
workplaces to hire people with disabilities, and to encourage current
employees with disabilities to feel comfortable self-identifying
and saying, “Yes, I have a disability. And yes, I am an amazing contributor
to this company or this workplace.” At JPMorgan Chase we have a deep commitment to
making our products and services accessible, being a dynamic place for everybody
to feel comfortable working. I just want Norma Borcherding and Amy Furasher
[assumed spelling] sitting right over there — their full-time jobs are to make sure
that everything we do is inclusive. And it’s very important, I think, for all
companies not to separate their core businesses with the policy people over there. This is all — for anything to work
it’s going to be an inclusive effort. I want to shout out to the USBLN who launched
the first ever Disability Equality Index so that companies can really help
rate themselves on how are they doing about promoting an inclusive
employment environment. I will say not immodestly we were very
pleased to receive a perfect score on that. But the tool — you know, we hoped we would,
but we didn’t know going in whether we would. And that kind of tool, the
self-assessment, was extremely helpful and we hope will be widely adopted by industry. And the other thing I would note is we have a
deep commitment to investing in the capacity of all the community-based
organizations that do such important work to promote the interests of
people with disabilities. Without the community-based organizations we
would not be anywhere close to where we are, and I know many of you represent
those organizations. You need to be strong to be able to
accomplish your mission of inclusion. One final note, there’s a ramp. There’s cart translation services. There are ASL translators throughout the
room, and there’s a mix of people here. The integration and the welcoming of those
simple steps should be a model for all of the conferences that we attend, whether
they’re in DC or throughout the nation. So for those of you who are sponsors
like we are of convenings and conferences where we’re talking about the importance of
economic advancement make sure as funders that you ask for basic accessibility measures. Make sure as funders or participants
that you’re asking the question, “Are there people with disabilities,
A, attending, and B, included in the conference
agenda and the panels?” Let’s make sure the discussions are inclusive. [ Applause ] So with that — I know no one ever looks forward to the [inaudible] remarks, so
thank you for your patience. I don’t know about you, but I
really want to hear the next panel. So thanks so much for being here. [ Applause ]>>Okay, thank you. Naomi, I always want to hear
the sponsors’ remarks because without sponsors
we couldn’t do what we do. But let’s give Michael and
Naomi a round of applause. Great, great, great, great, great. [ Applause ] We’re going to take time to let our panelists
come up for the next — for the first panel. And while they do I just want to make a quick
thought to kind of put things in perspective of why this meeting is so important,
why this week is so important. We are here to talk about improving the economic
conditions for people with disabilities. But guess what, my friends, as it’s been said
earlier but I want to bring it back home? As we increase the economic
opportunities with people with disabilities we increase
the economic opportunities for all Americans — for all Americans. [ Applause ] And I know some of you out there are trying
to get funders, and you’re trying to do things in your own work where you are, and
sometimes you’re looking for an example. Let me just give you an example
that I hope you can share with other people who don’t
understand that point. And this was brought home to me a few days — a few months ago when I was at a
conference on closing the wealth gap. And someone gave this example that
has stuck with me to this day. They said, “You know, a few years ago America
went through the process of making sure that no matter what street in our country,
what sidewalk you walked on in our country, there was a special place for people who had disability could come
onto that sidewalk with access.” Do you remember what we’re
— what I’m talking about? You know what I’m talking about? Have you — huh?>>Curb cuts.>>Curb cuts, right. Have you noticed, my friends, that
today all Americans use the curb cuts?>>Yes.>>Not just those Americans with disabilities. If you are a mother, and you
have a child, and you have — and you’re going to take her in with
a stroller you use the curb cuts. If you’re a jogger and you’re running
down the street you use the curb cuts. If you’re a traveler or a shopper with
a bag or luggage you use the curb cuts. Now the curb cut was designed for what? People with disabilities, but
today they serve all Americans. Does that help you out?>>Yeah.>>That’s why we’re here today. [ Applause ] Okay, and forgive me, because
I get excited about this stuff. This is important stuff. Today we’re going to — by the way, if you —
let me just share with you our format for today. We’re going to have three exciting panel
discussions that’s going to help set the context for our discussion today to give us some context
about ADA, but also to give us some information that we can use to think about how we want a
better, more inclusive society in the future. But then, I don’t know, there must
be something at this NDI organization that they decided we need to go beyond that. We need to talk about solutions,
and we need to plan for the future. Now if you’re like me, you go to
a lot of these type of meetings and no one ever gets to the solutions. We just like to talk about the problem. But not this meeting. Not this session. Not this summit. So again, I just want to give you some
ideas what we’re going to talk about. We’re going to first ask our friends from the
federal government to give us their insight on how they had to respond
to the challenges associated with including people with disabilities. We have a great panel. I mean, first of all we have to give it up. The NDA — the NDI had remarks
from two presidents. They had the Chairman of the FDIC. They brought one of the leading
foundations in America here today. Let’s give it up for you guys. You guys got some influence, okay? You got some clout. [ Applause ] And it continues with our first panel. We are happy to have with us today — we’ll
here from David Buchholz, an Assistant Director, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs
from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. And he’s going to share with us some new
findings from the Federal Reserve Board Survey on Household Economics and Decision Making. David will be followed by comments from
Gail Hillebrand, Associate Director for Consumer Education and Engagement at
the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. At CFPB — I should know that
by now Gail; I apologize — Gail oversees six offices which address
financial education, consumer engagement, and financial protection for
economically vulnerable population. And Gail will be followed — get this,
she’s going to be followed by Annie Donovan who is the Director of the
CDFI Fund at Treasury. Now these are some heavyweight people
here, in case you don’t know this. I mean, this is the Director of the CDFI Fund. Okay, Annie was previously a Senior
Policy Advisor at the White House, and she’s worked with the
Office of Social Innovation. And our final panelist will share thoughts
this morning with us is Julie Garcia who is the Director of Consumer
Assistance, Relationships, and Education at the Internal Revenue Service. She has over 30 years of experience there,
and she has been working primarily on focusing on how we can outreach to disability
communities and improve access to their famed — and I want to say it is very
important — Earned Income Tax Credit. And — but again, there must be something at NDI
that not only do they have four great panelists, but they brought us two community
leaders to add their thoughts to what the panelists have to say. Now I feel like I’m at public
television, you know what I mean? Yeah, give it up. That’s great [applause]. But we’re going to hear — after our panelists
— I’m going to ask them a few questions, and then we’re going to ask our
responders to give their thoughts on what the government has
done, what they can do. And we’re all friends here. But we’re going to have just a discussion
and bring everybody together to talk about — again, to get their context
from a community perspective. So Wendy Crawford and Lex
Frieden is going to respond. Wendy is the founder of the Mobile Women’s
Organization and Rare Beauty Project. And Lex is recognized as the Founder
of the Independent Living Movement. And he was a key architect in the
development of the ADA legislation as Chairman of the National Council on Disability. Why don’t we begin? Please welcome our first speaker. [ Applause ]>>Hello? Oh, there it is. Great. Well, we’re going to go out of order. I have to apologize. I do have to leave in about 25 minutes, so Michael has graciously
offered the first slot to me. So I’m very, very excited to be here today. My awakening to the world of
people with disabilities came from Michael Morris actually back in 2005 when
he talks about the birth of NDI in the basement. I think that we — the organization I was
with actually pulled him out of the basement of the bank and put him in a real office. And I — Michael came to us — at the
time I was with an organization called — that’s now called Capital Impact Partners, and we’re a community development
financial institution. And we — the organization’s been —
had been around for about 20 years. And Michael came along, and he said
that — oh, did you want a mic?>>If you want to move to a slide just hit –>>Okay, thank you. Michael came along and he said, “I am creating
this thing called the National Disability Institute, and it’s going to be about economic
empowerment for people with disabilities. And I don’t want to talk to you about social
security benefits, disability benefits. I don’t want to talk about
federal government programs. I want to — although those are very important. I want to talk about how do we get
ahold of your tools for this community? Because your tools are about
economic empowerment. They’re about social mobility, and
financial security, and financial inclusion. And that’s what we want.” And we got extremely excited to create a
partnership with Michael that then blossomed into the National Disability Institute. So fast forward to today. I’m now currently the Director
of the CDFI Fund that came out of the CDFI world into federal government. And I think this is a great
turning point for us. This is a momentous period for us, too, because we now have certified several
CDFIs that are disability-oriented. I’m going to talk a little bit about
that if I can advance the slides. Okay, so the CDFI Fund is — I’m going to skip
the stats but just get straight to the purpose of the Community Development Financial
Institutions Fund, and it’s dedicated to serving market niches that are underserved
by traditional financial institutions. CDFIs are mission-driven and are certified
by the CDFI Fund for providing services to low-income census tracks
and targeted populations. Now does that sound like a perfect fit or what? We’ve been around for about
20 years, and it’s just been in the last few years that we began certifying. In fact, the Disability Opportunity Fund,
which is run by Charles Hammerman who’s in the audience, was created and
spawned by NDI in the early days. So I’m going to talk a little bit about
what the CDFI Fund does and what folks in your community — how you’re using us
and how you can use us more and better. So CDFIs come in all forms. They can be for-profit. They can be nonprofit. They can be regulated institutions. Some are banks. Some are credit unions. Some are nonprofit loan funds. Some are venture capital funds. But the thing that ties them all together is a
core mission of serving low-income communities. So we are focused on low-income populations
and targeted populations as well. So that includes all parts
of the disability community. The stats are abundantly clear that
people with disabilities are underserved by financial institutions, and that
makes them eligible for our programs. So what do we do as — at the CDFI Fund? We have a program called the Community
Development Financial Institutions Program through which we offer matching funds. And they come in the form of
equity investments, loans, or grants that support the financial
viability of the organization. So the disability — the
Opportunity Fund, for example, is — we fund their business plan
and their balance sheet. We don’t — they take that money then, and they decide what’s the best
way to use it in their community. And I think this program is very,
very powerful because it’s flexible, because we judge the capacity
of the organization. We invest in building the
capacity of the organization. And then those organizations decide
the best way to invest their funds. We have a program that’s targeted
toward Native American CDFIs. There are about 70 certified CDFIs
that work in Native communities. And if there’s not already a
connection drawn between disability and Native communities I’m sure
that’s an area ripe for exploration. We have the Bank Enterprise Award Program
which is for insured depository institutions. You don’t have to be a certified CDFI to get
access to the awards, but if you are working with a certified CDFI you get
preference in this program. So for CDFIs out there that are
disability-oriented you could go to banks and partner with them, and they could pull
down this — they have to compete for it, but they can apply for this money
to help support those programs. We have a — the New Markets Tax Credit
Program which provides tax credits for investments in low-income areas. And I can imagine this being used for
things like housing and services for people with disabilities or bigger community
facilities that serve people with disabilities. The CDFI Bond Program which is a guarantee
for CDFI assets, and the Capital Magnet Fund which targets affordable housing
and in particular affordable housing that integrates other community strategies. So again, our programs weren’t specifically
designed for the disability community, but I think they are a very good fit. So let’s — these are some of the uses that are
already underway, financing affordable housing and community facilities,
financing assistive technology — and I’m going to give an
example of that in a minute — asset development, facilitating savings,
IDA accounts, and financial education. So all of those are eligible
uses under our programs. I’m going to talk about two examples here or ways in which our resources
are already being used. So this first picture is of a —
the client here is Movin’ Out, Inc., and they’re in Madison, Wisconsin. This is 33 units of housing
for people with disabilities. And the Disability Opportunity
Fund financed this. And the Disability Opportunity Fund has an
impressive track record of helping people with disabilities do all sorts of
things, and this is just one of them. And the local organization works with people
with permanent disabilities and their families to find and maintain housing that is the
kind of the housing they choose to live in, that they want to live in, and that
their families are happy to have them in. So a very important empowerment
tool, I think, is the — you know, the ability to live on
your own with the supports you need. The picture — the photo down at the
bottom is the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation. The client there is Sharrod Williams,
and I had the great opportunity to speak with Susan yesterday about all the fantastic
work that is happening with this fund. This was launched with support of — from
the state of Pennsylvania, but it was created as a nonprofit certifiable CDFI and is drawing
resources in then amplifying the resources that are coming from other places
with the resources of the CDFI Fund. In this particular case I was astounded that they have used $33 million
and made 2800 loans so far. It’s an incredible accomplishment. There’s — when you think
about that on the scale of — you know, from the perspective of somebody like
a JPMorgan Chase that does, you know, just huge, huge volumes, and to even, you know, talk to
some of those bigger financial institutions, this scale is so small it’s hard
to even get them to blink an eye. And that’s why this work is so very
important, because we have to be able to scale to the level that’s meaningful for people. And that’s exactly what’s happened here. So in this case you see the photo of a motorized
wheelchair, and Sharrod Williams needed to buy a larger van to transport
him and his growing family. And he wasn’t sure how he could finance it. And while he was shopping
for the van he was referred to the Pennsylvania Assistive
Technology Foundation. And they helped him build his credit
rating and assisted him with purchasing with a loan this vehicle which,
you know, changed his life. And I’m also very impressed with the way in which these organizations take anybody
wherever they are on the credit spectrum in terms of credit scores or
— low scores or no scores. There are many, many people who have
not yet established a credit score. And then — and don’t have access to
the financial mainstream because of it. And these are very, very
important initial stepping stones. So we are delighted with the — that the — that
we have the opportunity to partner with CDFIs and support them for the
work that they’re doing. And if a CDFI is not part of your strategy
already you might want to think about, you know, the possibilities that creating a CDFI might
bring, and talk to your colleagues who have — are paving the way with pioneering
programs and products. I want to talk for one minute about the ABLE
Act because the regulations in the ABLE Act that were — are proposed
by the IRS allow for the — allow for a role for CDFIs
to play in either marketing, or educating, or brokering these accounts. And so hats off to Charlie Hammerman and his
team for talking with the IRS and educating them on the benefit — the beneficial role that
CDFIs can have in trying to build the bridge between the capacity that’s in the law and
the capacity to use it that’s on the ground, which is critical infrastructure that CDFIs
really are in a great position to build. That’s really what they are are bridges
to, you know, what’s possible for people who are not accessing the financial mainstream. I want to talk just for a minute about a
few other programs that are not being done by the CDFI Fund but are being
done by the Treasury Department. So some of my colleagues are working on — you
may have heard of myRA, and that’s a product that helps working people
start to save for their future in a way that’s safe, simple, and affordable. People can put aside small amounts
of money from each paycheck to save. There are no fees, no cost to
open or maintain the account. And the balance never goes down. And so if you want more information
on how you can connect with that product it’s myRA.gov is the website. Also with partners across the government
Treasury hosts the mymoney.gov website which contains free resources
from more than 20 federal agencies on financial topics of — for various audiences. The site is meant to be easy to navigate by life
events like graduation or changing family status as well as by the MyMoney Five, earn, save
and invest, protect, spend, and borrow. So I will stop there. And again, I just want to give my own
note of personal thanks to Michael Morris for my own transformation in understanding
the world of people with disabilities and the opportunity to really connect
tools of empowerment that are — have been developed in the
community development space with the world of people with disabilities. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Good morning!>>Good morning!>>I’m going to move up here so that I can talk
with my hands without injuring Gail [laughter].>>Thumbs up.>>Before I say anything else, I need to start
with our standard disclaimer and tell you that anything I’m about to say this morning
represents only my own views [laughter] and not necessarily those of the
Federal Reserve or our system. My role this morning with the panel presently
is to help ground some of today’s conversations with some factual information about
what we know about the financial lives of individuals with disabilities. And as Kelvin said, this is data
from a survey that we conducted. It is pretty fresh information
as far as data goes. It’s relatively hot off the presses. It’s from a survey we conducted called
the Survey of Household Economics and Decision Making which is a large,
nationally representative survey of adults 18 and over this data was collected late last
year and just published in a report in May so two months ago called the Report on the
Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households. If anyone’s interested, it’s available
for free download on our website. And if we have any researchers in the room,
the data are available for free download as well and we hope that folks use it. As you can see from this, is sort of
a table of contents from the survey. I’m not going to cover anything like
all this ground today but rather, I’m going to cover just a few sort of highlights
of what we know about some of the areas of particular interest, at
least as expressed to us by NDI. And I just want to say one
kind of methodological note. In this survey, when I talk about people with
disabilities, it’s using sort of the standard — one of the standard census definitions
which is folks who identified themselves as not employed because of a disability. That’s obviously a suboptimal definition. We’re missing a lot of folks. We will ask a more — a set of more nuanced
questions when we issue the 2015 survey. So if there’s an ADA at 26 event, I can come
back here and give you more nuanced information. But that’s an important caveat to keep
in mind as I am discussing the data. And actually, as Michael says,
that these PowerPoints are going to live in perpetuity on our website. I might want to go back and add a slide
that explicitly says that in writing. Well, let’s get going. I’m going to hit a number of points. Some of them are going to go fairly quickly and
apologies in advance if some of it’s too quick but I’m happy to discuss any of this. I’ll start off by some basic
measures of economic well-being. Some of it is just collaborative, what we know
through other data sources including two reports that NDI has been involved with
that Michael referenced based on the FINRA data and based on the FDIC data. Some of this is new. First, we just have some
basic income information. This slide just tells us again what we
already know which is on average, as a group, people with disabilities tend to have incomes
that are lower than the rest of the population. And I think it’s important to keep in mind,
I have a number of folks here in the room who are interested more generally in
low and moderate-income populations. There’s a pretty significant
portion of that population. So nearly one in five of folks with low
or moderate income also have a disability so really important to keep in mind there. This is a question and I’ll
caveat this very first question. It’s actually a year old. We didn’t re-ask this question
in this most recent survey. But it’s around expectations
about income coming in. So the good news is that individuals with
disabilities are more likely than the rest of the population and more likely than low
and moderate-income folks without disabilities to tell us if they expect their
income to be stable month to month. So that’s the good news. The bad news is that they are less likely than
other folks to expect that their income is going to be going up over the next year. So for folks who look at these issues, you know that income volatility can be a
real issue among LMI families in general. That doesn’t seem to be a particularly
big problem but the lack of expectations on the income growth is something
