The bare minimum

The culture of immediacy and disability pride

This week, 3x gold medalist, Becca Meyers, was forced to drop out of the Paralympics because the USOPC couldn’t figure out how to provide her with reasonable accommodations. But “reasonable accommodations" are the bare minimum, showing us that there is still a LONG way to go towards building an inclusive world where everyone feels welcome.

Disability Pride Month is an invitation for disabled people to celebrate who we are and demand better for ourselves and one another. At least 25% of American adults have a condition that is considered a disability, yet only a fraction of them identify as disabled. When we come out and show up as our full selves we see more clearly how our struggles are connected. From there, we can work together to root out ableism and create the conditions where everyone has what they need to thrive on their terms.

Kerri (she/her)

Art by @niyaesperanza

  1. We must understand that we are more than our jobs, more than the roles capitalism has assigned us. Time is a colonial construct — here’s how we reclaim ours. [click to tweet]

  2. It’s not just history — reproductive coercion by the government and criminal justice system is an ongoing reality. Reproductive and disability justice demands abolition. [click to tweet]

  3. We are not stuck between binary alternatives of slightly free and the false promises of a piece of freedom”. Nikole Hannah-Jones refused, and we can too. [click to tweet]

  4. When one type of woman is idolized, diverse women are “othered”. White Women Shouldn’t Be Our Standard Of Beauty. [click to tweet]

  5. White people need to do more, because right now they are doing less and once again placing the primary burden on Black and other people of color to fix racism. Beyond allies and accomplices to concrete plans. [click to tweet]

Why do we need Disability Pride Month? Because ableism still exists in our culture and systems, making it difficult for disabled or differently abled people to thrive on their own terms. Here’s how you can show up:

REFRAME: A social model for disability is the recognition that disability is caused not by the individual but by the way society is organized (read that again). This model seeks to promote independence for disabled people by removing barriers that restrict life choices. Check out Beautiful Trouble’s toolbox on how to take creative action.

LEARN: Disabled people of color, queer, trans, and gender nonconforming people, including Patty Berne, Stacey Milbern, Eli Clare, Sebastian Margaret, Mia Mingus, and many others have documented the history of ableism in the U.S. as well as the work and limitations of the disability rights movement, and developed critical resources toward a disability justice framework. The videos in the series “No Body Is Disposable” offer snapshots of this framework and tools for activists, educators, and students to bring to their communities.

ACT: It’s been 31 years since Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. The legislation would not have happened were it not for the “Capitol Crawl”, a direct action where dozens of these protestors at the Capitol abandoned their mobility aids and began to climb, crawl, and edge up the steps to the top of the west Capitol entrance on the National Mall. But we have a long way to go. Tell congress to pass the Disability Integration Act and ensure that all people with disabilities can live in freedom.

FOLLOW: Follow the people who know including @leahlakshmiwrites @eli.clare.71 @diversability @sinsinvalid @crutches_and_spice @mia.mingus

Art by Disability Together

The Deaf Queer Resource center encourages us to “take some time this month to learn about the many different ways ableism is deeply ingrained and normalized within our communities and cultures”. Expecting immediate responses, actions and/or results from people is a form of ablism and is one of the things that fuels this toxic culture that we live in. It’s also the reason so many of us burn out. It’s essential to be mindful that not all of us have the privilege of being sighted and hearing and abled bodied, which means we don’t all have the same amount or quality of time to work with. Dismantling ableism calls us to deconstruct our relationship with time and the immediacy and productivity that an ableist dominant culture demands. If someone chooses to give their time to you, treat it like the gift that it is.

Art and wisdom by deafqueer.org

Self care = We care.


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