2020 Newsletter: Year In Review

The Partnership logo: sun with four images within it: a hurricane and thunderstorm cloud, a home with a split down the middle and a tornado. The words "The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies" sit to the right of the sun. Below the logo is a graphic: four multi-colored pop-up comments with the text "Newsletter" overtop. Below the graphic is the text "2020: Year In Review".

We started 2020 with new leadership at The Partnership, while also building our organizational capacity, and responding to several disasters. Our biggest undertaking at the beginning of this past year was our response to Hurricane Dorian that hit the Bahamas in September 2019. As we completed our third deployment at the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 then hit the United States as the disastrous pandemic that we are still battling as we roll into 2021. 

Below are some key advocacy strategies, accomplishments, and events we were a part of this past year, and more - check it out and get involved!

We Started the Year Continuing Our Response to
Hurricane Dorian
January 2020
A home totally flattened by Hurricane Dorian, leaving only a toilet remaining, and debris scattered around.
A manual wheelchair footrest scattered among debris.
Two men in wheelchairs looking down at a part of the wheelchair. The man on the left is adjusting the wheelchair's footrest of the man on the right.
We Immediately Began Addressing COVID-19 as a Disaster


A busy time for our
Disability & Disaster Hotline
Our hotline provided information, referrals, guidance, technical assistance and resources to people with disabilities, their families, allies, organizations assisting disaster impacted individuals with disabilities and others seeking assistance with immediate and urgent disaster-related needs including COVID-19.
Graphic and multi-colored text with a white background. The graphic is of a hand using a cell phone with The Partnership's logo on the screen. The text reads: "Disabled, impacted by a disaster and need help? The Partnership's Disability and Disaster Hotline [(800) 626-4959] or info@disasterstrategies.org. #DisabLedDisasterRelief". The Partnership's logo sits in the bottom right of the image. The Partnership logo is a sun with four images with in it: a hurricane and thunderstorm cloud, a home with a split down the middle and a tornado.
Image of the Zoom logo, which is a blue filled circle that has a white outlined camera in the middle and the word "zoom" below the circle.
We began to organize!

We began meeting on February 28, 2020 to draft a National Disability Rights Call To Action. Spurring our ongoing Daily COVID-19 Disability Rights Calls.

MARCH 2020

Disability rights advocates across the country joined our call! 

On March 3, 2020, we released our National Disability Rights Call To Action which gained 183 organizations' support. 

Turquoise background with graphic: hand holding megaphone with white bubble coming from it with red text "Call To Action" in the center of the bubble and The Partnership sun logo below the text.

APRIL 2020

Black and white sketch image of a envelope with a letter sticking out.
We demanded media do a better job covering COVID-19's toll in nursing facilities. 

We sent an Open Letter to Rachel Maddow encouraging her and other media outlets covering the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing facilities to uncover the story behind the one they tell, and expose the institutional bias for what it is. A death trap. 

Stakeholders across the country told us about how COVID-19 impacted people in congregate facilities. 

From April 20th - May 1st, we conducted a survey for Centers for Independent Living, Protection and Advocacy agencies, advocates and organizations in order to obtain a national snapshot about disability advocacy and congregate settings during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Image shows outline of the top part of a clock with the time set at 11:57. In front of the clock shows a hand appearing to write with a light blue marker in light blue reads "It's Survey Time"
REAADI logo: image of a sun with the words "Real Emergency Access for Aging and Disability Inclusion" wrapped around inside the sun, and the words "REAADI for Disasters Act" in the center of the sun.
We provided tools to educate Congressional representatives.

We released a Dear Congress Template Letter for advocates to use as we got REAADI for Hurricane season. 

MAY 2020

Survey results: 

On May 19, 2020, we released the findings from our National Survey on Institutionalization in the Wake of COVID-19 

Text that reads: "National Survey Institutionalization in the Wake of COVID-19." The Partnership logo sits below the text next to an map of the United States. The map has each state defined and colored in either red or gray.

JUNE 2020

Advocacy to Attorneys General

We sent this letter to the Connecticut Attorney General and shared widely for advocates to use as a template tool for their Attorney General. Urging the immediate investigations of abuse and neglect in nursing facilities during the national public health emergency. 

Cartoon image of a magnifying glass hovering over a document.

Disaster & Racial Justice at Congress!

On June 19, 2020, The Partnership hosted a Juneteenth Congressional Briefing on Inequality and Disproportionate Impacts of COVID Response. Featuring and highlighting an all Black disabled women panel. 

JULY 2020

We demanded justice!
Split image with a diagonal yellow line separating the images. On the left, yellow text reads, "Man Dies After Denial Of COVID-19 Treatment." On the right, a picture of Michael Hickson, a black disabled man sitting up in his wheelchair, as he smiles at the camera. He is wearing a gray shirt and his tracheotomy appears around his neck.
Cartoon image of a megaphone with soundwaves.
We issued statements urging relocation & acknowledging the ADA anniversary:
  1. Relocate Congregate Facilities #SaveDisabledLivesNow
  2. 30th Anniversary of the ADA During a Pandemic
The Partnership's
COVID-19 Initiative Roll Out
in Washington! 

In July, we began our COVID-19 Community Resilience Initiative in Washington State providing inclusive emergency management and public health training modules to all four Centers for Independent Living in the state, the Statewide Independent Living Council, and other Washington state disability stakeholders.

Graphic: a solid green circle with the general shape of Washington State stamped in white in the middle.

We launched Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration with our global disabled persons organization (DPO) partners, ONG Inclusiva and WID

More about GADRA Here


Solid red circle with a white illustration of a report with graphs.
We released a report from our daily calls!