that we should take seriously. We took a look just trying to understand
this at things like education level, again, on average as a group, lower education levels. Age doesn’t seem to be explaining that. We could talk about if there’s
causality between education and income which directions those might go but I’m
not going to go into that right now. We also asked some questions about
housing status and living arrangements. There are some interesting differences. First of all, this tells us that on
average, folks with disabilities less likely to be married or living with a partner. More likely to be divorced or separated,
but this is about identical to the rest of the population in terms of
their percentage, never married. So that has some implications for
household income and financial status. We also have a category of folks, that we ask
of folks if they are living with somebody, living with another adult
who’s not a family member. So a little over a fourth of individuals
with disabilities report this as a category, that’s more almost double
the rest of the population. Interestingly, for folks who tell
us that this is their living status, they get a follow-up question
because we want to tease out whether or not this is a financial necessity or
whether there is something else driving this. And so we thought this might
be a place where individuals with disabilities might be less
likely to say this is financial because there might be some other benefits,
some other assistance or caregiving that they may be getting from the relationship. But in fact, the trend is actually in
the opposite direction, not by a lot. But nine out of 10 folks with disabilities
with this housing tenure tell us that if they can afford to move
out on their own, they would. That’s about 82% for the rest of the population. So clearly, finance is driving
a number of key decisions. If you are making about not only how
they’re conducting their financial lives but some very basic things like where do
I live and what’s my living situation. So that’s some, you know, a few basic
snapshots about what’s going on. I want to talk, I think especially relevant
to this conversation, about some information that we have in the survey about savings
in general and around emergency savings in particular and the ability of
people to withstand financial shock. I think some of this information may not
necessarily be surprising because again, we have data from a number of other sources. But I think it’s pretty sobering. So one of the things that we found overall in
pretty much every measure of saving is that even when we control for income, again, there’s high
correlation between lower income and people with disabilities, so that’s clearly at play. But even when we control for income, people
are less likely to have savings and less likely to have the resources that would allow
them to withstand financial shocks. So one quick point just on savings in
general, we asked people a question which is in the last year, what percentage
of your income did you save? We give people a few buckets of choices. I’ll just present one set of
numbers here which is the percentage of people who responded zero percent. I saved none of my income in the last year. And you can see that for the population at large
without a disability, it’s about one in four. For LMI folks without a disability, it’s about
half but for individuals with disabilities, two out of three told us that they were
able to save nothing in the previous year. So clearly again, kind of folks are, you
know, seem to be using substantially all of their income on average
to pay their expenses. So it’s something that should be concerning. Frankly, this slide again speaking only for
myself and not for my employer, you know, these set of numbers are pretty
sobering in general for the population and there’s a real lack of not only saving
but financial preparedness across the board. But I think these numbers for the purposes
of today are particularly troubling. So this is savings in general. We also asked some questions around emergency
savings in particular and some other measures of what we call in the report
economic fragility. So one question that folks get is
hypothetic — well, it’s not hypothetical. We asked people if they have emergency funds
or rainy day funds that would be enough to cover their expenses if they lost their
main source of income for three months. This is a fairly standard survey
question in this general space. So if people tell us, said,
“Yes, I do,” they move on. If not, they get a follow-up question. And we say, “Okay, well you
don’t have emergency funds per se but do you have other savings you could draw on? Is there borrowing? Could you sell something? In other words, is there some way that
you’d be able to make ends meet even if it’s not a rainy day fund per se?” So here are the results to those questions. This first — the first few sets of
numbers are the first two rows are answers to that last question. I’ll just draw your attention to the highlighted
number which is two out of three folks who have a disability tell us that they wouldn’t
be able to find a way to cover their expenses for three months if they
had a shock to their income. So again, not a lot of cushion built in there. Well, okay, that’s sobering, as I said. That’s also three months and three
months is kind of a long time. So we drill down a little bit more in
the survey because we want to know, okay, well how well are people positioned for
something more modest, something that, you know, some of us might be able to
consider a relative bump in the road? So we asked people a hypothetical
questions and this is the question. If you had an emergency expense that cost $400
and I can tell you that there is no magic $400. It was a little bit plucked from the air. How would you pay for that? So you know, think about, for instance, for folks with cars, if you
had an unexpected repair. You had to take your car into the shop. It might cost 400 bucks. With my mechanic, it might cost more [laughter]. But you know, think for yourselves, okay. I have that. How would I actually pay for that? So there were, we gave people a number
of options and we clustered the answers. So one cluster was I’ll just pay for it. So I’d write a check or I’d put it on the credit
card and I’d pay the credit card off next month. There’s another cluster of answers which
was something more dire or creative which is I’d put it on the credit card
but I wouldn’t be able to pay it off or I’d borrow some money some other way or
I’d sell something and do something else. And then there’s a subset of people that
just said, “Couldn’t pay it at all.” So you can see, these are the numbers. If you look at the first row, individuals
with disabilities pretty unlikely to say, “I’d just be able to come up with the money
to cover a $400 expense,” significantly less than the rest of the population
without disabilities and less than LMI folks in general without disabilities. And nearly four in 10 say, “I just
wouldn’t be able to pay it at all.” So this isn’t losing, you
know, income for three months. This is coming with one sort of
unexpected financial bump in the road. So that’s a little bit part of the picture. Again, I told you about how the question
was specified as this is only picking up people who aren’t in the workforce. So we thought, oh, this might just
be a factor of being unemployed in general and having lower incomes. But even when we looked at the other folks
in the survey who identified themselves as unemployed, it’s still a
more significant situation. So that was savings. One of the other things we
looked at in this general space of what we consider fragility is medical
expenses, right, because that’s another aspect of all of our financial lives
that’s relatively unpredictable. So the good news is that as a
group, there’s a high likelihood that folks are covered by health insurance. So 92% of those with disabilities
have some form of health insurance. But despite that, over half of them told us in
the last year, when we asked them this question, in the last year, they had a
medical need that they didn’t get because financially, they couldn’t afford it. So here’s what those numbers
look like broken down. For those of you who are interested,
I can barely read them myself because from up here, it looks real small. But if I recall correctly,
I think it’s dental care and prescription medicines
that are the most common ones. But these are all folks who told us
that in the last year, I needed one or more of these services but I didn’t get
it because financially, I couldn’t afford it. So again, I think a sign that folks are not as
well prepared as we probably like to be able to meet the sort of predictable
unpredictables about life. So I’m going to wrap things up now
and give my fellow panelists some time to chat and share their perspectives. But just a couple of quick more things on
banking and credit that I think tie into some of the comments from our morning keynote
because I think some of the things that we’ve seen are fairly similar to
what the FDIC has seen in its studies and that Chairman Gruenberg
was discussing this morning. So we also constructed very similar,
nearly identical to the FDIC’s construction around definitions of unbanked and
underbanked and we do find that individuals with disabilities are less likely to tell us
that they’re fully served by the banking system. So in other words, they’re more likely to
be unbanked, more likely to be unbanked. But here’s an interesting thing that we find in
our data and this is different from all the data that I’ve mentioned previously which
are robust after controlling for income. Once we control for income, once
we run our regression analysis that includes people’s income,
this difference disappears. It’s no longer significant. So that doesn’t tell us that there’s not
an issue or that there’s not a difference. Folks are disproportionately more
likely to be unbanked and more likely to be underbanked and that’s a real concern. What this tells us is that it’s not
clear whether or not this is an artifact of having a disability, whether it’s an artifact
of having low or moderate income in general. And so I think that’s, you know, that’s an
important thing to think about as we think about strategies for pulling more folks into
the banking system is this might be a place where there’s something else going on that may
or may not be specific to having disabilities. And likewise, we have a question in the survey
that asked people about access to credit. Folks with disabilities disproportionately
are likely to tell us either they had applied for credit and gotten turned
down or they had gotten credit but it was less than they applied for. But similarly here, once we control for income, this no longer becomes statistically
significant. So there’s something else
that may be going on here. So that’s a little bit of a snapshot of
— I know, and there’s Gail [laughter], of what we see in the financial lives of
individuals, at least of individuals not in the workforce who have disability. You know, some pretty serious numbers there and I think it really just underscores
the importance of the conversation that NDI has pulled together today. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Good morning!>>Good morning. A little light here. Mike, let’s see if you could send somebody
up to light my notes, I’d appreciate it. I just speak for the CFPB but the Trade
Affairs, I have to say what I promised to say and I got a script [laughter]. So it’s a pleasure to be here. I’m Gail Hillebrand. I serve at the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau. It’s just a real privilege to be
celebrating the 25th anniversary of the American Disabilities Act with
so many people here who are effective and committed advocates and service providers,
and members of the affected community. And I look forward to the full
discussion on economic advancement and full inclusion including financial
inclusion for people with disabilities. So thank you for all of you who are working
in your communities to build stronger, help people build stronger and
more stable financial lives. In my time this morning, I’m going
to break the first rule of engagement by spending some time talking
about us instead of about you. I’m going to do that because we want you to know
the CFPB so that you will send us complaints, so you’ll send us information about
what’s happening in the field, so you will make proposals to us
about how we can work together. I’m going to then introduce us
through our history and mission and then I’d give you a closer look
at the objectives and approaches to empowering all consumers
in the financial marketplace. And finally, I’ll describe
some of the tools, programs, and resources that the bureau has
available to serve people with disabilities. And if I could get someone to open
this light, I’d really appreciate it. The CFPB was created out
of the financial crisis. And that crisis was complex but was
rooted in people being sold products that they did not understand
and that they could not afford. There was not enough consumer protection
about the products and features but there was also not enough understanding
in consumers about what they were getting and what they were getting into
with those products and features. And we all paid for the financial crisis. And in the wake of the devastation, Congress created the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau. One of the lessons from the
financial crisis, thank you. I know there’s a switch or
something but I can’t see it. Maybe not! One of the lessons from the financial crisis is that consumers need a safe transparent
marketplace and also the financial capability to navigate that marketplace
effectively to serve their own goals. And that brings me to the mission of the CFPB. So our mission is pretty simple. It’s to make markets for consumer financial
products and services work for all consumers. We do that by making rules more effective, by
consistently and fairly enforcing the rules, and by empowering consumers to take
more control over their economic lives. And these goals support each other. Rules and oversight help to shape a better
marketplace and maintain that marketplace. I now work with NDI with many of you
in this room and with many more of you in this room in the future, we hope. Helps to [inaudible] obtain and sustain
financial capability, a form of human capital so that they can get the most
out of their own financial lives and effectively navigate
that financial marketplace. I’m going to show you but not read you our
statutory objectives and just highlight that the first one is informed
financial decision making followed by competitive marketplace, a fair marketplace and one that supports both
access and innovation. So — oh, thank you very much. In your oversight, a key role for the CFPB
is evenhanded compliance and enforcement of the existing laws and regulations. And I’m very happy to show you a
slide that’s totally out of date, $5 billion in consumers’ pockets. This one is about three months’ old. Yesterday, we announced the
new number is 11 billion. Some of that — yes, some of that is money
that went straight back to consumers. Some of these other kinds of relief
such as work-outs, debt forgiveness, and loan modifications, and the part you can’t
quantify are all the entities that we regulate who have decided not to engage in a practice because they have seen somebody else
have to give money back to consumers. And we think that is also incredibly important. You know what enforcement is. That’s kind of a noisy public thing. Supervision is a quiet process of opening the
books with a financial services provider bank or non-bank, mortgage companies, payday lenders,
student loan servicers, debt collectors, consumer reporting agencies, and
international money remitters among them. But when we see a problem in supervision,
we try to bring it to the attention of the whole industry and we did this
in both March and May of this year in an issue involving the consideration
of public assistance income, public benefits income, in
underwriting for credit. So if you’d like to know more about that, you can see it in our supervisor highlights
dated March of 2015, and in a follow-up guidance of May of 2015 where we reminded creditors
that they cannot simply blanket ignore or fail to consider public assistance and public
benefits incomes so they have to look at it in the context of how it’s being received and whether it would be an ongoing
stream of income to repay that loan. I also want to talk a little
bit about complaints. We take complaints at the CFPB. And we turn those into both action for
consumers and internal knowledge for us as we draw our work and knowledge for the
public about what’s going on in the field. We’ve handled more than 650,000
complaints and our age is four years and a half-a-day, almost half-a-day. That’s how long we’ve been in
business, four years yesterday. These complaints inform the work of the bureau
and they help us identify things we should look into enforcement, things we should
look at when we’re doing an exam, ways we should think about consumer education. And that means that every single
complaint makes a difference. It means that if the people you serve are not
bringing their financial services complaints and problems forward to the
bureau, we don’t have a full picture of how we should be protecting them. So I encourage you to tell consumers about
855-411-CFPB or to encourage them to come to our website at consumerfinance.gov. Keep looking at information there
as well as complaints in a variety of language and non-language basis. We make that information available to
the public in a complaint database. I’m not going to go into that now. Maybe we’ll get to it in Q and A. And then,
I’d like to turn to some of the tools, programs and services that we offer for
consumers including consumers with disability and for intermediary groups
that serve the public. Our Division of Consumer Education
and Engagement has the mission to create opportunities for
people to make better choices about money, to serve their own life goals. We’re the government. We don’t say what you should want. But we know that life goals are very hard
to achieve without good money management, money skills, and we believe
that’s really a lifetime activity. Our offices include an Office
of Financial Empowerment which is specifically addressed
to low-income consumers. I’d like to give some credit to Jackie Welk. When she was hired in that
office, the first thing she — I think that was about a week and
she came in and she said, “Low-income and economically vulnerable, what are
we doing for people with disabilities?” And that was the beginning of
what became the ROADS project. Too often in America, as we’ve already heard, the economically vulnerable
include people with disabilities. And we also have a special population
offices that serve students, older Americans and their caregivers, service
members, and veterans. You can learn about all those
things at consumerfinance.gov. I’m proud to say that we both provide
tools and information directly to the public at consumerfinance.gov. We’re also collaborating with
non-profits, cities, libraries, and others to get financial information and more
importantly, financial capability services right into community service locations. We’re looking for ways. We’re a small agency. We’ll always be a small agency. We’re looking for ways to effectuate
systemic and lasting change by bringing financial capability
building supports right into places where other social services are provided. So I’m going to highlight a couple
of things we have now for the public. And if you’re in the service business,
I hope you will make sure to get out to the people that you serve. I can’t see these slides
so I hope they’re in order. The first one is the Ask CFPB. Our research on financial well-being
shows that asking questions, making plans and answering them with plans
are really key contributors to people doing well in their financial lives. So we have the Ask CFPB,
1000 questions and answers about financial services, money decisions. We even have some questions and answers
about how to talk to your kids about money and we’re very pleased with
our partnership with the FDIC to go deeper on the parents and kids front. You can find this at
consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb. We have it in Spanish as well and we
find that at the Spanish language site, the number one questions
are about home ownership. And I’ll show you pictures of the Spanish page. We also offer a set of web
tools that are addressed to consumer’s biggest life steps
that have a money component. We have them now up on paying
for college and owning a home. And the owning a home tool is grounded in
the idea that we should all be shoppers, that we should be askers of
questions and choosers rather than supplicants in the credit market. We found that nearly half of home buyers
don’t engage in any significant shopping about the loan itself even though
that’s got as big a financial impact on people as the house that they choose. So our web tool is designed to help
consumers understand those many steps in the home financing process and to identify
where shopping around will save them some money. I’d like to turn now to two programs that
worked to integrate financial capability into other types of social
services — programs and services. The first one is Your Money, Your Goals. This is a program, a nation-wide effort we
started several years to build infrastructure and support for low-income consumers who want
to improve their money decision-making skills and who are receiving social services. People are already going to social services
organizations for help whether it’s job training or a foster youth transition,
a home, variety event. So we started talking to social service case
managers about what it would take for them to feel good, feel comfortable
about bringing the money issues into the services they are providing and having
that conversation even if it’s talk and refer or if it’s talk and assist,
depending on how ready they felt. So the Your Money, Your Goals
toolkit is designed to help social services case managers
be ready to open that conversation and have a serious talk with
the people they serve about how money issues may help them
advance in the other program goals. The program gives tips, training and
tools to frontline social services workers to help them have the conversations. I’m just going to show you a couple of
samples of some excerpts from the program. It covers topics like daily budgeting,
managing debt, building a credit record, looking at available benefits
to supplement income. It provides conversation guides,
work sheets and information so that frontline social services
workers can deliver the service. We believe that it will be something people
will do not because it’s the right thing, not because we ask them to, not even because
we make it easy for them to but because if you’re running a social services program,
people are trying to solve the problems in their lives, sometimes money
complicates and adds to those problems. And so, we believe that it will, in fact,
improve program goals for these entities. We field tested the program in the pilot phase
with 1400 case managers across the country and they shared with us what they
needed us to do to make it better. And you can find the materials, the
trainer guide and how to seek training for local social workers at
consumerfinance.gov/your-money-your-goals. Or reach out to our Office of Financial
Empowerment at [email protected] and they will be happy to set up with this. I could talk about a lot more but I
decided to close with our ROADS program. I’ll be brief because there’s
a whole panel about it later. In June 2015, we were pleased to launch the
ROADS to Financial Independence Program. It’s a first of its kind initiative aimed
at improving the financial well-being and the economic security of individuals
with disabilities who are working or transitioning into the workforce. The initiative integrates financial
