Messenger e-Newsletter


April 21, 2020

Everyone is responding to the coronavirus crisis. We hope you're ok, whatever that response is like for you. Here's what CTD's doing.

11 people, many with assistive devices and or visible disabilities, gather for a group photo.

The week before we closed our doors, we hosted a hands-on voting technology testing session with our partners Hart Intercivic and a group of local voters with disabilities.

Jolene smiles from under the CTD front door signage.

Earlier this year, we welcomed Jolene Sanders to our staff as Advocacy Director. She didn't miss a beat in working to ensure that public school students with disabilities are not left behind as classrooms and services go online.

Screenshot of a Zoom meeting with about 12 people, a range of expressions on their faces.

Not a bad turnout for our first VIRTUAL Lion & Pirate Open Mic with Art Spark Texas, which we held over Zoom earlier this month.

Like many of our nonprofit partners and friends, CTD is no stranger to the ground shifting quickly under our feet. In the last few weeks, we are not only readjusting to new ways of working, but also setting new expectations about what our work looks like.

All of our staff has been working remotely, and remains available through email, phone, fax, and social media channels. In particular, our CDS Division had dozens of moving parts to discuss and coordinate, which we successfully implemented in less than a 24-hour time frame. We are proud to report that there has been no interruption in services to our CDS consumers.

At the onset of 2020, CTD staff was looking forward to many events, from our arts programming to preparations for the 2021 legislative session to collaborations with state and national partners.

Members and friends, we are still looking forward to connecting with you. We will be adapting our arts and legislative events to virtual spaces, and we are actually excited to try out some new things and connect with members near and far:

  • We've tried out our Lion & Pirate open mic series on Zoom and are looking forward to the next one on May 3!
  • We've re-envisioned our participation in the annual ADAPT FUN*RUN, where each runner will be running their own solo route to raise money for disability rights.
  • Details are in the works right now to move our Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival and Raise Your Voice! advocacy roundtables totally or partially online.

What hasn’t changed is our commitment to our core values of ensuring consumer direction and choice, facilitating the many forms of grassroots advocacy and self-advocacy, and promoting the full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of life.

What also hasn’t changed is the critical need for disability advocacy. In fact, it may be more important now than ever. Decisions at the federal level are happening quickly, and it is because of the rapid and robust response of disability groups around the country that our community’s interests are represented at all in those decisions.

While the 2021 Legislature seems like a ways off, we should leverage the opportunities of the current moment to ensure that, at the state level, our efforts are organized and our voices are heard.

In this time of uncertainty, CTD first and foremost sends our well wishes to you and yours. We invite you to recommit—as we have—to our mission of building a society where every Texan with a disability can work, live, learn, play, and participate fully in the communities of their choice.

2020 Elections, REV UP logo (Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power). A red pen fills out a Texas Voter Registration card.

2020 Elections

There are so many critical things to pay attention to right now. Federal legislation, CDC updates, just the daily news! All of it's important. Another item we don't want to lose sight of is the 2020 elections.

It's unclear right now whether the polls will be open for in-person voting by this summer. We've also been reading about efforts to expand eligibility for mail-in ballots to all Texans—and efforts to oppose this. CTD is monitoring these items and will keep you posted.

In the meantime, we encourage you to contact your local, state, and federal representatives with your concerns. Legislation is developing very quickly to respond to the coronavirus crisis, and people with disabilities and their supporters have a lot at stake. We're following the Center for Public Representation and The Arc of the US for federal-level action alerts.

Next, if you haven't already, note the following new dates for the 2020 election:

  • Monday, June 15: New Voter Registration Deadline
  • Friday, July 3: New Mail-In Ballot Application Deadline
  • Monday - Friday July 6 - 10: New Early Voting (note, 5 days only)
  • Tuesday, July 14: New Election Day and Mail-In Ballot Return Deadline (7pm CST). This includes the May Primary Run-offs and Kirk Watson special election.
  • The November 2020 election will now also include local run-offs (that were to be held in early May).

NOTE: If you vote by mail, make sure the signatures on your Ballot by Mail Application and ballot match as closely as possible. Otherwise, your vote may be thrown out.

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Coming up at CTD

FUN RUN logo, sneakers in motion encircled by a wheelchair wheel.

CTD is running the ADAPT FUN*RUN—solo!

The ADAPT FUN*RUN for Disability Rights won't be taking place at the Yellowjacket Stadium this year. But we're still going the distance—while keeping our distance! April 25, follow along on social media as CTD staff and members run their own solo routes around Austin to raise funds for disability rights!

Bronze lion statue wears a red pirate head scarf and eye patch.

Lion & Pirate Inclusive Open Mic goes virtual!

We've been hosting this event for the past five years with Art Spark Texas at local book seller Malvern Books. After it became clear that #PandemicLife was here to stay, we moved our monthly performance gathering to a virtual space. We're planning our second go round for May 3, join us!

Blue handiman icon with green video camera to its eye leans forward in wheelchair, shaped like a C.

CTDFF 2020 is on!

We're not going to try and guess whether things will be back to normal by Fest time in October. So we're planning for BOTH an in-person AND virtual event! Details are in the works, so stay tuned. Get the latest at, and don't forget, the Short Film Competition is currently taking submissions!


CTD thanks our 2020 sponsors


DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Excellence
GSK GlaxoSmithKline
Superior Healthplan

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