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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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?

 

Back to school

It’s the beginning of September—families are pulling together the binders, backpacks and pencils their children will need to go back to school. At the same time, students with disabilities and their parents will be celebrating two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that will be incredibly helpful in advancing the rights of the disabled in the classroom.

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Ehlena Fry and her service doggie Wonder

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“Would you like a Coke with that accessibility?”

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Cases before the Supreme Court often result in widespread changes to our society. Issues such as school segregation, abortion and the right to bear arms have all been the subject of famous landmark decisions. But whether the case is well known or obscure, all Supreme Court decisions have one thing in common — they started because an actual person had a specific problem they wanted solved by the courts.

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25 Reasons To Celebrate The 25th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act

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25. Lifts on all Centro buses make it possible for passengers with disabilities to take public transit. (scroll to pages 6 and 7)

24. Closed caption glasses at Regal Cinemas allow deaf movie goers to enjoy watching movies in theaters.

23. Newly constructed buildings open to the public must be made accessible and the existing public spaces are required to be retrofitted for access where possible.

Continue reading “25 Reasons To Celebrate The 25th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act”

Owning My Disability

“I am a person with a disability.” I believe that this is the first time I have ever written this sentence. I just finished a post explaining the Americans with Disabilities Act–and realized that it was littered with personal possessives: “we” “our people” “us” “our.” I have been organizing for disability rights for a little less than a year and I was worried some might feel I was inappropriately identifying myself with others in the disability rights movement. I am not trying to appropriate another’s culture. I not only organize for disability rights, I am disabled and benefit from increased rights for people with disabilities. Continue reading “Owning My Disability”