coaching and counseling into support services such as services for employment and
independent living that individuals with disabilities are already
getting in local providers. And people who participate in this
initiative will have the opportunity to work with financial coaches and counselors and
get tailored information and approaches to help them achieve their
own life and financial goals. We are doing this through —
we’re not a [inaudible] agency. We’re doing this through a competitive
contract, a procurement and I’m pleased to tell you the National
Disability Institute won that competitive process and
is matching this initiative. And in 2015, we’ll be operating the
initiative in Birmingham, Austin, Seattle, the Finger Lakes Region of New
York, the State of Delaware and the Greater Washington DC Metro Area. And you’ll hear more about that. I’d like to close by just reflecting a bit on
financial education and financial capability. This work must include building
infrastructure and supports because none of us can do it ourselves. Many of you are already leaders in the
work of empowering people with disabilities to achieve financial stability and independence. We’d like to hear from you about what the bureau
can do on the policy side, on the outreach side and on the program side to
assist in that process. And all of us have a role to play in making financial inclusion more
available to people with disabilities. We believe at the bureau that consumers
with disabilities like all consumers, the need for consumer protection
will benefit from savings. I want their kids to be offered financial
education to help them get a good start in life. So please take away this information,
855-411-CFPB for complaints, the Your Money, Your Goals program and the ROADS Program
to serve people through intermediaries. We have a program with libraries to
bring materials to local communities. And if you’d like to look at what we have that
you might be able to use in your own programs, please come to consumerfinance.gov
and look at the CFPB [Inaudible] Act. We have there a summary of all the materials we
have for the public and all the programs we have for intermediaries and it’s designed
to keep financial educators up to date on what’s happening to the bureau
that they can actually use every day. We’ve all benefited from the
first 25 years of the ADA. Now let’s make significant progress
toward creating equal access and a full and healthy financial life. And let’s it do it before
another 25 years go by. I look forward to working with
all of you to meet that challenge. [ Applause ]>>I’m checking my watch to
make sure it’s still morning. Good morning, everybody. Well first, let me begin by
saying that my name’s Julie Garcia and in the federal government,
you know, we love our acronyms. So although my title is spelled out which,
by the way, the C stands for Customer but I was wondering if NDI was trying
to give me a new job as a consumer. What the heck? But it doesn’t matter what
the letter stands for. How cool it is to be at the IRS
and my job is the Director of CARE. IRS and CARE, doesn’t that go very together? [ Laughter ] I also want to begin by giving a shout
out to Michael because when we sat there in his opening remarks and mentioned that the
IRS was one of the first federal agencies, I think there were others that were
mentioned, that partnered with NDI. I was looking at people’s reaction
and people were like, “Huh?” You know, I noticed that [laughter]. So I’m here to tell you about the IRS and
what we do to help persons with disabilities. First, at the IRS, we understand the
growing need for ensuring that people with disabilities receive equal access to tax
assistance and financial planning information. We know that taxpayers with
disabilities face unique challenges when attempting to meet their tax obligation. To meet this need, we’ve established
guidance programs and policies to support individual taxpayers
with disabilities. Part of the IRS that is under my — that
I oversee, it’s under my jurisdiction, that works with the community-based
partners is the SPEC organization. And I’ll say it one time because of what it
stands for, Stakeholder Partnership Education and Communication, known as SPEC. And I will
say that one thing; I was the former director of SPEC when I was out working with
the community-based organizations. That’s the one time that I enjoyed being out
there because when you said you work for IRS and you’re the SPEC Director, you got hugs. Everybody hugged me and I loved that. Now that I’m Director of CARE, nobody hugs me. But that’s okay, other than my husband. But when I did come into today,
I just want to give a shout out to all the partners that I’ve worked with. There are many of you that are here today that
are advocates and I’m just humbled and honored to be standing here in front of you to commemorate the 25th anniversary
of the American Disability Act. And to you, all of you, you’re truly heroes. And as the federal panel, we thank
you and applaud you for what you do. But the SPEC, getting back to the topic at
hand and that is the SPEC organization in IRS, is a part of the Wage and Investment Division. And the Wage and Investment Division is
the largest operating division in the IRS. We support outreach and education for
the 130 million individual taxpayers. Now the SPEC business model integrates
tax education and free tax preparation with other strategies to increase income,
build savings and gain and sustain assets for low-income individuals,
senior citizens, Native Americans, people with limited English
proficiency and those with disabilities. In 2004, SPEC started a program to assist
people with disabilities using these strategies and the National Disability Institute
became our lead partner in this endeavor. In a few minutes, I’ll share some stats about
some things we’ve done since the inception of this wonderful partnership
that we have with the NDI. The Volunteer and Income Tax Assistance
and Tax Counseling for the Elderly, the VITA/TCE Program offers
free tax preparation to people who generally make less than
$53,000 a year or less. IRS-certified volunteers
provide this free service along with electronic filing to qualified individuals. The VITA/TCE Program is an integral part
of reaching taxpayers with disabilities. Community partners host events
and we’ll talk about the number that we had this past filing
season to prepare tax returns. So along with the outreach and education and
the big thing we’d like to do is reach out, speak out about earned income tax credit and
the child tax credits that are available. Just to share a couple of stats, last year — well EITC is one of the largest
anti-poverty government programs today. Last year, almost 28 million people
received over $66 billion in EITC. The average amount of EITC paid out in 2014 was
2047 and lifted an estimated 6.5 million people out of poverty including 3.3 million children. We estimate that 20 to 25% of Americans who
qualify for the credits do not claim it. So research also shows there are approximately
1.5 million people with disabilities that do not file a tax return each year
but may be eligible for the credits. All right. So last year, in 2015, our
filing season results, you could see I keep calling it last [inaudible] because I’m already planning
for next filing season. But this is wonderful. We have over 3000 community-based
organizations that we work with that support over 12,000 VITA/TCE sites. And I have 453 employees that work with
those 3000 partners in over 12,000 sites. And I will say, we have nearly
91,000 volunteers. And one thing about being a volunteer
especially for those who prepare returns because our volunteers also our readers,
they do the interview and intake sheet. But the volunteers who prepare returns have
to pass a test with accuracy of over 80%. And this year, we prepared over
3.7 million federal returns of which a half-a-million returns
were people with disabilities. And we also prepared the
2.7 million state returns. We achieved a 98% electronic filing rate which
is wonderful because if you electronically file, you get your refunds faster and deposit
it quicker into your bank accounts. And of course, those numbers
brought in the refunds. Those returns we prepared brought in
over $4 billion in federal refunds. Isn’t that astounding? Okay and when IRS speaks, nobody claps. Thank you, yes. [ Applause ] It’s like a hug. Nobody claps either. But anyway, I think this
is great news [laughter]. Remember Director of CARE. I care. Now I do want to applaud,
as I said, our relationship and our wonderful relationship with the NDI. As I mentioned, we started back in 2004 but
in 2005, we partnered with NDI and we went across 11 cities in SPEC to prepare returns. That’s 2005. We completed 7600 returns for
taxpayers with disabilities. That’s 2005, 10 years later, where are we? Close to half-a-million returns. I applaud our advocates. I applaud our local partners on the ground. It is absolutely, absolutely fabulous that we have taken a program
and a partnership so powerful. And then we’re here to tell you, we’re here
to say, “We don’t take any credit for this.” We look to NDI. They’ve grown the program. And I just wanted to say, it’s wonderful,
a half-a-million but guess what? There’s a stat I mentioned earlier. There are still 1.5 million
people with disabilities each year who do not file a tax return because if
income is below the filing requirement but yet they can qualify for the credits
like EITC, child tax credit and do not. And I’m here to say we still have work to do. We still have 1.5 million people with
disabilities that we need to get them to get these credits and the way you get
the credits is by filing your tax returns. So you still go back three years and
our VITA sites, our TCE sites are there to help you prepare those
returns for free especially if you cannot afford to pay a preparer. Another little stat I’d like to give you this
past filing season that is very astonishing and we’re very proud of, is the
fact that 18% of the taxpayers with disabilities used a self-help
option to prepare their own returns. And I want to give a shout out to Lee Davenport. Lee’s over there. Because Lee, when I was a director of SPEC,
really challenged me because we do have — I mentioned the volunteers
who helped prepare returns. But Lee, in partnership with NDI,
opened up our eyes at IRS to say we need to help these taxpayers along with people
with disabilities and low income, the elderly, limited English proficient taxpayers,
to prepare their own returns. And he opened up a facilitated
self-assistant option which is taxpayers learning how
to prepare their own returns. So that in the future, you can go onto your
computer from home and prepare your own returns. And I’m very proud to say the 18% of taxpayers
with disabilities used the self-help option. And we’d like to move more taxpayers to that because even though we helped 3.7 million
taxpayers, there are still more out there that meet our criteria to
help prepare returns for free that aren’t able to get into our program. And we need to move people out, those that can
do it, prepare their return so we can get others into help you free tax preparation. So thank you for that work. Through our partnership with the NDI this
past year and also the National Association of the Deaf and several other organizations, we
identified a need to provide more information on free tax return preparation services to
taxpayers who are deaf and are hard of hearing and use American Sign Language
as their primary language. So we created a series of videos this
past year in American Sign Language that described the free tax preparation
process at VITA and TCE sites. So I want to make you aware of this because
there are some great videos out there. This was something that obviously our
customers told us we needed to do. At IRS, we felt it was a thing we needed
to do and we worked collaboratively to put these videos on our website. The information in the videos is
beneficial for the volunteers who serve at ASL interpreter sites across the country
and for anyone who wants to become familiar with the free tax preparation process. So as you can see, you can
access the videos on the IRS, the American Sign Language YouTube channel. As you could see, its www.youtube.com/IRSvideocast
or excuse me, videoASI. In 2015, we piloted an American Sign Language
Tax Day in 12 cities in the United States and we encouraged deaf and
hard of hearing taxpayers to take advantage of this free service. So through the combined efforts
of VITA volunteers and American Sign Language interpreters, deaf and hard of hearing taxpayers were provided
free federal and state tax preparation services. I want to pass that. I know you’re going to have — I was going
to touch a little bit on the ABLE Act but you’re going to have a speech on that or a
workshop on that later — or a panel, excuse me. IRS as an employer for persons with disability, the IRS hires through traditional
competitive hiring processes or by means of non-competitive or special
appointing authority. In addition, the IRS is committed to providing
reasonable combinations throughout the hiring process and employment. The IRS Accessibility Office works with external
partners and other agencies to increase hiring of persons with disabilities within IRS. Partners include the [inaudible] —
excuse me, Veterans Employment Program, the Council of State Administrators
of Vocational Rehabilitation, Operation War Fighter, The Wounded Warrior
Project, Goodwill and the Easter Seals Society. Working with partners that I just
listed, the Accessibility Office within the IRS finds candidates who
are veterans or who have disabilities to help develop diverse inclusive candidate
pools for predictable annual hiring needs. Once hired, the IRS ensures all employees
and managers are equipped with the tools and resources needed by providing
an internal website to service a centralized source
for disability information. And just one — the last bullet on the slide. I think we’re very proud,
the readers of CAREER rmal and the disABLED rmal magazines
selected the top agencies in the country for which they would most prefer to work or believe provide a positive working
environment for people with disability. IRS ranks seventh on this year’s 23rd
Annual Top 20 Government Agencies in CAREER rmal and the disABLED rmal magazine. [ Applause ] Oh, one other thing I’d like to highlight
are some of the resources we have available and I’m also proud to say that the Alternative
Media Center, the first bullet up on the top of the side is actually works, it’s part of my medium [inaudible] organization
and that is — we call it AMC. It supports the laws designed to
enhance access to government information by members of the disabled community. The Alternative Media Center works diligently to
provide alternative media resources to customers with disabilities through the irs.gov website. The irs.gov website has many tools available
specifically for taxpayers with disabilities. The accessibility link on the home page of
irs.gov takes taxpayers through a variety of accessible tax information online. It’s the gateway to hundreds of valuable
tax products in Braille, large print, accessible electronic files, videos in
American Sign Language, resources for veterans with disabilities, information on tax
assistance, tax benefits and much more. Taxpayers with disabilities that require
special accommodations for service at our local taxpayer assistance centers,
that’s our face-to-face locations, can simply go to the help
and resources page on irs.gov to obtain the email address
to schedule an appointment. So with, if anyone is interested in
learning more about the SPEC organization, you can go to [email protected]
or you can see, I think, Nell. Nell Hardy, where are you? He is my Senior Manager Relations — oh, Senior
Manager over the DC territory but he’s here to also help out and answer
and field any questions. So finally, in close and I just like
to say — okay, well [laughter]. I had a slide. Thank you! You make a difference. Thank you for indulging me these few minutes to
speak about the wonderful things we do at IRS. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Many of our panelists will be with
us throughout the day so I’m going to forego my questions in the interest of time and go to our community responders,
let them share their thoughts. Wendy, you want to go first?>>Sure. Is my mic on?>>Yes.>>Can anybody hear me, hello?>>Hello.>>And that you want me to hurry
up so you can go have lunch, right? I kind of want lunch too
so I promise I’ll be quick. First of all, I just want to say thank you to
each of you for all the work that you’ve done in the past and what you plan on the future. It really, really makes a difference. I have a website for women with disabilities
and I hear it all the time, the needs. So it’s very, very important. I also want to thank Michael for inviting me. Am I talking [inaudible], sorry. At the age of 19, I landed my first
international modeling assignment. And on the way to the airport,
my career was actually starting to take off but it came to a halt. On the way to the airport, my car was rear
ended by a driver who had been drinking and within a fraction of a second, I became
paralyzed and so I went through rehabilitation. And I just thought if I got back to my
work that my life would get back to normal. So when I went to go back to work, I found
that there was no work for me anymore. That I no longer looked like the woman in the
magazines anymore because I was in a wheelchair. I was devastated. I felt invisible. And I felt like I didn’t fit
in society’s mold anymore. Oh, sorry. I’m losing my voice here. But here we are, over 30 years later and
we’re inundated even more so with images on television, on the internet and
magazines yet rarely do we see a person with a disability, especially a woman. Now these women have overcome obstacles
that most would find insurmountable yet, still many of them still struggle with
their appearance because they look different than what we see in mainstream media,
basically our society’s wallpaper. I’m the co-chairperson of a project
that’s trying to change that. It’s called the Raw Beauty Project. And we are celebrating the lives of women
with disabilities, trying to redefine beauty and really unleashing potential for all women. What we do is we find various women
with disabilities and we ask them to create a narrative of their story but also
talk about what makes them feel powerful. Then we partner them with — we partner them
with a professional photographer and they’re to create a photo based on three
words, beauty, power, and passion. And what we have found is that — and I just
want to say, by the way, before I forget. One of our beautiful models
are here today, Donna Walton. So Donna, just say hi. Okay. [ Applause ] She’s a remarkable lady and
you can see her photo outside and I’m sure she’d be willing to talk to you. But we noticed that the models including
myself because I went through the process, underwent a transformation and maybe not
all but I think most of them, if not all, went through this transformation
and for many, it was the first time that they were ever acknowledged
as a beautiful woman. So I want to give you one example
and her name is Deborah Mellon that you see in that photo there. And Deborah was injured when
she was in her 20’s. She became paralyzed due to a motor
vehicle accident and she also had to undergo multiple reconstructive
facial surgeries. Deborah kind of lived her life, you know, in the
shadows and after becoming one of our models, she said, “I can’t believe how
much this has changed my life.” Deborah now has a foundation
and she sails around the world, empowering people with disabilities
and showing them what they can do. And recently, Deborah spoke in public for
the first time at the age of 60 years old. The project is much bigger than
just the experiences of the models. The project also — it teaches
people about women’s disabilities but it also affects the photographers
and the people that view it. Not only do they learn about one disability
but they also learn about themselves. And often, they start to see their own strengths
and start to look at their own challenges in life and how they can overcome them. So you’re probably wondering
how does a photography exhibit of women’s disabilities relate
to economic empowerment. Well, we envision a world where
people’s disabilities are integrated into every aspect of the media. A blind actor, a quadriplegic newscaster, a fashion model who may have
Down syndrome, why not? Our civil rights — and okay,
this part I’m reading because you guys are going to be all over me. With this crowd, I don’t want
to make a mistake [laughter]. Our civil rights prohibit discrimination on
the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability,
or national origin. You know, people with disabilities
are seldom seen. The unspoken rules and unrealistic
standards of the fashion and beauty industry would be non-existent. And beauty would no longer be limited to
a certain size, age, color or ability. Uniqueness would be celebrated and we would
also be more confident and more empowered. Visibility in the media would create a society
more cognizant of people with disabilities. Those unfamiliar with disability
would gain a greater understanding. And that, in turn, would
create more opportunities. They may see commonalities with a
population that before seemed so distant. It’s when we don’t really know a group or we
can’t relate to them that we feel disconnected. And these barriers when they’re
broken, it changes how things are and it inherently causes the
need for advocacy to disappear. And then we become one with common goals. Fortunately, the Raw Beauty Project
has resonated with mainstream media and ignited a global conversation. We have been featured — I’m just going to
give you a few but in Oprah Magazine rmal, Today.com rmal, Elle.com rmal, Huffington
Post rmal, Huffington Post UK rmal, we’ve been in countries all
over the world in their media. And women with disabilities and many
of the models have been so inspired that they are creating new
exhibits and there are studies with new models and new photographers. So we have one coming up in Los Angeles,
Philadelphia, Charlotte in North Carolina, possibly Toronto, possibly Nashville and other
places if we can just get more people to help. One of our models, Danielle
Sheypuk, was one of the — actually the first woman with a disability to
be on the runway for New York Fashion Week. And since then, yes — [ Applause ] And since then, models are starting to appear
on the runway with disabilities and I know for a fact there are going to be quite a few in
this coming New York Fashion Week in September. And also, women with disabilities are landing
contracts with major retailers and companies and one of our models, Andrea Dalzell,
just landed a contract where she’s going to be the new face for Gillette Venus. So we’re really excited about that. Yeah! [ Applause ] I’ll actually be more excited
when this isn’t a big deal anymore and this is standard [laughter]. But for now, I’ll take it [laughter]. So through our actions and shifting
perceptions, I think that our wallpaper of society is changing and I’m happy to say that I don’t feel invisible
anymore so thank you very much. [ Applause ]>>My name is Lex Frieden and I direct
the independent living research programs at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas. I direct the Southwest ADA Center
at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas and I’m a professor at the University
of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. I hold an adjunct professorship
at Baylor College of Medicine. And I came this morning prepared to do a
45-minute presentation [laughter] complete with slides and data that no one else has seen. So I’ve altered my plans so I’ve kept the
presentation down to 30 minutes [laughter]. And I’ll not be using the slides and talking
about the new data because if you’re interested, tomorrow there will be a press conference at
the National Council on Disabilities Meeting which is at — being held at the U.S.
