Every day for “Disability Pride Month” – I am committed to writing pieces that reflect the diversity, truths, and reality of our disabled community If you want to share your piece with me or be interviewed this month, I would love to share your voice! Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last night my dear friend and I were discussing apathy. I won’t go on about it (because I totally can), but it got me thinking. Sometimes people are apathetic because they’re not always exposed to why they should care. Apathy isn’t always a lack of caring per-say, but sometimes it’s just because people aren’t aware of how issues are affecting the world. When we talk about educating and the act of educating others, we don’t always realize that sometimes people don’t realize that their lack of exposure to issues is hurtful to people. It’s hurting a collective of people.
Sometimes apathy is because people don’t realize that we (the marginalized) need them to do something, too. I’m disabled and I advocate, but it’s a really beautiful feeling when able-bodied people do their fair share of remembering me.
I have people tell me, “I forget you’re in a chair!” I have people tell me, “You don’t strike me as a person with a disability.” I’m not sure what I should be striking people with. Do you think that people except me to strike them with bathroom grab bars potentially?
Sometimes apathy is forgetting that things matter because it affects people we love— or even that it affects people at all. That’s how it affects you, even if you’re not the person with a disability. Yes –even if you’re able-bodied and don’t experience life with any form of a disability. People with disabilities are people you love. They’re the people in your communities. They are people with feelings, thoughts, and are living lives. You know disabled people. They’re making art, they’re making love, and they’re making waves.
Maybe I am that one person with a disability you know. Maybe you’re reading this and thinking of another name. Maybe you are the mother, father, or sibling of someone with one. Maybe you’re not disabled and you’re reading this in hopes of trying to understand where your place is in becoming more aware and conscious. Either way, I assure you that disability affects all of us and we have to raise our voices
I’m not the only person with a disability in the United States — even if I am sometimes the only person that many meet with a disability or who uses a mobility aid like a wheelchair. Believe it or not, there’s 61 million people in the United States with a disability. [x]
SIXTY ONE MILLION PEOPLE RESIDE IN THE UNITED STATE WITH DISABILITIES! That’s people like me who use wheelchairs, those who have visual disabilities, hearing disabilities, and so many more. Something we also rarely talk about is that anyone at any age can become disabled. I was able-bodied and suddenly I was not. Disabled people represent multiple, races, sexualities and religions.
I am Dominique. I am a disabled woman. I live on the Eastern Shore. I have a neuromuscular disease. I ask you to learn from me, but also learn from my community. When we pause, we realize that things can get better. We can do better. I know we can.
Disability Pride Month happens once a year. Except my disability is something I live with year round. I challenge you to learn this July with me. Accessibility starts with YOU and listening!
Think about that man you saw in the handicapped parking spot. He could have an invisible disability. Think about lack access in your local city. Think about how out of the few disabled characters on television, they’re only played by a mere percent of 2% disabled actors/actresses vs. able-bodied actors/actresses portraying disabilities. [x] This is reality for me and others.
Let’s lean in and listen this month.
Let’s remember all the faces of Disability Pride for this July 2020.