Nothing About Us, Without Us–Even If We’re the Victim Of A Purge

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The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute was a terrible setback to people with disabilities and our efforts to make sure that the disability community’s right to vote is protected. The Supreme Court’s support for the state of Ohio’s method of purging voters from its rolls hurts many minority, low income and marginalized communities in Ohio—and threatens the ability of people to exercise their right to vote throughout our country.

The Supreme Court upheld Ohio’s program of purging voters from its rolls if they haven’t voted in two consecutive elections and then do not respond to an inquiry postcard about their residence status.

Continue reading “Nothing About Us, Without Us–Even If We’re the Victim Of A Purge”

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Fortune Cookie Wisdom

OK, they may be little more than bite-sized nuggets of pop philosophy.  The market may be dominated by a single company from Long Island–whose owner writes all the fortunes. Nonetheless, I believe in fortune cookie wisdom!

I used to love trying to pronounce the “Learn Chinese” phonetic word on the back–until the fortunes I get (because I almost always go to the same restaurant) decided to put an ad for additional fortunes on the back. I don’t play the lottery–but I loved the fact that the Powerball Lottery investigated what they thought was fraud a few years ago, only to discover that a whole bunch of people got the same fortune cookie with the same lucky numbers on the back–and they all played them in the same order!

I believe so strongly in fortune cookie wisdom for a single fortune I received many years ago. I first met my wife when we both worked in the same insurance company office–and in fact, sat at adjacent desks. Friendly colleague banter led to stronger feelings on my part–but I was hesitant to be more forward.  Then I got the following fortune cookie:

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This led to our first date–and the rest is history. Fortune cookie wisdom, indeed.

 

 

Recuperation

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So, at my follow up appointment for my surgery, my doctor confirmed that I had been harboring renal cell carcinoma in a growth located on top of my left kidney. The solid mass growth was removed surgically and was caught early enough that the cancer had not spread to any of the kidney itself.

It is the best possible outcome for this surgery. The cancer was contained and excised. Yearly scans of the area is the extent of my follow up treatment. The hard part of all this has been recovering from the trauma of being sliced open. Like the truck above, my life has been flipped upside down.

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I Think It’s Going To Work Out Fine

 

One of the best things about growing older is the sense of acceptance that you (hopefully) grow into. The concept of “don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff” makes a whole lot more sense to me in my fifties than it did in my twenties.

Yes, I’m still anxious a lot of the time and get upset, but it has become more of a habit to fume for a bit and then move on. I don’t have to hang around to be on the post-game show, complete with the endless replays and the requisite self-recriminations. I’m beginning to gain perspective.

My newfound sense of acceptance has also brought me an additional benefit. By acknowledging that my lymphedema and tendency to form blood clots are disabilities, I have been given the great privilege of becoming an active member of the disability rights movement. I am no longer a hired-gun organizer looking in from the outside, nor do I have to intellectualize my commitment to social change. I am working with my peers to improve our lives.

Unfortunately, I have recently learned that I am a bit more embedded in the disability community than I originally thought. You can now add cancer patient to my resume.

I buried the lede a bit because it’s not like I’m in mortal danger. Half the people my age develop growths, mine is attached to my kidney. Eighty percent of these types of growths are mainly liquid and require nothing more than occasional monitoring of their size. I am in the other twenty percent category–a solid mass that more than likely is cancerous and must be removed surgically. During the procedure, called a partial renal nephrectomy, They also take away a portion of the kidney where the growth was attached.

Once this is done–currently scheduled for April–I will be fine. Yeah, I’m a bit freaked out by the whole deal, but the bottom line is that I will be fine.

BTW: isn’t Solid Mass a great rock band name?

 

On Conflict

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“The organizer’s job is not to create conflict, but to expose the conflict that already exists. Conflict exists any time a landlord fails to maintain his property but collects rent, any place where children pass a drug house on the way to school and on and on. When this conflict is exposed it creates a new situation, because it requires that the parties in conflict sit down to figure out a way to resolve the problem. The old rules don’t apply anymore. When conflict isn’t exposed, those in power continue their behavior. They are comfortable and no one’s complaining, so they keep treating the rest of us like crap.”

–Shel Trapp

“Dynamics of Organizing: Building Power by Developing the Human Spirit”

“Still The One” Took My Breath Away

 

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Mary Ann Zeppetello, longtime CNY activist who asked the question “when are we going to recognize those women activists older than dirt?” that led to this exhibition.

Saturday was opening night of the exhibit entitled “Still The One” by the photographer Douglas Lloyd at ArtRage Gallery, and it was standing room only.  At least 200 folks jammed into the one big room of the gallery, noshing on pastry and finger foods, sipping wine and chatting while looking at the pictures and mingling with many of the subjects of the photos.

I am not generally a patron of the fine arts. However, this exhibit was special– a tribute to the activism and life work of twenty-six women, all over the age of 80. These women define exactly what it means to have commitment, dedication and love for our community and its people.

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