Access Board, 1331 F. Street at 12 noon and we will be revealing the results of a
nationwide survey of people with disabilities. Some of those results, by the
way, I was going to preview today but in the interest of time, I won’t do that. I’ll just invite you to come to
the press conference tomorrow. I will say, however, that some of the
data we’ve collected, opinions from people with disabilities is relatively consistent
with the data that you’ve heard from some of the federal agencies here
today, which is very interesting. Instead of talking about data, instead
of giving a scientific presentation, I’d like to say a few things about
the Americans with Disabilities Act. In January 1986, I had the responsibility,
the opportunity and the great honor to meet then Vice President George Herbert
Walker Bush in the West Wing of the White House. That meeting was occasioned by a
very sad event in American history and that was a few days before my
meeting with the Vice President, I was scheduled to meet with President Reagan. However, on the day of that meeting, the Space
Challenger — the spaceship Challenger exploded. And of course, the President’s
schedule was altered significantly. But I was invited to meet with the Vice
President about whom the Washington Post rmal, the week before, had written a feature
article entitled “Where is George?” And Vice President Bush made
reference to that in our meeting. The purpose of my meeting was to present first
to the President and then the Vice President on his behalf, a report that had been done
by the National Council on Disability. I was the first executive director of that
independent federal agency and our job was to produce a report to the nation to be
given to the President and the Congress about the policy needs of people
with disabilities in America. Our council were 15 presidential
appointees and a staff of six, worked for two years to prepare this report. And the principal recommendation in the report
was that there should be a law protecting people with disabilities from discrimination. It was a significant statement at that time. We had a number of proposals backing
that up and the Vice President seemed to be personally interested in it. He told us that he had one daughter
with a disability who died early. He had another son with a learning
disability, and another son with a colostomy. And he said that he and Barbara Bush had
discussed the proposal we were about to make because unlike you all, he was given a
preliminary copy before I met with him. The Vice President said that Barbara and
he had read the report the night before, and he could identify with many
of the issues that we raised about people with disabilities in America. And he was concerned about those issues
and he wanted to do something about it. He told us that he would report to the President
but that if he ever had the opportunity in the future to do more
to help us, he would do so. In July the 26th, 1990, President George
Herbert Walker Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. [ Applause ] But perhaps more significantly with
respect to this particular meeting, there was another subplot in the
report that we gave the Vice President. And we can entitle that subplot, disincentives. The disincentives to employment in the United
States today almost equal the kind of optimism that people have when we talk about
employing people with disabilities. We know now that nearly 80% of people with
disabilities in the United States who want to work, who are trained to work, who
are able to work are not employed. Now we say that we are 25 years past,
nondiscrimination on the basis of disability. In some respects, we might conclude that
discrimination has just altered its ugly face. No longer is it overt. I don’t want to make any speculation about that. I don’t want to draw any conclusions about
that but I do know thousands of people with disabilities are employed today
but many, many more thousands of people with disabilities are looking for work today. And it’s not because those people
aren’t trained, aren’t willing to work, aren’t able to work, aren’t eager
to work that they’re not employed. Now obviously, there are a number of
other economic aspects to this question. And frankly, I think the demographics
of the baby boom generation may help to solve some of those economic problems. As older people retire and go out of
the workforce, there will be more jobs in the workforce and people with
disabilities will be prepared to meet the challenge of the workplace. But that’s not the only problem that we face. Go back to the question of disincentive. We heard that people with disabilities,
many of them don’t have bank accounts. They don’t have the money to pay their bills. They don’t have enough savings
to deal with a crisis. Why is that? Because many of them are encouraged by the
system not to earn money, not to save money. Why? If they do, they will lose
whatever little benefit they have from the government because
they have a disability. There are thousands of people in the
United States today living independently in the community who are not working but
they’re able to live in the community because we have some modest federal
programs that enable them to do so. They provide them with some housing
assistance, some personal care assistance, and so on, even healthcare assistance. But if those people go to work and if they
work very long and if they earn very much, they are not eligible for
those benefits anymore. And when that happens, some of the
economists will call that a cliff, people with disabilities
literally fall off the cliff. Every hour they work, every dollar they earn
means nothing to them because they’re having to use it to replace the dollars
that they formerly received from the federal benefits program. It’s a perverse kind of a system
and I don’t have all the answers. But I can tell you that if you want to solve the
economic problems of people with disabilities, first find them jobs; at the same
time, remove the disincentives to work. And I’m not suggesting that we stop providing
federal benefits because many millions of people with disabilities would die if we did that. I’m suggesting we need to find ways
to transition people to employment to give them an opportunity to work
without sacrificing so much if they do. With that, let me give you a phone number. [ Applause ] 800-949-4232, that’s the National
Technical Assistance number for the ADA. We have 10 centers around the country you
can call that number if you have a disability or you have an issue pertaining to the
ADA and get technical assistance about it. And in the meantime, if you want to send me
an email, my address is [email protected] I really appreciate the opportunity here today. [ Applause ]>>I think this has been a very exciting way to
have the first panel between our representatives from government and then
our community responders. Let’s give them all a round of applause. It was great. [ Applause ]>>We will not be taking a break [laughter]. In the interest of time, we got to keep
moving on but if you do feel you need to contact your office, or check your email,
or just take a break, just do it on your own and just be considerate of the people
who are going to stay in the room because we have to keep moving on. We have so much great information
to share with you. And so at this time, we’re going to invite
the second panel to come to the stage.>>Good job.>>And while they are coming, those
of us who will stay in the room at this time, would you do me a favor? We just take a deep breath. Come on, let’s take a deep breath
so we don’t have to take a break. Take a deep breath. Now let it out very slowly [laughter]. All right, now let’s move
on with our next panel. All right.>>You’re on.>>Our second panel –>>Okay.>>Oh –>>Oh, you’re welcome.>>Okay.>>Coming up. All right? Got everyone?>>Thank you.>>I want to make sure everybody is here.>>I want to get a picture of that [inaudible]. They get a picture of that.>>Let me flip this [inaudible] here.>>Have you [inaudible] paper?>>I don’t know.>>Have you [inaudible] to rush this?>>Here.>>Around?>>Have you done anything to rush this stuff?>>No.>>Yeah, I could create another [inaudible].>>I’ll be right back.>>Oh, okay. Michael has my contact info.>>All right, so I’ll go.>>All right? You need the numbers here?>>Let me see.>>You need the number here? We’re short of staff, just stay here for me. You want to grab a chair?>>Oh okay, good. Yeah. Okay, oh, that’s great.>>We should have [inaudible] from up here. So, yeah.>>Can you order it?>>It’s kind of tight.>>Sorry.>>No, it’s okay.>>Got it. Is this fine?>>That’s fine.>>All right.>>Oh, all right. Oh, let me just do this so your
[inaudible] is going to be [inaudible]. Okay.>>Okay. All right, we’re going
to move on with our second panel. We’re going to ask those in the back
if they can just be a little quiet. All right. All right. Okay.>>Okay, great numbers now.>>We’re so excited that our second panel
represents some of the exciting work going on, on the community level to include
and increase financial inclusion for people with disabilities. And we have three outstanding community
programs that would be represented today. We will be talking and get a presentation about
Bank on Louisville represented by Tina Lentz. She is the Executive Administrator. Did I say that right? Okay, of the Louisville Metro
Community Services. We will also find out more about ROADS
to Financial Independence represented by Rich Petersen, the Executive Director Capitol
Area Asset Builders and Christa Cenoplano? I hope I said that. Censoplano, thank you! Thank you, and she is a customer and consumer.>>Right.>>We will also hear about CareerSource Broward.>>Yes.>>Yes.>>All right, fantastic. And they will be represented by –>>Melanie?>>Melanie Magill? I got it. Melanie Magill and Samora Cunningham. Did I get that right?>>Yup.>>Fantastic. We’re going to let them all
come to you in their own way.>>Yeah.>>Okay.>>Well, good afternoon, everyone. My name is Tina Lentz and I’m
from Louisville, Kentucky. I hope you all can say that correctly
the next time you’re in front of anyone. You know, Louisville is the
home of the Kentucky Derby. It’s the home of very tasty bourbon and
it’s also home of the Ohio Valley Crud of which I am experiencing right now. So I’m not quite not sure how
long my voice is going to hold out but I also have my little throat lozenges
here so hopefully we can get through the day. I’ve been asked to come by Michael and the
Department of Labor to come talk about our work and partnership in Louisville,
Kentucky that’s based on the foundation of our Bank on Louisville initiative. And I’d focus on Bank on because it’s not —
in 2010, when we launched the Bank on project, we launched it in partnership with
the Louisville Metro Government between my department which was
then a housing and family services and the Economic Development Department. Simply because and I think the harder or
the more primary reason was because in order to bring industry, businesses to our
low and moderate-income neighborhoods, we needed to be able to demonstrate
something other than the cash economy to
convince people to come. And you have to get people connected to
the banking mainstream using credit cards and that sort of thing to
get out of the cash economy. So what I want to talk to you a little bit about
is that when we started Bank On, it really was, as I said, our municipally-led financial
empowerment strategy that moved our department from the culture shift of just
meeting on the crisis level to moving them to long-term stability. So one of the major results of that
shift was the creation of the Advocacy and Empowerment Division, which I run. And that is really Louisville’s version
of the Office for Financial Empowerment. So we pulled together one team to lead
the financial empowerment initiatives, financial education programming
and microbusiness development. What happened since we launched Bank
on [inaudible] really is a testament to how one initiative can reach
an array of strategies and actions that go well beyond the local impact. Our Bank On initiatives and activities
have grown into a community-wide strategy to leverage resources, expand on services and
improve outreach to an at-risk population. Once such strategy that we are particularly
proud of is our work to increase the capacity of service providers to integrate financial
empowerment into their service delivery models. We started out with a premise that as
case managers became more confident in their own financial decision making,
conversations around managing money, leveraging resources and building on assets
would happen more often and more effectively. We focused on increasing the knowledge
base around financial empowerment concepts such as behavioral economics and began to introduce new tools, practice
models and resources. Thus was formed the idea of
valuing this increase of knowledge and skills with community recognition. We call that the Louisville Community Financial
Empowerment Certification and Training Program. Today, we have what I think
is a pretty impressive list of national partners including
the National Disability Institute and the Department of Labor. With these national partnerships come
opportunities to bring additional resources and expertise to our local efforts
and an expanded network of colleagues who often contribute to the success of our work. I think it [inaudible] the outcome. Our partnership with Department of Labor and
NDI started a little more than a year ago with a community convening to learn
what was happening at the national level around the integration of financial
empowerment into workforce development services. Then we reviewed local efforts and
resources and identified the action steps that would move our community forward. And as a bonus, 20 individuals
representing 14 agencies stepped up to form the Workforce Development Financial
Empowerment Integration Collaborative. This collaborative focused on two main goals,
integrate financial empowerment strategies into our workforce development system to
improve employment goals and financial behaviors for individuals with disabilities, and establish
a community-wide culture for inclusiveness. The group developed a work plan that
included mapping out current relationships and opportunities, increasing
awareness and engagement, improving information sharing
and compiling resources. This month marks one year of the existence
of that collaborative and we have much to celebrate in the ways of accomplishments. We have enhanced existing financial
empowerment resource and referral guide to now include workforce development
services for individuals with disabilities. We’ve developed a new disability
and accessibility resource guide that we hope will ensure that
everyone can have better access to all available resources in our community. We have expanded the certification
and training program to include topics that increase understanding around social
security disability benefits and employment. And we are beginning to hold
conversations around how we can move forward on this demonstrating collective impact. Nearly two-thirds of our collaborative members
directly serve individuals with disabilities. This newly formed network has fully embraced the
community-wide financial empowerment strategy and represents nearly two-thirds of the
graduates of that certification program. In addition, we now have 32 newly trained
facilitators who can directly provide access to basic banking and credit building instruction to the clients their agencies serve
at the time they need it most. By championing the need for further
integration of asset building strategies, we set goals of improving
the financial stability of the community and the clients we all serve. Addressing the ever-increasing demand on public
resources and as well as the creation of a model that can be replicated by
other social service providers to generate a much more broader
system-wide change. All of this is resulting
in a win-win-win situation. More individuals and families
can access resources that will help them build assets effectively. Neighborhoods and communities grow
stronger when families are stable and begin to invest in the long term. And partners realize new opportunities to strengthen their agencies
and accomplish their missions. Part two, well, never mind that one. Our Bank On local network continues
to foster new opportunities as we celebrate our fifth anniversary. Our youth financial education
work continues to grow. We continue to explore ways we can help folks
build their credit files in a positive way and we are determined to find a way to
give children that most important start on their future with a children’s
savings account program. So that’s Bank On Louisville
and our work in a nutshell. Thank you very much. [ Applause ]>>Wait for the slide. This [inaudible]? That, okay. Well, good morning or afternoon, almost. I’m Rich Petersen, Executive Director
of Capitol Area Asset Builders. And in the interest of time,
I’ll just talk about the ROADS to Financial Independence Program that
has been referred to a couple of times, a partnership with the leadership of the
National Disability Institute with a contract through the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. CAAB’s mission is financial
prosperity and security for all. And we really take the for all very seriously
and that’s why we’re so glad to be invited by the National Disability Institute
to participate in the ROADS Program. And I’m trying to find the ROADS slide, Michael. Okay. So here it is. So this is ROADS. It was referred to earlier, Reach
Outcomes Achieve Dreams and Succeed. And what’s exciting about this program, this is
a six-city effort and what we’re really going to learn from this is in a group
of practitioners, so for instance, here in Greater DC, CAAB has been for 20
years providing financial education capability information to the community. However, frankly, we’ve had very little
occasion with the disability community. So now in connection with our partner
ServiceSource at Oakton, Virginia, we’ve joined together to provide very intensive
group and one-on-one financial coaching services to people with disabilities in the DC region. And what we hope to learn from that is
lessons from the ground and conversations and engagements with our customers and
with our colleagues on how to make sure that we’re including everyone
in America with access to non-biased financial information
to services and products. And again, in the essence of
time, I’ll defer to our — Christa, who can tell you a little bit about
it as a participant in the program of ROADS. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>First, I’d like to say thank you. My name is Christa Censoplano and I just — I have a rare chromosome
syndrome called 18q deletion, and it affects me in several different
areas including cognition and speech. As a result of this syndrome, I have some
difficulty with executive functioning which is very important for,
you know, math and budgeting. So I originally came to ServiceSource for
a Microsoft Office certification course. Afterwards, ServiceSource helped me
with finding employment opportunities. Now, ServiceSource saw my potential
for a receptionist employment. And I became a corporate receptionist
at ServiceSource in March 2013. One of my goals is to live independently. Both of my parents are eventually moving
out of Virginia and I want to stay here. And my father helped me with
starting to understand budgeting and having checking and then savings account. ROADS is helping me to reach the goal
of living independently by continuing to develop my budgeting skills and
saving towards a security to profit. I appreciate all the help and I’m so
grateful to be invited here to speak. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Last but not least, before lunch. Oh, there we go.>>We got it.>>Good afternoon [laughter].>>Good afternoon.>>My name is Melanie Magill. I am a Senior Quality Assurance
Analyst at CareerSource Broward. We are the administrative entity for the Local
Workforce Board in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We are also an employment network
serving Ticket to Work customers. We are proud to say that we are the
number one Workforce EN in the country. We have earned over $915,000
in Ticket to Work revenue. So we are placing people
with disabilities into jobs. [ Applause ] And out that $915,000, over 60%
of it is in outcome payments. So those are those people that are
maintaining and retaining their jobs. We are a part of the USDOL’s DEI,
Disability Employment Initiative. [ Applause ] So we thank you DOL for awarding
Florida the grant. And our grant ends in September
so we hope to continue [laughter]. So when we first got the grant, we
knew we were doing a really good job at serving people and it’s a good program. And NDI is a part of this DEI initiative
and when Michael Roush from NDI came out and did our first asset development
training, the light bulb went off. And I knew that this was a piece, the financial
education was a piece that we were missing. So we made that paradigm shift and we’re very
proud to say that we’re doing one of the — something that a lot of people have not done. We have hired a financial education success
coach to work with people with disabilities one on one, and anybody that comes
into the American Job Center. We have led the process of gradually
implementing the financial capability over the past two-and-a-half years. So some of the strategies that we
offer, is we took our intake form and we’ve added a whole financial health
questionnaire into it, to be able to start that conversation with the customers. We have now developed financial education
workshops that we will be beginning in August. We have budget worksheets. We have menu planning tools. We have shopping lists for the customers
