If activism supports abelism, it is oppression. By: Jeysalin Williams

Urged by others within the D/deaf and hard of hearing community to submit this, and I can certainly see why…

I admire and respect Saturday’s support between friends, family, and complete strangers.

Unfortunately, I’ve also never been made more aware of the erasure of disability.

These fundamental civil rights for women should really be among the forefront of these kinds of protests… Yet, were only mentioned cursorily on various platforms, if at all. One friend mentioned that if she had a dollar for every sign she’d seen that excluded disabled women, she could pay her health insurance costs up front! (Please note that this topic doesn’t pertain to each & every marcher)

Now, this could be for a lot of reasons.

Many underestimate the need for and importance of disability rights / justice.

Folks sort of assume that disabled humans get largely adequate treatment (especially from the gov’t), are fine, and there’s no real reason to fight for more.

There’s also the problem of disability representation in entertainment media, which is where many folks get erroneous ideas about it.

Perhaps spending some time with disabled friends (if you have any) is a nuisance…always focusing on accessibility and inclusion is a nuisance. To that backlash I’ve witnessed, all I can really say is: good luck when your time comes, because it will. Continue being relentless, but make sure disabled ppl are an integral part of the plan and design for these events.
If intersectionality is the goal, treating accessibility as an afterthought is telling.

If your space isn’t workable, don’t hold your event there. I myself am quite hard-of-hearing from a traumatic brain injury. Practice inclusion in totality by hiring an ASL interpreter to remain throughout the movement, and/or consider CART services.
If you consider yourself an activist with concerns rooted in social justice: how are you centering disability issues in your work? Don’t be afraid to ask and listen.


Written by Jeysalin Williams and shared on Sweet Lemon Pies with permission of author. 

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