Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The U.S. Government Gut Disability Rights the Other Day

[TRIGGER WARNING: ABLEISM, MENTION OF MASS SHOOTING]

Did you know. That disabled people are some of the most badass people. We never talk about the massive protests that went on in D.C. as they fought for the Americans with Disabilities Act. What's also weird is that if you google "ADA protests," you get a ton of black and white photos. This shit happened in 1989 and 1990. It's not ancient history. And they passed a HUGE landmark piece of legislation that overhauled how disabled people are treated by the government.

And yet we aren't taught about it in schools. And the photos are all in black and white like it happened too long ago to care.

Disabled people then and now are setting an example we should all be following when it comes to protesting. They are going into the White House in wheelchairs, forcing police to literally carry them out while they continue to shout in protest. In 1990, they crawled up the steps of the Capital. They do NOT FUCK AROUND.

On Thursday, as the country reeled from yet another mass school shooting, Congress passed amendments to the ADA that removed essential incentives for businesses to comply with the law. They actually pushed back a moment of silence for the 17 dead children in Parkland, Florida to do this.

If it hadn't yet occurred to you, may I point out the irony of brushing off disabled people who say they're unable to work and telling them they're just lazy while at the same time making it more difficult for them to work.

But don't just listen to my able-bodied typings about it. Read about it from a disabled person:

Gutting the Americans with Disabilities Act

The bill would effectively gut the ADA, detractors argue. Without a fear of being sued, businesses might be inclined to ignore ADA compliance rules. Critics of the bill also believe people with disabilities should not bear the responsibility of making sure businesses are compliant with the law. 
"Instead of expecting businesses to own the responsibility of complying with civil rights laws, it shifts the burden to the individual who is being denied access," the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote in a letter to congressional representatives on Thursday. 
Disability activist were forcibly removed from the house Thursday when they disrupted the meeting and vote from the gallery. Severely handicapped folks were arrested for standing up for what they believe.

I need this guy to know that being disabled doesn't make him "biased" on the issue. Or if it does, it's just a different kind of biased than us able-bodied people have because no one is unbiased about anything. What it definitely does make him is an EXPERT on the issue. And we need his voice. We need to listen to him on this issue way more than some able-bodied politician who has no clue what it's like to try and navigate a world made for the able-bodied as a disabled person.

And he's right. We need to unite and fight against this. ALL of us who are being further oppressed by this administration and their attack on the poor, on women, on people of color, on immigrants, on LGBT+ people, etc. We need to be fighting this on all fronts, at every issue. It might be exhausting, but every time they attack one of us, we become weaker as a whole.

We need to stop ignoring disability issues.

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