to be able to start budgeting their money. We have developed our financial stability
workbook to use in our new workshops. We have free tax preparation services. We have mobile units at our
American Job Centers. We have Samora Cunningham who is now our,
like I said, our new Financial Success Coach who is also going through the
[inaudible] training to be able to do benefits planning with
our customers one on one. We work a lot with our community-based
organizations. The Urban League of Broward County has a Ways
to Work Program where one of our customers with a disability who got
employment was able to buy a car. We’ve created a referral system. We are also working with employers, teaching
employers how to hire and retain people with disabilities because we know that a small
percentage of people are born with disabilities, a lot of them acquire them over their lifetime. One of the workshops that’s coming
up is teaching employers how to integrate financial stability
into their workforce. That’s coming up in September
so we’re very proud of that. So we’ve trained all our frontline staff in
the American Job Centers on financial education and financial capability strategies. So they can have those conversations with
their customers in the Welfare Program, in the SNAP Program, in the Veterans Program, in the Workforce Investment
and Opportunity Act Program. I’m still getting used to saying WIOA. And one of the great parts of WIOA
was we have financial education. So we’ve developed these workshops. We look forward to continuing our
relationship with NDI and I’ll be here to answer any questions you have. [ Applause ]>>Thank you, panelists for really trying
to kind of form us back into the timeframe. And I want you to stay right here. But I do want to introduce next, first the
person who will introduce our next special guest and that is Sarah Weir, the President
of the National Down Syndrome Society. NDSS, as many of us know it, Autism Speaks and
NDI have forged quite a relationship in working on implementation of the ABLE Act. And Sarah, I turn it over to you. [ Applause ]>>Thank you, Michael. It’s a real honor for me to introduce
one of our special guests this afternoon. But before I do that, I just
want to tell a very brief story. It’s a story that started around a kitchen
table about nine years ago, about 25 miles away from where we’re sitting
right now, with five parents. Cel, Christina, Rick, Jen and Steve, Steve
Beck were casually venting their frustrations about the inequities that exist in the system
specifically, how they weren’t able to save for their children with Down syndrome
like they were for their other children. There was a light bulb moment and one of
them suggested the idea of creating a bill, a bill that would just change this. One thing led to another, enters in Congressman
Ander Crenshaw from Jacksonville, Florida. He immediately loved the concept of ABLE and he
has been one of our House champions ever since. The power of the people, real
people can make a difference. This is what we did with the ABLE Act and we
couldn’t have done it without the leadership, tenacity, and dedication of Congressman Ander
Crenshaw, and of course, his amazing staff. So since 2000, Ander Crenshaw has represented
Florida’s Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Crenshaw has worked in the
private sector as an investment banker, served as an elected official
in the state legislature. His life in public service ultimately led
to Florida State Senate where he served as the first Republican President in the Senate. It is my pleasure to introduce a true
champion for people with disabilities and my dear friend, Congressman Ander Crenshaw. [ Applause ]>>Well, thank you so much, Sara and thank
you all, for inviting me to be here today to talk a little bit about the ABLE Act. Michael Morris, the Disability
Institute, thank you all for hosting this. And as Sara mentioned, this kind of grew
out of a conversation that took place at a kitchen table near the home of my then
Chief of Staff, a fellow named John Ariale, that some of you all had worked with
us over the past 10 years remember. And it was easy for me, I’ve met a lot of you
all over the years as we worked on the ABLE Act and you know about my involvement there. But one of the — one of the reasons it
became so easy to get involved with this — I have a daughter who’s 35 years old now. And for 20 years she has struggled
with something called ulcer colitis and Crohn’s Disease and [inaudible]
where the immune system that’s supposed to protect your body turns
around and attacks your body. And so for 20 years, we’ve known what agony
that can bring and what hope that can bring. They still don’t know what causes it. They don’t know how to cure it. But I know a little bit about what you go
through to rush to the emergency room from time to time and see a series of operations
and sometimes being on life support. And so when somebody came
to me and said, you know, we got an idea about how we can
help people that face these problems that most people don’t even know exist. I have a friend who has a
son who has Down syndrome. His name is Garrion and I used to love to just
hang out with Garrion and I used to wonder — I talk to my teams and I said, “Isn’t there
something maybe we could do to help — these are folks with disabilities
that are facing challenges that we don’t really understand?” Might be medical, might be
educational, might be transportation. Sure enough, this family had been meeting
a group of folks and they came together and they said, maybe we could use the tax code to help people save for these
kind of situations. Because already we — we let people
save money for their college education. They call them 529’s. You set up a tax free savings
account and the money grows tax free. If you want to retire, we have something called
an IRA or a 401K where the tax code allows you to set money aside, let it grow tax free to
use it in those situations upon retirement. So why not create a tax free savings
account, to let that money grow tax free, as long as those proceeds are
used for qualified expenses. Maybe they’re educational, maybe they’re
transportation, maybe they’re medical. And that’s how the ABLE Act was
born — 2006 we filed a legislation. I think at the time it was called
Disability Income for whatever, it didn’t have a very fancy name. And it became known as the ABLE Act,
achieving a better life experience. What — what can be better than that. But when we started out, we found out how
difficult it is when you deal with the tax code, because nobody likes to tamper
with the tax code. Everybody wants to reform it,
but they don’t want to touch it. They just want it to happen. And so, they said, “You’ll
never be able to figure out how you even define disability
under this proposed bill.” And we overcame, they said, “You’ll never be
able to get all the different groups together and to figure out how to
work together to deal this.” And that all took place. And meanwhile, we’re making the legislation
every year get a little bit better, a little more understandable, a
little bit easier for people to see. And more and more people got involved. I’m sure a lot of you all here recognize what
we were trying to do over the last 10 years. And every year, more people,
more people would say, “I’d like to be a co-sponsor
of that legislation.” I would have people come up to me, members that
I hardly knew from states around the country and say, “Hey, Ander, I just signed the ABLE
Act, man, that’s a great piece of legislation.” I said, “How did that happen?” They said, “Well, some people came to
see me that live and work in my district and they said this would
help us and our families.” And it grew and grew and every year
we would come together and more and more people would come together. And I would tell you very honestly because of
folks like you all that came to Washington, to sit down with your individual senator,
your individual member and to say, “Let me tell you about the ABLE Act. It can go a long way toward leveling the playing
field; allow people with individuals a way to save for some kind of emergencies.” And also along the way as most of
you know, we have historically, and here we are celebrating 25 years after
the first American with Disabilities Act, but we still — we almost
have a forced impoverishment. If somebody’s eligible for government
assistance, they can’t have more than $2000 in their own name and you’d find
grandparents who said, “Well, I wanted to give my kids a little
something for Christmas and I — I couldn’t give them because
it would put them over the line and then they would lose their eligibility.” And so we made sure that the ABLE Act
doesn’t count against that $2000 threshold. But every year it got a little bit better,
and every year we got a few more people. At the end of the day, we had 374 house
co-sponsors and in the Senate, 74. And one of the other things they — yeah —
and it’s all because of so many of you all. And people said, “Well, you’ll never
be able to pass this legislation, this partisan bickering that
goes on here in Washington. And so that’s when I sat down with Senator
Casey, who I think is going to be here today. And I said, “Let’s make this bipartisan,
you’re a democrat, I’m a republican. Let’s make it [inaudible]. You’re a senator, I’m a House member. Let’s really broaden this.” And he went to work in the Senate and with an
awful lot of his friends and I went to work in the House with a lot of my
friends that came alongside. And here we are at the end, after 10
years, but here’s what’s interesting. You know, we have something in Washington
called the congressional budget office. And they have a lot more power than most
people realize because they’re the ones that when you file a piece of legislation, they
tell you — they don’t tell you how or why, they just say, this is going to cost x dollars. And when they looked at the ABLE Act they said,
“Well, we’re going to lose some revenue and this and that, and so this is going to cost
$2 billion over a 10 year period.” And if you want to pass this legislation, you
got to figure out a way to find $2 billion to offset or replace that
revenue that we’re going to lose. Well, it happens that one of my
best friends is chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the House. His name is Dave Kemp. And Dave is a wonderful guy and I would talk
to him over and over again about the ABLE Act. And he said, “Listen, what I want
to do is reform the tax code.” He said, “I don’t want to do
individual deals because I want to have a all-encompassing tax reform, everybody
wants to reform the tax [inaudible], right?” But after three years of working on this, when
he came out with this proposal, it was met — there’s so many reasons not to
like tax reform, it didn’t happen. And so, Dave said I’m going to go to work, I
told you we’re going to get the A block done and his staff went to work, and they
found $2 billion, then we could offset. And that was kind of the final hurdle. And the last piece of legislation that
passed out of Congress was the ABLE Act and the president signed it, and
now 30 states have implemented that. In Florida, I’m proud to the fact that —
that our governor just signed the ABLE Act, the implementing legislation just last
week, 30 states have done that now. So that’s — we’re on our way. And there’s another kind of good fortune. One thing you have to do when that kind of
bill becomes law, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Treasury, they
have to write rules and regulations to implement that, so the
states can implement it. And quite frankly, the IRS and the Treasury, they’ve not been the most
responsible agency in government. From time to time, you read about the scandals
that took place with IRS and it just so happens that the IRS and the Department of
Treasury come under the jurisdiction of the subcommittee that
I chair on appropriations. In other words, we control their [inaudible]. And while they’ve made some mistakes and done
some poor management decisions over the years, when I made it clear how
important the ABLE Act was to me and to so many people all around the country. Then in six months, they
drafted the rules and regulations that ordinarily might have taken a year or
two years, no [inaudible], so they’re done. And right now they’re going through a process
and they came out and like a lot of rules and regulations when they come out, they’re
a little bit onerous and burdensome, and I told the commissioner that. I said we want to work together and there’s
a comment period and some of you all and I know the institute is going
to make suggestions about how to ease the administrative burden so
that we can make sure this happens. And that’s all taking place now, so I would say
by Christmas of this year we will have ABLE Acts that are open, up and running, and helping
— helping the people that need the help. Because let me tell you something, you
know, this is — this is — this is — it’s easy, this is — this is
what public service is all about. To help people that can’t always help
themselves, to speak out for people that can’t always speak for themselves. Now we — we have an opportunity for individuals
with disabilities to realize their hopes and dreams, to — to achieve
their full potential. And that’s all we’ve asked for. So I want to say thank you to
you, all of you who have helped to make this dream become a reality. It’s going to be the law
of the land, the ABLE Act and as we celebrate 25 years,
we’ve come a long way. We got a long way to go. And I’m ready to undertake the next project. So thank you for having me here today. Thank you so much. [ Applause ] [ Silence ]>>Okay, so Michael’s going to let
me introduce our next special guest. I often say to pass the ABLE Act, we needed
everyone and everyone to play their parts. And I think Congressman Crenshaw
just diluted to that right now. For the last eight years, four
congresses, we were like a football team. NDSS, Autism Speaks, NDI and
many of you in this room. We were like a football team
preparing for that big Super Bowl. In the 112th Congress, we
thought we were going to make it. And we ran out of time in that last quarter. When it came to the 113th
Congress, we knew it was our time and we put everything on
the line to make it happen. Senator Casey was our quarterback in the Senate. And his greatest coach was a woman hailing
from his home town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Sara Wolf, who just happens to have Down
Syndrome, and also, one of my bosses. Sara and her family’s story
resonated with Senator Casey. Sara lost her mom suddenly
to cancer a few years ago. And her father and siblings, like many
other families in the United States, remain worried about what
this meant for Sara’s future. Like a great coach, Sara helped call
a lot of the plays behind the scenes. She authored a change.org petition that
garnered the support of 300,000 people, it’s actually one of the most popular
change.org petitions of all time. And that change.org petition called
on Congress to join Senator Casey and Congressman Crenshaw to
help us pass the ABLE Act. I was able to witness Sara’s greatest pep talk
to Senator Casey during a press conference in the capital where we were with Senator
Burr, immediately following the House vote, which we ended up passing four four to 17. Sara was asked by Senator
Casey and Senator Burr, “Are you nervous about the
passage in the Senate? Are we — are we going to get there?” She encouraged everyone, including Senator
Casey, Senator Burr, Congressman Crenshaw and others in the House that
we had to stay popped. And that became our mantra over the
course of those last few weeks leading up to the Senate vote, which was
the last vote of the 113th Congress. The ABLE Act stands for Achieving
a Better Life Experience. Because of the leadership of Senator Casey, so many in the United States will
do just that, achieve a better life. As you know, our work is not done
and Senator Casey understands that and we’re lucky to have him on our team. It’s my distinct honor to introduce
and welcome my friends, Senator Casey. [ Applause ]>>Well, thank you very much everyone. I want to — I want you to know first
and foremost that it’s almost lunch time. So I’m in a very difficult position. So that means I’m going to cut my remarks short
because I just walked through where the food is. And it smelled really good. I almost didn’t get here because I was hungry. So I won’t — I won’t delay it any longer
and I know you have a program to get to and I’m grateful to — to — I hope
this isn’t an interruption, but — but if it is, I’m — I’m sorry about that. They gave us some time, I want to make sure that
we take advantage of it because in Washington if you get invited in front of any group of
experts a second time and for some people in the room I’ve seen you along
the way, that’s a big deal. You can’t always get re-invited,
so I’m grateful. But if I had to summarize the success of
the ABLE Act as it relates to the Senate, I could probably do it by just pronouncing a
few names — Sara, Sara, Jennifer, Natasha. I’ll just give you those four. Your Sara, our Sara who’s with us
today and her great leadership. Let’s give her a round of applause for her work. And her — and wonderful
introductions, I’m grateful that she — she spoke about the other Sara, Sara Wolf
from my home county of Lackawanna County. If it weren’t for the ABLE Act and if it weren’t
for Sara Wolf’s engagement and advocacy with me, to me, on behalf of me and with others, A,
I don’t think this would’ve gotten done, B, I don’t think I would’ve met her. So I’m grateful for that. So we have two Sara’s, Jennifer was on our
staff, Jennifer McCloskey, at the time. She’s since left the — the Senate and we’re
— we’re happy she’s in the private sector. I hope she makes a lot of money because she — she deserves it after —
after government service. But she was so essential and again, this —
my work wouldn’t of been possible without her. I mentioned Natasha because that’s Senator
Richard Burr who led the effort in the Senate with me and so grateful to work with
Richard Burr on this issue over many years. And Natasha work — still works with —
with Senator Burr, so I want to thank her and Senator Burr and Congressman
Crenshaw, who just preceded me. Really honor to work with him because at
the time, democrats controlled the Senate — no longer, but we were in control at least
until the end of last year and of course, republicans were in control of the House. So you needed to start this with
a democratic member of the Senate and a republican member of the House. And that’s where the Congressman and I came
together, and I’m grateful for his leadership, his determination and I just told
him backstage that he did a good job of explaining any of the details of the policy. And I can skip that, but I’m
grateful for his — his work. And working with him in the House [inaudible], someone I came to know much
more so because of the ABLE Act. I do want to commend everyone in the room,
not only for your work, if I can use a passage from scripture, laboring the vineyards. So many people here have been in — in
these battles, on these issues that relate to individuals with disabilities
for a lot longer than I have. So I’m — I’m grateful for
your work and your advocacy. But this day just happens to be one of
those days when we can celebrate 25 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act. And — and I know that my friend, Tom
Harkin, who just left the Senate at the end of last year will be joining you as well. So I want to commend and salute his great work. If — in terms of his work in the Senate, he
was the leader of the United States Senate, in my judgment on issues that relate
to individuals with disabilities. And if I can just carry his bag
for a couple years and never — never ever seek to replace him, but —
but to try to continue his good work. Let me be — be brief. The — this legislation and your work on this
legislation and other work, is I think grounded or founded in the belief that
we all believe that people with disabilities have a lot of ability. That they can not only contribute
substantially to our quality of life and the — the success of our nation, but
if we give them some tools, they can lead as full a life as possible. And one of the — the — that’s
the belief, but one of the concerns that undergirded this effort was the concerns
that a lot of families had, especially parents who might have a — might have a child
with a disability and they could — they could see themselves getting
that child through their childhood and through young adulthood, but they worried. And I know a lot of people
in this room understand this. Worried that years later, maybe
when they weren’t around that — that no one would be there to
take care of that individual. So one of the tools we should put in place
and now we have is a savings account, it’s — you can — you can draw from for
healthcare needs or education. So if you’re — if you got a disability and
you have a job and an apartment, you can use — and you have to get on the bus or you have
to travel to work, you can use that account for a whole range of — of
expenses in your life. So that’s what this is all about,
that’s why we did this work. We’re not done yet, there’s more work to do. As the congressman said, there’s
more work to do at the state level. And there’s more work to do in disability,
still a lot of battles to fight. And I look forward to joining you in
those — those battles along the way. I have to say though that
this effort was remarkable in a number of — in a number of ways. The congressman outlined how difficult it was
and that what we — what we had to overcome, but it’s also noteworthy that in a time when
everyone laments, and sometimes justifiably so, how grass roots don’t seem to result in a — in
