There’s a saying often used by disability rights advocates to stress the importance of having disabled people at the table making decisions that will affect their lives: “Nothing about us without us.”
That idea is what set one candidate apart in the 2020 presidential race, some of those advocates said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren suspended her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination last week after disappointing performances in several primaries and a crushing loss in her home state of Massachusetts. But the way she crafted her disability plan will be a model for the future, according to the people who helped her build it.
“Her plan was a blueprint,” said Vilissa Thompson, a social worker and founder of disability advocacy blog Ramp Your Voice and who consulted on Warren's disability team.
The disability section of Biden's website only briefly summarizes how his other plans would impact disabled Americans. That's a problem for Thompson.
"At this stage of the game, we see what can happen when candidates do center disabled people and our issues and allow that to be not only the blueprint but the standard going forward," she said.
In her parting words to her staff, Warren highlighted her plan as a potential game-changer when it comes to crafting disability platforms.
"We have shown that we can build plans in collaboration with the people who are most affected. You know just one example: Our disability plan is a model for our country, and, even more importantly, the way we relied on the disability communities to help us get it right will be a more important model," Warren said in a phone call to her staff when she announced she was leaving the race.