Failures in COVID-19 Response Harm People with Disabilities and Older Adults: A report from our ongoing Daily COVID-19 Disability Rights Calls between February 28 - July 31, 2020.


In September, we mourned the passing of 200,000 lives we lost from COVID-19 in the U.S. 

Here's our statement from September on Passing 200,000 COVID-19 Deaths.

Graphic: headstone with "R.I.P" in the center and blades of grass surround the headstone.
Graphic: green colored images of a first aid kit, flash light, battery, piggy-bank, and radio are above the black text "National Preparedness Month"

While we were in the midst of a devastating pandemic this past year, we sent a reminder that individual preparedness only goes so far in systems that are not designed with us or for us.

Here's our September 2020 National Preparedness Month Statement with important realistic reminders for people with disabilities and resources made by disabled people.


Our response work continued in the Bahamas! 

Through our collaboration with our close relief partners Openworld Relief and Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC), and a new relief partner we met along the way, Blue Window Logistics, we assisted with the facilitation and coordination to get Devon, a young disabled boy from Abaco, Bahamas who was impacted by Hurricane Dorian his first wheelchair. 

Read Devon's Journey to Independence After Hurricane Dorian Here

Devon, a young disabled black man, sits in in his first wheelchair, a manual chair with a blue frame. A woman relative stands nearby smiling.


Graphic: a solid green circle with the general shape of Washington State stamped in white in the middle.
In November, through our COVID-19 Community Resilience Initiative, we 
facilitated a Washington Statewide Conference "Planning Today for a Safer Tomorrow Disability in Emergency Preparedness"

See the Washington Coalition for Inclusive Emergency Planning (CIEP) newsletter in review of the conference. 

Our work with the Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration (GADRA) continued:

Our Executive Assistant, Priya Penner, led the November GADRA Disability + Disasters Panel: A Conversation with Young Leaders


Graphic: black and white outline of an open book. A hand points to a page.

Advocacy Achievements Led by The Partnership: 

  1. NCD Roundtable discussions from April-July 2020 that included inter-agency and disability-led stakeholders
  2. FEMA Public Assistance: Addendum - Delivering Personal Assistance Services in Congregate and Non-Congregate Sheltering 
  3. FEMA Individual Assistance: Crisis Counseling Program(s) full list by state

The Partnership had the great honor of being the recipient of the Twelvetide Drabbles Challenge of 2020! 

The Twelvetide Drabbles Challenge is a fourteen-day challenge FUNdraiser by creating works in response to daily prompts and submitting them to a collection hosted at the fanworks site Archive of Our Own

This year you all broke Twelvetide records with 17 Drabblers who collectively contributed 184 works, which had 31 fandoms, as well as original works that in total raised $1,472!

Many and sincere thank yous to all who contributed works, to our donors, and all who made this record breaking success possible!

Our deepest gratitude goes to Anna Clutterbuck-Cook for organizing this fantastic fundraiser and including The Partnership in this past year's Challenge!

Graphic: black and orange text reads, "The Drabble Challenge". A black and orange pen sits below the text.


This past year we not only faced a devastating pandemic, we also experienced and responded to several concurrent disasters.

  • 103 named storms occurred during 2020 around the globe.
  • The North Atlantic faced 30 named storms, 13 of which were named Hurricanes, and 6 out of those 13 being Major Hurricanes.
  • In the continental U.S., we faced 12 named storms that made landfall, 6 of which were named Hurricanes. 
  • There were 1,053 preliminary tornado reports in the U.S. throughout 2020.
  • 58,259 fires burned 10,274,679 U.S. acres. 
  • 15 earthquakes at 5.0 magnitude or larger were reported in the U.S. mainland
  • 4 earthquakes at 5.0 magnitude or larger were reported in U.S. territory, Puerto Rico
  • 2 earthquakes at 5.0 magnitude or larger were reported near U.S. territory, Guam
  • 56 earthquakes at 5.0 magnitude or larger were reported in Alaska

*From the National Centers for Environmental Information 
*From the United States Geological Survey


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Involvement Opportunities: 

Join a weekly National Stakeholder Call - Tuesdays at 3pm ET
Join a daily COVID-19 Disability Rights Call - any day of the week at 6pm ET
Contact us and learn more about the services we offer

Volunteer Opportunities: 
Submit a blog idea 
Be a Hotline operator 
Offer your subject matter expertise


Thank You for Your Support!

Infographic with two frames: Frame one Text: Including people with disabilities in disaster planning, response, and recovery is necessary to identify and address gaps in the disaster planning and recovery process. [Image: red arrow leads to Frame 2] Frame 2: Text: We don’t know all that 2021 will bring. But, we do know: The Partnership will keep fighting for the rights of people with disabilities in disasters. Thank you for your support! Image: The Partnership sun logo with inset icons representing hurricanes, storms, earthquakes, and tornadoes and text: The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies
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Do you shop on Amazon? 
Now you can support The Partnership with every purchase!

Use this AmazonSmile link to support The Partnership!

You can support The Partnership by creating your own fundraiser through Facebook!

Thank you to all who have dedicated Birthday fundraisers to The Partnership in 2020! 

Graphic: blue background with a donation box with the Facebook logo on front and a light colored hand depositing a coin in the box
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We at The Partnership are thankful for the community that unites alongside us. Thank you all for all you do for people with disabilities before, during and after disasters, public health emergencies, and crises.

Thank you for your continued support of The Partnership's vital work.

Onward to a New Year!

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