a big one for — for folks across the country, that sometimes a special interest
seem to win and the rest of us don’t. Right? That’s the — that’s
the lament of the concern. But I’ll tell you, this was
a grass roots victory. This wasn’t become — it wasn’t
because a couple of folks in Washington got together in
a room and it all worked out. This came from the people and
the congressman referred to that. I had members of the United States Senate
coming to me, not saying I’d like to talk to you about the ABLE Act, they
came to deliver a message. I’m going to be on — I’m going to be on your
bill because I have to be because I was told by my constituents that this is what
I should do, and I’m going to do it. Okay? So that’s what your work did. I didn’t care how they got there. I don’t care, as long as they signed
on, that’s all we were worried about. But I want — I want you to
know that because there — there are so many reasons
right now to be cynical. So many reasons to be frustrated with
what doesn’t happen in Washington. And believe me, I can cite chapter and verse. But this was one of those moments
where all of that was off to the side. This was a grass roots victory. It came right from people, right from
advocates and activists on behalf of folks with disabilities, came right from folks with disabilities being advocates
themselves, Sara Wolf and so many others. I cite one of the — the families
that I came to know, the — two little girls, the Rayer
twins, Susan and Meredith. Just watching those little girls with Down
Syndrome run around our office and engage with me and talk to me, I — I know
for certain — for certain if — if we give little girls like that just a tool
like this, the ABLE Act and other support as well, those girls can do whatever they want. They’re bright, they’re active, they’re smart,
they’re — they’re ready to take on the world and there are certain parts of our
law which were holding them back. So we have more work to do and more battles
to fight, but whether it’s with Sara Wolf or whether it’s with the Rayer
twins, Susan and Meredith or whether it’s with all of you in this room. We’ve got more to do because this
really is about, in so many ways, what kind of country we are and what kind
of country you want — we want to become. And the promise of this country
is rooted in those children. The promise of this country is
rooted in some of the stories that you could tell in this room today. How far some of you have come a long,
long road to get where you are today. And we’re grateful for that. And we do believe that people with disabilities
have a lot of ability and it is our job, those of us who are elected to help —
help folks get down that road together. So, I’m grateful for your work, grateful for
your advocacy and look forward to working with you and I hope you have a great lunch. Thanks everybody. [ Applause ]>>Okay, we — we want to thank
Sara, we want to thank Senator Casey and Representative Crenshaw
for being here today. Let’s give them a round of applause. It’s fantastic. [ Applause ] Now, this does tie into the work that we were
talking about, so we’d like to continue our — our discussion on some innovative
community programs. Who is next? Was anybody? [ Multiple Speakers ] We’re moving faster than I thought. Forgive me. I got so taken away with all the
exciting information going on. I don’t know about you, but I’m just
inspired, you know, I think so often we have so much negative things to talk about, we
— we fight these battles in the trenches. And by the way, I believe in financial freedom
fighters and I think that each and every one of you are financial freedom
fighters for the disabled. Give yourselves a round of applause. But I’m just so excited to hear about
the victories, especially on Capitol Hill because so many people feel as
though they’re disenfranchised and they never get anything out of Capitol Hill. So many people don’t know about these
exciting work that’s going on in our community to make sure that each and every American is
included in economic success in our country. So, we’re going to take a break for lunch. We’re almost back on time,
but we’re going to have lunch. There’s a beautiful buffet in the next room. We invite you to partake of it, bring your food
back in this room and continue to dialogue, continue the conversation on making
sure that all Americans are included in our economic liability of this country. Thank you very much. We had a great morning and very exciting. A lot of great information, a
lot of inspiration I believe. And believe it or not, this afternoon
is going to be even more powerful, more informative and more exciting. We’d like to begin our afternoon session
by showing you a short video about the ADA. Can we show the video? All right.>>I now left my pen to sign this Americans with
Disability Act and say, “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.” God bless you all.>>For 25 years, the Americans with Disabilities
Act has removed barriers and empowered people. At his office in Houston, President George
H.W. Bush recently sat down with Tom Ridge, chairman of the National Organization on
Disability and America’s first secretary of Homeland Security for rare and
intimate conversation on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the ADA.>>Mr. President, you have no idea what a
great pleasure it is for me to have the chance to have this conversation with you. You have been so kind to the National
Organization on Disability to serve as our honorary chairman for 25 years and
I’ve been privileged to follow your lead. I’ve been chairman of the board for 10 years. I got 15 more years to go and I’ll still be
catching up with you, Mr. President, but I’d — I’d really like to take you back to the
South Lawn, White House, July of 1990.>>My golly.>>You signed what many people have
said was the most extensive piece of Civil Rights legislation
in America’s history. And I — I looked at your remarks that day,
Mr. President, and you said if I might quote, “This act is powerful in its simplicity. It will ensure –>>It will ensure that people with
disabilities are given the basic guarantees for which they have worked so long and
so hard, independence, freedom of choice, control of their lives, the
opportunity to blend fully and equally into the rich mosaic of the American mainstream.>>– the rich mosaic of
the American mainstream.” Twenty-five years ago, you’ve had many
achievements in your life, do you have a sense of how important this was to you personally because it’s been very important
to Americans since that time.>>Well, I believe we were doing the right thing
back then and I think it’s true, it still is. So it’s one — it’s something
I can take pride in.>>That legislation talked about
nondiscrimination, accessibility, inclusion and it was sweeping in its impact. Now there’s one more barrier and I
presume you agree with me that the next and perhaps the most important
barrier is to see that people with disabilities get a chance to go to work.>>You just can’t take the word
disability and disqualify someone. And I also want to say a special word to
our friends in the business community. You have in your hands the key to the success of
this act, for you can unlock a splendid resource of untapped human potential that
when freed will enrich us all.>>Getting people to work is something
that we’ve discovered, Mr. President, when we finally created a culture of
acceptability that these employers learn that the men and women with
disabilities sometimes are the best and most effective employees they have. That probably doesn’t surprise you, does it?>No, just so they get a chance. That’s the main thing.>>Again, as you take a look at that
scene 25 years ago and you reflect on how important it was at that time, you
had a lot of people involved in promoting it. Wasn’t it wonderful that you had
republicans and democrats laying out that platform for people with disabilities?>>Very important. If it had been just one party kind of thing, you
know, it would have been less effective, so no, I think — I think it’s very important. It’s something I’m very proud of,
perhaps proudest of when I was president.>>Well, you know, Mr. President, I
know you are an optimist by nature, I know you’re an optimist by nature. Anybody that flew 58 combat missions and
who thought it was a good time jumping out of airplanes is obviously optimistic. But do you see a time when
Americans will just accept disability as just a natural human condition?>>You know, I think people have
a wrong impression sometime. They see disability and they think, well that person with disability is
less able to do this — this job. And that’s not fair, that’s not right.>>I guess at the end of the day,
there are 40 to 50 million Americans who have far more opportunity today than
they would’ve had without — without your — your taking the leadership on that issue. And — and on behalf of the — the
National Organization on Disability and as a great friend, you’ve been an
inspiration to a lot of us, Mr. President. I’d like to think that I take a bit of your
leadership and try to extend your commitment to people with disabilities
within this organization. And so we thank you for your leadership
and your friendship, Mr. President.>>You’re a good man.>>Thank you, sir.>>And then the organizations, so many dedicated
organizations for people with disabilities who gave their time and their strength and
perhaps most of all, everyone out there and others across the breadth of this nation,
are 43 million Americans with disabilities. You have made this happen, all
of you have made this happen. [ Applause ] [ Music ]>>We’ll now hear from our
leader, Mr. Michael Morris. [ Applause ] [ Silence ] First [inaudible], I want to thank our friends
at the National Organization on Disability and Carol Glazer for sharing that video with us. It’s — it’s extraordinary just
on two months ago in Houston with former Governor Ridge
and — and President Bush. Well, in — in keeping moving forward,
we do want to go a little bit back and — and get the opinions and views
and thoughts of probably one of our nation’s most distinguished leaders,
who for almost 40 years was the protector, the advocate and activist related to
people with disabilities first in the House of Representatives and then
in the United States Senate. On the democratic side, Senator Tom
Harkin from Iowa and Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts were the leaders. I worked in the US Senate for Senator
Lowell Weicker, who didn’t quite make it to the day of — of the passage of the ADA. He was — he was defeated, but he was in the
late 1980s working with people like Lex Frieden, who you’ve heard from earlier who was one of
the key architects and Senator Harkin picked up the ball and kept running
with it and — and was — was absolutely essential to securing
the bipartisan support that — that took us across the top in 1990. I also want to thank Senator Harkin for his
leadership in the last few years he spent in the Senate chairing the Senate Health
Education Labor and Pensions Committee. For years, the Senate had been — and the
House had been at an impasse in trying to modernize our workforce development system. And with his leadership in those
last couple of months of leadership at the Senate Health Committee, he working with
others did manage to get bipartisan support for the passage, the Workforce
Innovation and Opportunity Act, which has particular sensitivities
around access for job seekers with disabilities throughout that law. That would not have happened
without Senator Harkin’s leadership. Senator Harkin retired from the US Congress,
really it seems like a few months ago, but obviously at the end of 2014. We are so pleased to bring
to you Senator Tom Harkin. [ Applause ]>>Thank you, Michael. I’ll just set this down here. Michael, thank you very much for that
very kind and generous introduction. Thank you all for having me here. Looks like you’ve had a good morning. And I thoroughly enjoyed watching that video. It’s absolutely true that without the
leadership of George Herbert Walker Bush, this would never have become law. Yeah, I’m a democrat saying
that, okay folks [applause]. I can tell you lots of stories about it,
about his involvement in it and stuff. The — the 25th anniversary of his presidency
was held — was it last year or the year before, can’t remember — down at College
Station, down at the Bush Library. And I was very proud, I was one of only two
democrats invited to celebrate down there with him, but it was a great
get together of a lot of us who had been involved in —
in the passage of the ADA. I also appreciate Michael mentioning the first
sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Now it’s my name on the bill, I’m the
chief sponsor, that’s — I got all that. I led the effort at the end because I
chaired the Disability Policy subcommittee. But it was Lowell Weicker who introduced
the first Americans with Disabilities Act. Now, l lay some claim to the fact that I was
his chief co-sponsor, anyway, at that — that — because the republicans were in charge and
the democrats were the minority at that time. And then, as Michael said, Lowell lost
election, which I wish he hadn’t of going back. But remains a tremendous friend of mine through
all these years, but he was just a great leader on — on this issue among — among others. My — my main focus on disability
policy started in the House on deafness, though I had a very narrow focus on that. And I’ll tell you why. I’m going to — I’m going to tell
you three stories and sort of wrap it up by showing how they all kind of
intersect with what you’re here about today and that’s financial security
for people with disabilities. The first story, many of you have heard me tell
before, but I keep telling it because it’s true and I think it indicates both where we’ve
been and sort of kind of where we need to go. It has to do with my brother, Frank, who
became deaf at small — at a young age. We lived in a small town in rural Iowa. And of course, he was taken from his home, his
family, his relatives, his church, his friends, sent halfway across the state
to the Iowa School for the Deaf, which at that time they called the
Iowa School for the Deaf and Dumb. And my brother said two things to me, well,
he said a lot of things to me in his lifetime, but two that I just really
burrowed in in my thought processes. First one he said, “You know, I
may be deaf, but I’m not dumb.” But that’s what everybody
referred to it as, deaf and dumb. So he stayed in that school. When he was in high school, they asked him what
he would like to be when he got out of school. He — he would — they gave him three
choices, he could be a shoe cobbler, a printer’s assistant, or a baker. My brother said, “I don’t
want to be any of those.” They said, “Well, okay, you’re
going to be a baker then because we got some places here for bakers.” So that’s what he did, he became a baker,
which he didn’t like at all, but that’s all — that’s the only thing that was available to him. So he’d been a baker for a few years, a
small bake shop in West Des Moines, Iowa. There was a man who — you would come into
the bake shop sometimes in the morning and I guess get a donut or a coffee
or something, I’m not clear what — struck up a friendship with Frank, who by that
time in the morning was out of the back room of baking and just sort of out front. And so he asked — he found out a little
bit about Frank, just back and forth, mostly just writing notes out
that my brother would — to him. And so, he asked him how he liked
his job, how he liked being a baker. Of course, my brother being
completely honest said, “I hate it.” “Well, why are you doing it?” He said, “That’s all I can do.” He said, “Well, what do you want to do?” My brother said, “I want to work
with machines and equipment. I like to do that kind of stuff.” So this guy turned out to be Mr. Delavin,
and he owned a plant that employed somewhere between two and 300 people in Des Moines and they made jet engine
nozzles, nozzles for jet engines. And so he said, “Frank, why
don’t you come work for me?” Frank took off his apron
and walked out the door. This is true, he took his apron and
[inaudible] wanted to hire him that day. And so, so he walked out and —
and so, Delavin took him down, had no people with disabilities
there and got the foreman and said, “Hey, I’ve just hired this guy. Teach him, see if — see if you could teach
him how to run this machine and stuff.” Well, several months go by,
Mr. Delavin, a wonderful — wonderful person, I met him later
on in the course of these events. Delavin asked his foreman, Frank’s
boss, how this — how was Harkin doing? The guy said, “Oh, my God, this guy is great. We taught him how to run this
machine, it didn’t take long at all. The boy picked it up right away. And he’s the most productive worker I’ve got. He — he never makes mistakes, more out
— more parts per hour than anybody else, he never comes late, and never
leaves early and never is sick.” He said, the guy is amazing. Well, Delavin [inaudible] this
is interesting that he would be so much better than the other workers. So, he and this foreman and
others, I guess start looking at this and they finally figured it out. This was a very noisy place, a lot
of clanging and banging and bells and people yelling and machines going. My brother, it didn’t bother him
a bit, he just sat right there and just kept right on doing his job. And now this is also true. Whereas Mr. Delavin probably hired my
brother out of the goodness of his heart, and took a liking to him, he then
went out and hired more deaf people because he knew it would help his bottom line. So, two things I take from that. One is people with disabilities have a
lot of abilities, that may be hidden, may not have been brought in school or
other places, that needed to be tapped into. So if I hope, if one thing,
what the ADA has done over these years is start to
change people’s attitudes. So when you see someone with a disability,
that doesn’t define that person. You know, what defines that
person is the whole person. What are they capable of doing? What do they want to do? How do they live their lives? What are their abilities, not their disability? So, Frank showed he had a lot of
abilities other than just being a baker. The other thing I think it shows is
the importance of a job, a good job. Now while he was a baker, he was making I
don’t know, a little bit of money, not much. So he went to work for this plant, became
a member of United Auto Workers Union, proud of his union card and he
got benefits, paid vacations. He never had a paid vacation in his life. Now he’s got paid vacations, got a pension built
up, so when he retired, he had Social Security, he had a pension, a defined benefit
pension that would last him until he died. And he had some savings. A good job, right, a good job, not some
minimum wage dead end, but a good job. The second story I’ll tell
you is about Emily Hillman. I met Emily a couple years ago. Emily was born with an intellectual
disability and after she got out of school, she got pipelined into a subminimum wage
job, which she later told me was very boring, and she didn’t like it and she
wanted to do something else. Well, she had very good parents that were
kind of willing to give her more rope. And so they said, “Well,
what do you want to do?” She said, “I want to open a coffee shop.” So, her parents said, “Well, how’s that
work, you know, how do we do that?” Well, they scraped together some money and
sent her to barista school in Minneapolis. I didn’t know there was such a
thing, Michael, but you can — you can go to barista school, I guess. And Emily came back, they went to the bank,
her parents cosigned, got some money together, there was an empty space on Main
Street in Independence, Iowa. How about that, huh? In Independence, Iowa. And so she opened Em’s, E-M, Em’s,
Em’s Coffee Shop in Independence, Iowa. Em now employs five people, two of whom
have disabilities, three who don’t. It is the gathering place in Independence now. People come in for coffee and tea
and now she’s got ice cream there. And it’s — no one — they had never had
this before in Independence, on Main Street. Well, there’s only one street, so Main Street. What the heck. And she sells the t-shirts
and Em’s coffee and — and Emily, she has this wonderful personality. People just love to talk to Em. And she remembers your names, she
knows everybody who comes in that door. So this has become a great success story
for the community and for Emily Hillman. Think about that, a person with an intellectual
disability, pipelined into a dead end job at subminimum wages, now owning
and running her own small business. So, what I take from that, don’t just think
about people with disabilities as getting a job, which I’m going to get onto a little bit more. But how about small business owners, a lot
of them could be small business owners, running their businesses, whether
it’s a physical disability, an intellectual disability,
or a combination of both. So we got to think about that [applause]. So the third story I’ll you, it has to
do with a large company called Walgreens. I have a — I won’t go anywhere but
Walgreens anymore, I’ll tell you why. A few years ago, I ran into Randy Louis, who was
a senior vice president for — for Walgreens. And he was telling me about some
of the things they were doing to hire people with disabilities. And so, his CEO was Greg Wassun, at the time. He no longer is because Walgreens is now joined
with some company out of England, I can’t — I don’t even know the name of it now. But we went up to their distribution
center outside of Hartford, Connecticut. And it’s one of the largest
distribution centers in America. I happen to be there, just —
just me and one of my staff. And — but he had invited other CEO’s like
