HomeHealthUntil We’re All Free: Disability Justice in Today’s Activism
Until We’re All Free: Disability Justice in Today’s Activism
September 22, 2020
The disability justice movement is nothing new, but it’s taken on a new meaning in the current era of pandemics and protests. Here’s the latest.
Consider this: you are a wheelchair user, and you’re trying to get to your doctor’s appointment. You can’t drive yourself there, so you’re taking public transit. However, when you try to get to the bus, you realize that there aren’t any accessible ways for you to get your wheelchair on board. Worse still, there aren’t any ramps to get you to the bus stop.
How are you supposed to cope in a world that doesn’t feel like it’s built with you in mind?
Disability justice works to give equity to people of all ability levels so that we can truly become equal. Here is a guide to disability justice and what you can do to help the cause.
What Is Disability Justice and Why Is It Important?
Disability justice is a constantly changing activist group dedicated to bringing awareness and fairness to people with disabilities. Whether it’s helping to build ramps to make buildings accessible or to encourage schools and businesses to hire sign language interpreters for their buildings, these activists fight so that everyone can have access to fulfilling lives.
As you may have realized in the introductory paragraph, living with a disability can make you feel alone, unheard, and unseen. Going about your daily life can be near impossible when you don’t have proper access to the world around you.
Even the items needed to get around with a disability can be horribly uncomfortable and even painful at times. This is why a wheelchair cushion and similar items exist- in order to provide at least some comfort to their users.
That’s why activism is crucial in today’s society. Disability justice is key for getting people to access things that non-disabled people take for granted.
While there are laws in place that make it illegal to purposefully target individuals with disabilities, it doesn’t change our ableist society. In order to give people the rights they deserve, we need to make the world around us more accessible. Until then, disability justice and activism will remain.
Disability Activists, You Should Know
There are many activists within the disability justice movement, many of whom have disabilities themselves. They all do their part to make the world more accessible for others like them. Here are a few names that you should know about from the disability justice community.
Cameron started off her activism as a volunteer but now finds herself working as a public transit agent. She has made it her personal goal to make public transit more accessible to people with disabilities.
Outside of her regular career, she continues to work with grassroots activism campaigns that use nonviolent direct action to bring awareness and change for disabled individuals. She actively attends protests to represent disability justice and has become a major spokesperson among the community.
David M. Perry
Perry is a well-known journalist from Minnesota who works to educate others on Down Syndrome and other disabilities in his free time. As the father of a child with Down Syndrome, he is able to give a unique and personal perspective on disability studies.
Wong is a major name in disability activism, as she has helped to give a voice to those wanting to share their stories. She founded and continues to run the Disability Visibility Project, an online forum and archive where others can share disability-related media. Whether it’s personal experiences or issues that people with disabilities face, Wong has made it a priority to get the word out about disability justice and spreading concerns.
Wong has also shared her own experiences as someone with disabilities. She has written many articles on the subject and even has her own podcast that helps to encourage those with disabilities.
Dr. Victor Pineda
Dr. Pineda was diagnosed with spinal muscular dystrophy at a young age and has spent the majority of his life educating others about different disabilities. He studies society’s approach to disability, in particular, focusing on how our society as a whole views people with disabilities.
He has worked with over 500 companies and organizations to develop disability-friendly policies, as well as to create inclusive and accessible spaces for everyone.
Shaban is an actor who co-founded a theatre designed specifically for performers with disabilities. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Surrey in 1997 for his work promoting the Disability Arts.
His theatre continues to come up with new plays to this day and is known for its high-quality performances and skilled actors.
Stevens is an outspoken activist who has created a company called Enable Enterprises where he works with other people with disabilities. He is a consultant, advocate, and trainer for others, helping people. Gain the independence that they may not have been able to get otherwise.
He has worked with many different organizations over the past to spread knowledge and awareness for his cause.
What You Can Do to Help
Many activists take on large roles in the community, so what can you do to help? How can you make yourself a part of disability justice and activism today?
There are many ways that you can make a difference in your community. Spread awareness through articles, pamphlets, and social media posts, and donate to causes that help people with disabilities. Make sure you do plenty of research so that you know the money is going to a good cause!
Attending nonviolent protests and meetings relating to disability justice is another great way you can help. Stay educated on news that could affect people with disabilities and make yourself aware.
Of course, the most important thing you can do is listen to people with disabilities around you. Their experiences, thoughts, and lives are important, so follow their lead when it comes to helping their community!
Freedom and Liberty for All
Disability justice is important in today’s modern world. We need activists who can speak up for the community and spread awareness about the issues people with disabilities face. In order to create an accessible world, we need to understand what we are doing wrong.
What have you learned about disability justice, and what are you going to do to help?
We’d love to hear your thoughts! Be sure to leave a comment down below, and continue reading our blog for more useful information.