Proctor and Gamble, Best Buy, Home Depot — oh, I mean, big shots came there. They all flew in on their private jets. I flew commercial, coach to get there. That’s all right, just aside. But anyway, so he wanted to show
us his plant and take us on a tour, and before he started he said, “I want to
tell you why I wanted you to come here, I wanted you to see what
people [inaudible] can do.” He said, “Forty percent of the people who work in this plant are people
with disabilities, 40%.” He said, “Now as you go through some you’ll
recognize they are disabled, some you may not, and you’ll see that we made
minor adjustments here or there to accommodate someone with a disability.” Forty percent. And he said, “I want you to know I’m not
doing this out of the goodness of my heart, this is my most productive
distribution center in America.” Think about that. Bottom line. Bottom line. [Applause] So we went on a tour,
looked around, saw some people there. I’ll never forget the one person, a young
woman, Down Syndrome, working there. I mean working, not at sub-minimum wage,
I mean the same pay that the other people that were getting that worked the same, okay? So she had this station — and I don’t know
if you know about a distribution center, but what it is is these baskets come by on a — like a conveyor belt type of
thing, and you have a station. And so Walgreens Store #362 or
something, someplace, sends it in and they want five toothbrushes and six
of this and seven of that and whatever. Well, at each station they just have so
many things they can put in the basket, then it goes on to the next station. So she’s at this station, and I found out that she could not understand
numbers, had no idea about numbers. So if it said five toothbrushes,
she knew what the toothbrush was, but she didn’t know what five meant. But she remembered animals, and so they put this
big board, it’s electronic, you know, board, like a checkerboard type thing, and compared to
— you know, sort of like their station there. And so if she saw three alligators, she knew
to put three of these toothbrushes in the box. And if there was five alligators,
she put [inaudible]. And if there were four elephants,
she put four Republicans in the box. [ Laughter ] I could use donkeys, also, if there was donkey’s
she put Democrats in the box [laughter]. She never showed up late for work, never left
early, never got sick, and never made a mistake. Think about that. So it indicates to me that we all are losing
out if we’re not tapping into the abilities that so many people with disabilities have, and sometimes they’re not obviously,
sometimes they’re not obvious. I see my good friend, Bob Williams, here. Now it’s kind of hard to carry on a conversation
with Bob, but you got to have patience. I remember when I first met Bob back in — working on ADA, never one of us
had gray hair then, Williams. [ Laughter ] But I got to tell you this, Bob Williams is one of the best writers you’ll ever
encounter in your lifetime. I mean, writers. I mean, he is just — how he
writes is just magnificent. Plus he also wrote me a poem once,
which I take to hear, but I’m — as a writer, you can’t find a
better writer than Bob Williams. Hidden talent, you wouldn’t know
that by just talking to Bob, but what a great hidden talent he has. So 25 years later, I think we can say
we’ve come a long way with the Americans with Disabilities Act, especially in
the built environment, we have ramps, we have moving walkways, and we have widened
doors, and curved cuts, and accessible buses, and trains and subways, and on and on and on. Although there’s — and mobility was so
important, transportation was so important. But there’s still one little
thing that we haven’t accomplished and it’s been stuck in my craw and that’s taxis. Do you know, Michael, if you go to
London, England today, or tomorrow — if you go to London, England today, every taxi that you hail is 100%
accessible, every single one. Not true here. Now, New York City recently just
committed itself to having 50% of their yellow cabs fully accessible by 2020. Chicago is moving ahead in that direction, because there’s a few other
cities kind of moving ahead. It seems to me a shame that here in the nation’s
capital we don’t have 100% accessible taxi cabs. [ Applause ] And I don’t meant to promote one
company over another, but MV-1, I think they’re Ohio based
or Indiana, what is it, Ohio? I think one of those two — anyway, they’re
making a very nice accessible taxicab. It’s a little bit more expensive than
a old beat up jalopy, well, sure it is. But that’s where states and local governments
got to come in and give them tax benefits. Tax write-offs and stuff, you buy one, they
last a long time, they’re very well built. And I’ll tell you this, I would — I’d bet a
lot of money, take any random sample of two or three, four, people without disabilities
and they hail a cab, and they have a choice of the accessible cab or
one that’s not accessible, and I’ll bet you they’ll pick
the accessible one every time. Easier to get in and out of,
better headroom, better leg room, and if they got suitcases,
the suitcases fit in there. So, again, like we found in the last 25 years,
when you build things are of universal design, and accessible, it helps everybody. Curb customer design [inaudible]
people in wheelchairs, how about people wheeling baby carriages,
people with walkers, things like that. I was the author of the bill called
the Television Circuitry Decoder Act, it actually passed before ADA, which
mandated that every television set in America with a size 13 inch screen or bigger had to have
a chip in it to automatically decode that line, whatever that line is, 21 or whatever it is. Obviously my intent on that was so that people
like my brother and people who deaf and hard of hearing could follow what was going on. To my great surprise and joy I found
later on that one of the biggest users of this are sports bars [laughter]. All this noise and everything,
and all the different sports, they just keep those things
running underneath the screen. And I also found that myself, sometimes I’m
— I’m watching the news or some program and I get a phone call I don’t want to miss,
I just punch that mute button, just like that, and I can just follow everything
and I can multitask. I can listen to somebody and
continue to watch the program. So my point is that we’ve come a long way. I don’t know many of you know this, there
were four goals of the ADA, four goals; full participation, equal opportunity, independent living and economic
self-sufficiency. On the first two we’ve done pretty well. Full participation, you can go to
sports stadium and theaters now, travel with your family, that’s pretty good. Equal opportunity, a lot better. We’ve come quite always in equal opportunity. Independent living, again,
we’ve come a long way, but we haven’t fully implemented
the Olmstead Decision. I don’t know if you know what
I mean, the Olmstead Decision. The Supreme Court over here decided
in 1999, which said that people with disabilities have a right to
the least restrictive environment, not the nursing home, but in the community. Now states and others have been a little slow
in implementing that, but we’re making progress. It’s the last one, it’s the last one
that has been the biggest problem and that’s what you’re about
here, financial security. I will state the obvious first and foremost, you can’t have financial security unless
you got a good job, unless you’re working, that’s the most important element of it. So I suppose if you’re a son or a daughter of
a trust fund family, or something like that, with a lot of money, okay, I get
that, but that’s a minority of people. So economic self-sufficiency, it is a blot
on our national character that today 60% — over 60% of adults with disabilities
are not in the workforce, 60%. And you’re talking about we have
5.5% unemployment, in this country, we’re talking about 60%,
folks, are not in the work — and these are people who can work and who
want to work and are not in the workforce. Well, we may not be able to go out and
solve everything tomorrow for everyone who is an adult, who’s in their
50s and 60s, that type of thing, but we shouldn’t let this time pass without
setting in place structures to ensure that young people with disabilities
will enter the workforce in competitive, integrated employment from the very beginning. From the very beginning. [ Applause ] So last year, to that end,
the last bill I got through, the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act. I think you mentioned that [inaudible]. Michael mentioned that. So we made a nice change in that, and it
took us a long time, it took several years, but we got it done, and here’s what it does. It sets aside 15% of the money for VR, voc
rehab, to be used for young people who are in school to provide for summer
jobs, internships, job coaching. And it sets up a system so that when
that young person gets out of school, say they’ve been under an IEP, for
example, they get out of school, they have to first seek competitive
integrated employment. No longer can they just be pipelined into
a sub-minimum wage job, which is dead end, like happened to Emily Hillman [assumed
spelling], for example, and others. The default position now is that, default
position is competitive integrated employment. Now, a lot of times, I know when I had
all these hearings people said, “Well, [inaudible] you’re awful rough on these people.” You see, there’s still a lot of people that
think that you have to have pity on people with disabilities, you just have to have pity. I’m not there. I’m not there. What I want is to make sure
that they have accessibility. That people with disabilities
can follow their dreams, and that we break down the artificial barriers that society has constructed,
and give them opportunities. I always say about the ADA, [inaudible]
talking about a ladder of success. People have to climb the ladder. And I always say, you know, I always
use a ladder, not an escalator. Escalator is a free ride, I
don’t believe in free rides. With a ladder you still have exert energy
and effort and initiative to get up. And I say, well, but back in 1990 and
before there were millions of Americans that no matter how hard they tried could never
climb that ladder, people with disabilities. Okay, so what we did, we built a ramp and we
called it the Americans with Disabilities Act. And I always use that analogy of
the ramp, it’s not a moving walkway. Not one dime, not one nickel in that
build goes to a person with a disability. The whole idea behind it is to break down the
barriers, equal opportunity, full participation so that people with disabilities can follow
their dreams and try different things. So people said to me, “Well, [inaudible],
you’re awful tough on these young people. Some of these young people maybe
can’t do that, maybe they can’t get in there, maybe they can’t do that.” I said, so you’re telling me that
some of these young people are going to fail, young people with disabilities. “Oh yeah, they’re going to fail.” I said, so what’s wrong with that? Isn’t that a normal part of human activity,
to try things and sometimes you fail? I don’t about you, but I
failed at two or three things in my life before I finally figured something
out that I can do, and that’s just a part of the human experience, to try something you
think you might want to do and you can’t do. Okay, well, try something else. Why should a young person with a
disability be denied that human experience? It’s not being hard hearted, it’s
saying, we want people to have this — be a part of this human experience. And, plus, you’d be amazed that people you
don’t think could do something, what do you see, there’s a lot of Emily Hillman’s out there,
and other people, Bob Williams and others, who if just given the opportunity could
do a lot more than you think they can do. So that’s why we changed the
Workforce Investment Opportunity, to get a new cohort of people
going, young people. I call them part of the ADA generation
because they’re not going to sit back and take a back seat and say that
pity is enough or caring is enough. The caring, we should care for
one another our whole lives, but caring that will transmit itself into
making sure the structures don’t discriminate against somebody, and that’s the whole essence
of the Americans with Disabilities Act. So as President Bush said, I believe it’s doing
its job, but like any piece of legislation, any Civil Rights bill, it’s not self-enforced. It has to have people who are
out there to help it come alive, and so I’m here to ask all you young
people who are here, a lot of young — everybody’s younger than I
am these days [laughter], to make it come alive in your daily lives. If you’re an employer, ask yourself, do I
have an Affirmative Action program to go out and try to find people with disabilities who —
I would never ask any employer to hire a person with a disability who is
not qualified for that job. But find somebody who is qualified for
that job, you can find them out there. Lean on voc rehab, people like that. And if you’re an employee and you’re
in a company or place, look around. If you’re working with 100
people, how many are disabled? People with disabilities we know
are about 20% of our population, so out of 100 people you only got two people
with disabilities, they’re not hiring people in accordance with the distribution
in our society. And of course that’s what the
Civil Rights Act said in 1964, they said discrimination against what? Race, color, sex, national origin, religion. That you can’t, in any mix, it has to
proportionate to their numbers in society. You can’t have a place that hires 1000 people and hire one woman and say,
hey, you fulfilled it. No, you can’t do that. And so it’s a constant struggle to make sure
the ADA is both enforced and lived up to. And if you’ll help do that in the next 25
years, I have no doubt that 25 years from now in the 50th anniversary, when people look
back, and they take stock of where we are, you will see people with disabilities
in all kinds of jobs, CEOs, and others, people on assembly lines, people in fast
food, distribution throughout society. Hopefully you’ll even see some
that are United States senators. Thank you very much. [ Applause ] Thank you all very, very much. [ Applause ] I shouldn’t do this, I should never
[inaudible], and I took too long away. I told Mike, that’s when I do when
I don’t have a written speech. You know, I learned sign
language when I was growing up, and there are a couple of
signs I’ll teach you, okay? I want to teach you all sign. One is this one. A lot of times I do that and people think,
is that a bad thing, what is he doing? It’s comprised of three letters, I, L and Y,
which means, “I love you,” in sign language. The other sign I’ll teach is one that I
think is one of those beautiful signs, and I think you’ll see what I mean. If you take your hands and put your hands
together like this, like your fingers together like this, okay, and sort of put
your thumbs together like this. And take your hands and go in front of your
body in a circle, in a circle, okay, got it? You know what that’s a sign for? America. It’s a beautiful, beautiful sign. Think about it. America, we’re all locked
together, everyone together, no one is left out in this constant
circle of life in our country, that’s the America we had
always aspired to achieve. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Thank you, Senator Harkin, and hard
to top that, but we’ll switch gears. We’re going to go towards second phase, which
is small group discussions at roundtable. We’re going to talk about how that’s set
up and what we’re going to be trying to do. But I first want to bring Kelvin Boston
back up because he’s going to depart, but he has been an inspiration this
morning and kept the continuity going, and I know you wanted to
say one or two final words.>>All right. Thank you. Well, let’s give it up for Senator Harkin. That was amazing. Is this yours or Senators? [ Applause ] Michael, before I leave, I
just wanted to thank you again for allowing me to be part of this great event. And also share, I think like what Senator
Harkin just did was to share a few thoughts that might help in your afternoon discussions. I first I want to tell you a quick
story about Melvin B. Tolson, who was an African-American poet laureate,
and he used to like to tell the story that when he was a child he had to walk
through a graveyard every day to get to school. And one day while he was walking through
this graveyard he came across a tombstone and the tombstone read, “I am dead, as
all can see, prepare ye all to follow me.” Well after thinking about these words for a few
moments, the young poet laureate said aloud, “To follow you I am not content
until I know which way you went.” [Laughter] I just want to let you know
how inspired I was to be here today and to see the work that
Mike and his team is doing, and I want you to know that
I’m prepared to follow you. You can clap on that. [ Applause ] The information that I’ve learned over the past
few months, working with Mike and his team, about what’s going on in
the Disability Movement, and the information I learned today
will impact my work for years to come. And now when we start producing
Moneywise television programs I will think about people with disabilities. [ Applause ] When I crisscross the country,
talking to African-American churches about economic empowerment [inaudible]
I will remind them about ADA. And when I champion the cause for retirement
security for all Americans, now I will make sure that we talk about [inaudible]
accounts and the work of NDI. My friends, I hope that something you learned
today will inspire you to continue to fight when you leave here for this great cause. There’s a great discussion in our country
today about closing the wealth gap, and indeed we have a wealth gap that
we must close, but eventually in order to close the wealth gap we’re going to have
to close the ownership gap between those that own a lot and those that own too little. And I’m talking about closing
it from an economic perspective. Eventually we have to make sure that
all Americans have more savings, that they have more equity in their homes,
that they have more retirement accounts, and that they own more businesses. That’s how we close the wealth gap. And eventually this conversation
that you’re going to have today will have to get to that point. What are the solutions that low
wealth and low income people can have and use to close the wealth gap
that they’re going to need in order to participate in our society fully? Now, [inaudible] will say that’s kind
of a challenging, you know, proposition. And I want to share with you what we
share with people all around America to help them understand and get the importance
of ownership, because one thing that, I think it was the second President Busch said,
that indeed we do live in an ownership society, and eventually we have to help
everybody increase their ownership. But sometimes the people we serve
don’t get it, and so we started sharing with them something we call the philosophy
upon ownership, and I’ll just share it with you and hopefully it will help your
conversation this afternoon. I learned about pond ownership
when I had the privilege with being Reverend [inaudible] one
day and he shared with me the parable about the hungry man and the fish. And maybe some of you have
heard this parable before. It says that if you give a hungry man
a fish you will feed him for a day. If you teach a hungry man how to fish,
you will feed him for a lifetime. Well the good Reverend, I think, took this
to a while new perspective when he said, “If you show the hungry man how to
buy the pond that is filled with fish, then he’ll never worry about
being hungry again.” And get this, neither will his children, or
his grandchildren, or his great-grandchildren. My beloved, I think the work
you are doing is important because you’re helping people own the pond. And this is so important because
as Booker T. Washington once said, “At the bottom of education, at the bottom
of politics, even at the bottom of religion, there must be economic independence.” What you’re going to talk about this
afternoon is so important because you’re going to help people with disabilities secure
their economic independence in America. As you leave here, go back to
your work, go back to your homes, go back to your community
and continue this great work. I know from time to time you will face
challenges, and when those challenges come, I hope you will remember the spirit of our
meeting today, and I hope you will remember to consult not your fears but
your hopes and your dreams. That you’ll think not about your frustrations,
but about your unfulfilled potential and that you won’t worry about those
things that you have tried and failed in, but consider only what is
still possible for you to do. Thank you so much for allowing
me to be here with you today. [ Applause ]>>I want to ask for Alex and Ari. Ari, you’re there? Okay. To come up on stage. And as I said, to sort of put the
perspective, [email protected], these two individuals, they can tell you how old
they were in 1990 [laughter]. They I think were toddlers. They were born, I know that,
but they were very, very young. And we thought, what a — what a great way to
sort of last two commenter’s to reflect on both from a personal way about how
the ADA has affected them, because they are the ADA generation. They didn’t live in a world pre-ADA. And where do they see it going. This whole focus, Senator Harkin
said it so well, that fourth goal, advancing economic self-sufficiency, well
we really have just scratched the surface, that’s got to be our focus for the future. So I’m going to ask — I know you’re
not — either of you have microphones?>>I have a microphone.>>You have a microphone.>>Then you’re first.>>Then you’re first [laughter], how about that. We’ll call on Alex first. I do want to say that Alex has —
currently is with the Taproot Foundation, where they have the wonderful opportunity to
pair up for profit companies and expertise with not for profits in all kinds of areas,
from fundraising to technology support, management consulting, marketing,
and a great job. And they have multiple offices, New York
City, Washington D.C., San Francisco. I know you hate — probably
every time I talk about it, but we first met when you were the
reigning Ms. Wheelchair America, National Disability Institute did — had
a partnership that went multiple years, and today you are the vice chair
of the NDI Board of Directors. So with that, let me turn it over to you.>>Thank you so much, Michael. What a day. This has been quite an inspiring and visionary
day, and those are two words to describe NDI and Michael Morris, and so thank you so much for
having me here, having us all hear for this day. [ Applause ] Part of what I’ve been thinking about
throughout today is something that I think about pretty much every day of my
life, which is, damn, how lucky I am. I think that might be sort of
surprising to you all, seeing me here. I’ve experienced muscle weakness due to
Muscular Dystrophy for most of my life. I started using a wheelchair when I was 19. But I am incredibly lucky and that’s
because I’m financially stable. I have a great job, as Michael mentioned. I’m married. I pay my bills on time. And while I’m certainly not the only
person with a disability in this situation, as you heard with the many statistics today,
the deck was certainly stacked against me. So part of what I want to share
today is what it took to get me to this point of financial stability. And the way that I see we can all
work together to get other people with disabilities to this place as well. So there are two main points
about what it took to get me here, and I’ll give you a spoiler alert, I
had nothing to do with either of them. First and foremost, to put it
bluntly, my parents are very wealthy. I am lucky because I won the
lottery in terms of my parents. They’re graduate school educated, they’re smart,
they’re white, and they knew it was important to make good financial decisions for me. They ensured that I went to the best schools. They ensured that I had the best
care, that I understood implications of making good, sound financial decisions. They were there with me when they opened my
first bank account, my first savings account, and they’ve ensured that I’ve paid
taxes and had a job since I’ve been 16. Now, I’m incredibly grateful for all of that
they’ve done for me, particularly financially, but they couldn’t have done it without
the Americans with Disabilities Act. I was three years old when the act was passed,
and while we didn’t know I would need it then, boy has the world changed, and boy am
I grateful to the fact that it exists. I know that that’s part of
the reason many people in this room today have made
that come to fruition. The act’s not only set higher expectations
personally, and also financially, for me, but for the millions of others
with disabilities, and we’ve heard a lot about that today. I could not have gotten into that bank
to open that first checking account with the Americans with Disabilities Act. In many ways I’m a success story for [email protected] I think if Justin Dart were alive he would say,
as we saw that quote, “I have the good life.” I have a great job, I have great relationships,
I’m integrated in the economic mainstream, I’m integrated in the social
mainstream, I love my life. But still I face financial strain and stress. I’ve had ever advantage in many ways,
but to share and give a little sense of how I could be also experiencing this
financial strain, I want to give a breakdown of some of the costs that are
associated to my having a disability. Per year I spend about $5000 on at home care. I spend about $6000 on wheelchair
repairs and maintenance. To live in New York City, in an accessible
apartment, I spend about $2000 more than I would otherwise, per
month, so that’s about $24,000. I spend about $2000 on physical therapy. So all told, because I have a disability, I
have additional costs of about $37,000, $37,000. That’s near the median income
in the U.S. for a household. So thank goodness I’ve had every advantage. My husband and I make about $150,000 a year. With the additional cost due to my
disability, it’s hard to meet our expenses, so I’m incredibly grateful
and reliant on my parents for setting up a special needs trust for me. I don’t think that’s good enough. I’m sorry, I don’t think that because I
have a great job, have economic stability, but it’s only due to my parents,
that shouldn’t be a prerequisite for being financially stable
for people with disabilities. And I haven’t even included
some additional costs. I haven’t included what every five years I need
to spend about $60,000 on a new wheelchair. That I have private insurance and so that
covers a lot of the cost that I incur. And one of my most expensive costs, time. Time to set up access needs for a world that
is not meant to necessarily help me out. So I want you all to imagine for a
minute what it would like for you if you had an additional cost of $37,000. What would that look like for your
day-to-day expenses, for your investments, your retirement, your financial futures? And it’s worth noting that my
disability is on the cheaper side. I don’t take expensive medicines. A lot of my personal care costs are negligent because I have great friends
and my husband who help me. I say this all not to be in a place
of frustration and I think, Kelvin, if he were here, would not want
me to do that, but I say it to top into that unfulfilled potential
that he was speaking of. This is the opportunity that
we have in front of us. This is a challenge that we have in
front of us, but it’s the opportunity. And so what I want us to think about is all of
the solutions that we’ve described here today. This is where we’re headed in terms of where
we should be over the next 25 years of the ADA. It shouldn’t be a prerequisite to have
wealthy parents in order to succeed in this country, it absolutely should not. And so what will it take to make sure
[inaudible] is implemented in the way that it should be, to make sure the private and
public partnerships are happening so that people with disabilities have access
to the capital that they need for loans [inaudible] technology, etcetera. As you go back to your office
today I want you, or tomorrow, hopefully you’re not going back today
[laughter], I want you to think about me and think about the challenges that
I’ve described and the opportunities. And I want you to know that truly my
financial future is in your hands. I want you to also think about the millions
of other Americans with disabilities who have not had the leg up that I have had. I’ve had every advantage and
still I’m in this position. And I want you to know that they’re ready to
join the economic mainstream, it’s up to you all to implement the solutions here
today to make that a reality. So at the next anniversary of the ADA, and
I mean next year, not 25 years from now, we can make financial achievement for
people with disabilities an attainable goal and not something that’s just a matter of luck. Thanks. [ Applause ]>>Our second commenter is Ari Ne’eman. For many of us who work in Washington D.C., I
think Ari is one of a family of quadruplets, because he’s everywhere [laughter]. You see him on Capitol Hill, you see
him represented on the National Council on Disability as one of the
presidential appointees. You see him at the Department of Labor
as a appointee on the advisory committee for employment related to people
with significant disabilities. I try to reach him and he says
he’s in Australia, speaking, and then he’s in Europe,
speaking, then in England. Ari Ne’eman represents the new
generation in terms of the ADA. You can tell us how old you were
when the ADA was passed into law. But Ari is a self-advocate. He is a CEO. He is a founder of a movement that is
in its earliest stages of evolution. People with autism, the Autistic
Self-Advocacy Network, no one ever dreamed of any
such thing back in 1990. I’m not sure if people dreamed much about
it 10 years later or 20 years later, either. It took his persistence, I’m sure, as well,
like Alex, an incredibly supportive family, but Ari Ne’eman is a force to be reckoned with. Do no cross him [laughter]. He has the intellectual capacity and verbal
skill to wrap rings around all of us. Ari Ne’eman. [ Applause ]>>Knowing now that there are no expectations
for these remarks whatsoever [laughter], let me begin by expressing my
sincere gratitude to Michael and the National Disability Institute,
not only for convening this great event, but for the opportunity to partner with
NDI on any number of key issues related to the economic advancement
of people with disabilities over the course of the last several years. This event puts me in mind of one of
the great stories of July 26th, 1990. When President Bush — when the first President
Bush called together the disability community for that famous signing ceremony, and
people from all over the community, members of Congress, leaders from across the
country came together, there’s a moment — there’s a story that I absolutely love. Senator Ted Kennedy, may he rest
in peace, leaned over to talk to Pat Wright [assumed spelling],
long-time disability rights advocate, and this was just as President Bush was about
to begin his remarks, and Senator Kennedy leans over and says, “Ah, Pat, listen,
I have a question for you.” “What is it? What is it?” “What if he reads it before he signs it?” [Laughter] And I’ve always loved
that story because it illustrates that the Disability Rights Movement has
always been about pushing the boundaries of society’s understanding of disability. Most people involved in the passage of the
ADA, most of the people who voted on it, most of the people who worked on it,
most of the people who advocated for it, could not have envisioned how
far we would come 25 years later. Would not have seen the promise
of what the ADA could bring about, of what could come out of the ADA. The Supreme Court’s Olmstead Decision, the
focus on bringing people with disabilities out of institutions and into the community. The opportunity to open up
the American workforce. The promise of the ADA has been extraordinary
over the course of the last 25 years. But as we all know, because we are here today,
it is still not enough, because we are asking for nothing less than full
equality of opportunity. And as many illustrious speakers
and I have mentioned today, we still have a long way to
go towards achieving that. People with disabilities are still significantly
locked out of the American workforce. We still have access to a state of affairs in
which, if you are fortunate, if you have access to a family with resources, or
the ability to navigate a complex and bureaucratic service provision
system, you have one set of opportunities. And if you are in the great majority
of Americans with disabilities who experience poverty, who experience
isolation, who experience being locked out of the American dream, you have another
very different set of opportunities. And we need to ask ourselves, with all of the
progress that we’ve made in realizing part of the dream of the ADA, why haven’t
we seen the rest of that commitment, the rest of that promise that America made to its disabled citizens 25 years ago
realized in the way we thought it would? One of the great challenges of the
Disability Rights Movement has been that we have always seen greater progress in
our policy and our legal victories than we have with our social and our cultural victories. There are any number of rights that people with
disabilities have today that are not recognized and understood by the general populace. When we talk about the idea that people
with disabilities have a right to live in the community rather than in
institutions, this is not something that the average American thinks about or
has the opportunity to be familiar with, or has heard of the Supreme
Court’s landmark Olmstead Decision in 1999, emerging from the ADA. When we talk about the idea that people with
disabilities should have the right to be subject to the same labor laws, to not be paid
as hundreds of thousands with Americans with disabilities are today, less than minimum
wage, this is not an issue that is on the agenda of the vast majority of Americans. And unfortunately there’s a reason for that. If we go back a hundred years to the
very beginning of the 20th Century, and America’s initial foray into
the topic of disability policy, we see that in the early 20th Century, and
some of the first discussions about disability, we saw a process of segregation, of isolation. In 1927 the Supreme Court, in the landmark
decision Buck v Bell, infamous decision, Buck v Bell, ruled that Americans
with disabilities could be subject to involuntary sterilization as a
result of the eugenics movement. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes [assumed
spelling] is infamously noted three generations of imbeciles is sufficient. And as a result, tens of thousands of Americans
were deprived of their bodily integrity. Today’s efforts to remove people from
institutions and sheltered workshops are efforts to recover from the legacy of the eugenics
movement and the legacy of that segregation put on people with disabilities of an earlier
generation, long before we were ever born. Now I was, if memory serves, two, maybe two and
a half, on July 26th, 1990, and so, as you say, Michael, I have been extraordinarily fortunate,
extraordinarily fortunate to have always known that the Americans with Disabilities
Act covers me, and gives me access to certain basic rights and legal protections. But I also, growing up, faced a great
deal of isolation and segregation. As an autistic student I was sent,
instead of having the opportunity to go to my local neighborhood high school, to a
segregated special education school an hour and a half north of where I lived. Where the school bragged about having a
vocational program, instead of learning how to pursue the careers we wanted, we were told
that we would work in the kitchen as a means by which the school would save money on having
to hire kitchen staff for our cafeteria. I remember being told, when I complained
about this, that there were far worse places that they could send me, and knowing
that they were absolutely right. Knowing that even experiencing that, there
are countless people with disabilities who are in far worse settings and don’t have the
opportunity as I did to advocate for my right to return to the general education classroom. To advocate for the opportunity to pursue
my dreams, to eventually go on to college, to eventually start an organization and connect
with other people like me, and work on civil and human rights for autistic people
and for all people with disabilities. But the existence of the ADA, the existence
of the knowledge that the law of the land said that these things were wrong, even if that law
was not fully realized, not fully implemented, gave me the strength, and gave
countless other people with disabilities of my generation the strength
to do more, to fight for more. To work towards greater inclusion and
greater opportunity for our people. You know, one of the flagship activities of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network is we
run a series of leadership development programs for emerging leaders with
disabilities throughout the country, many of whom are college students, or young
adults, and are being exposed for the first time to an understanding of the
Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act, the Developmental Disability Act, laws and programs that have impacted
their lives for throughout their years, but who are for the very first time having the
opportunity to have explained to them in a way that they will be able to impact
and they will be able to change. And I think the thing that gives me the most
hope, the most excitement about the future, about the next 25 years of the
Americans with Disabilities Act, is that generation has higher
expectations still. They are not going to tolerate a world
in which disabled people are segregated in separate schools, in institutions,
in sheltered workshops. Are subject to a different set of labor laws. Are subject to a different set of protections. They are not going to tolerate
a Disability Rights Movement that does not recognize the full diversity of
the disability community, and how we connect and interrelate with others communities. And they are going to be the generation that
is going to be your partners, our partners, in opening up the workforce and creating
the opportunity that we all seek. Your presence here today, your work
with the National Disability Institute, and with countless other organizations dedicated
to the full civic, legal, and social inclusion, and economic inclusion, of people with
disabilities will make that dream a reality. Thank you so much for having me here. Thank you so much for participating
in this conference. And good luck with the work we have before us. [ Applause ]>>Hard to — what a dynamic duo, actually. I think we should — just interesting. [ Applause ] What perspectives. I wish I could remember when I was
two and a half [laughter] or three. I had a little red wagon, but
you don’t want to hear about it. Just a few closing comments. I think back to what seemed like yesterday,
but we’ve been here all day, what a day. I want you to remember this day. I want you to remember this day because
you chose to be a part of the conversation. You chose to stay to the end, to not only
listen to all kinds of famous people, but also to stay here and give your own ideas,
your thoughts, your view of how do we create that path to a better economic future. I want you to remember the people at your table. I want you to remember the
people across the room. I want you to remember the
enthusiasm, the passion, the declaration of intentions, and commitment. I want you to remember the sense of empowerment. I want to leave you with, as Tom Harkin
said, may be the most gifted writer of a generation of people with disabilities. Bob Williams and I first started
working in the halls of Congress back in the early 1980s together
for the same senator. Bob would ricochet — oh, you were a terror. You would ricochet down the halls, people would
run, because they were sure you had no control of your motorized chair [laughter],
and they were right. You always flung in front of us your green
board, prior to the use of technology, and made us sit and listen to you, one point at
a time, at one letter, crafting words together. But as Senator Harkin said, and I know,
you are a gifted poet and a gifted writer. And in your book, the [email protected], I’m going to
have to go closer to the screen to read this. I can’t tell [inaudible] you can see it here. This is what Bob Williams said [inaudible]. “The ADA stands for the proposition that the
American dream must be accessible to all, and within the reach of those who seek it, and are willing to work [inaudible]
hard to achieve their slice of it. It equips us with the opportunity,
tools and obligations to make good on this principle, the rest is up to us.” Thank you, Bob. [ Applause ] I leave you with those words, but first just
a last round of appreciation to all of you in this room, but most importantly the
incredibly passionate and creative staff of National Disability Institute. There once was just three of us, Michael Morris,
Johnette Hartnett — where are you Johnette? Johnette. And Sharon Brent. Sharon has retired and gone
back to live with her family, and her son with significant
disabilities in California. I’m not going to tell you how many
people we have now, but it’s many more. And we are on the ground, toiling every day
in extraordinary partnerships with all kinds of community players in I
believe 35 states right now. We began with the asset development,
we changed the language, as others did, to financial capability, financial
inclusion, doesn’t matter the words. It is, as Senator Harkin said, it’s about advancing economic
self-sufficiency and all its various components. This staff, and I want them
to stand, are extraordinary. Many people don’t realize, we have many staff
with visible and invisible disabilities. We have staff that were raised
by parents with disabilities. We have staff whose siblings, whose
sons and daughters have disabilities. We are our own melting pot of interests and
passion because of family experience, again, as Alex shared about her family
and I know from talking with Ari about how significant his
family was in his life. But can I ask the NDI staff to — that
are here, still in the room, to just stand and let’s express a round of applause for them. [ Applause ] I want to express a last thank you — I hope
not the last ever, but a last thank you today for the wonderful people from
JPMorgan Chase that made this possible. [ Applause ] I told Rodney — I think Rodney
had to leave, but I told Rodney, this will be the event, that’s a capital T-H-E. People will be talking about this event the
rest of the week and on into the weekend, the anniversary date, and next week, where
there are still more celebration events. And they’ll be talking about
this event next year and the year after because this is not just celebration,
this is about a declaration of intentions around economic equality and economic inclusion. Thank you for being with us
and have a great trip home. We will look forward to working
with you in the future. Take care. [ Applause ]

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