Letter to UTLA leadership regarding the situation within the Human Rights Committee

Subject:
disability rights within UTLA and the Human Rights Committee
From:
Emma Rosenthal <emmarosenthal@earthlink.net>
Date:
Thu, 24 Aug 2006 08:25:40 -0700
To:
Joshua Pechthalt <joshpecht@utla.net>, dgoldberg@utla.net, jwashington@utla.net, Andy Griggs <andyca6@aol.com>
CC:
utlapresident@utla.net, calkeypals@aol.com, nbauerbach@earthlink.net, E2flute1hd@aol.com, sososonia@aol.com, animalita@tmail.com, animalita@hotmail.com, Steve Seal <steveseal@msn.com>, Andy Griggs <andyca6@aol.com>, SLKnopp@att.net, gillianrusson@hotmail.com, davidrapkin@earthlink.net
BCC:
dmiles@utla.net
Dear activists,
As many of you know, there is a rather troubling conflict going on within the Human Rights Committee of UTLA, around the rights of disabled people to be allowed full accessibility and participation without being subjected to ridicule, humiliation, hostility and unhealthy working conditions.  Secondary to this is the sexist premises of decorum and the specific issues  of self advocacy and sexual harassment.   In order to obscure the larger political issue, the opponents of these rights are personalizing the issue around  my personality and my presentation of my disability, going so far as to accuse me of not really being disabled.  But to many members of the Committee, the issue is much bigger than personality issues.  Often deep and significant issues are brushed under the carpet by ascribing the larger politic to mere issues of personality, and yet even personalities can’t be divorced from the greater political and social constructs in which they operate.
It would appear that most of the Committee does not agree with this small but cohesive group of activists, but their behavior is impacting the overall work of the Committee and the ability of other activists, including myself,  to continue to contribute to the struggle for universal human rights and social justice.
After years of frustration with the impediments of disability, not only of the disability itself, but the constant  bigoted attitudes and humiliations I encounter daily, I started a blog titled “in bed with frida kahlo,” in homage to a wonderful artist, activist and fellow gimp woman.  On that blog I will be chronicling the more significant posts and communications in the dialogue occurring within the Human Rights Committee.  Regardless of where one falls on this issue, what will follow on the pages of my blog, in documenting the discussion from all of its facets, is a significant contribution to a greater understanding of the marginalization of people with disabilities, the underlying expectations of people with disabilities, especially women,  and the manifestation of disability discrimination.
I will be changing the names of many of the committee members.  a reflection of my belief that writers must be careful when telling anyone else’s story.  Michael Novick, Andy Griggs, Steve Seal and Linda Baughn have all been wonderfully supportive and with their permission,  I will be publishing their contributions to this dialogue with full attribution.
On the issue of governance, the UTLA constitution has not been updated in some time, so that along with other protective classes, the rights of the disabled are not guaranteed within the UTLA constitution.  This must be changed and updated.  It must also be explicit UTLA policy that no UTLA event ever be held in locations that are not accessible and that ridiculing the meager attempts of disabled activists for minor accommodations should be resoundingly condemned.
It is my belief that the emails alone document a campaign of disability and sexual discrimination and harassment and that a hostile working environment exists in which it is becoming increasingly more and more impossible for me to participate fully.   Also I hope that this issue can be addressed in house, and that governmental agencies that protect the rights of the disabled, along with all other classes, will not need to be involved in this process, but I am resolved to assert my rights, and the rights of all disabled people for full inclusion in this organization, free from ridicule and harassment.
I Will be posting a little bit each day, so as not to overwhelm my regular readers.  The entire dialogue, up to this point should be posted within a week.
To visit my blog, go to:
To see the articles and posts specific to this issue, including the introduction which i posted yesterday morning,  and andy griggs’ description of events at the retreat, go to:
Thank you,
Peace with justice,
Emma

Subject: disability rights within UTLA and the Human Rights Committee

From: Emma Rosenthal <emmarosenthal@earthlink.net>

Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2006 08:25:40 -0700

To: UTLA-AFT Vice President, Joshua Pechthalt,  UTLA Treasurer, David Goldberg  UTLA Vice President, Julie Washington, UTLA President. AJ Duffy

CC: Chairs of various committees, including the Human Rights Committee, The Capably Disabled Committee, The African American Education Committee, The Chicano Latino Education Committee, as well as three members of the ISO who are also within the leadership of UTLA

Dear activists,

As many of you know, there is a rather troubling conflict going on within the Human Rights Committee of UTLA, around the rights of disabled people to be allowed full accessibility and participation without being subjected to ridicule, humiliation, hostility and unhealthy working conditions.  Secondary to this is the sexist premises of decorum and the specific issues  of self advocacy and sexual harassment.   In order to obscure the larger political issue, the opponents of these rights are personalizing the issue around  my personality and my presentation of my disability, going so far as to accuse me of not really being disabled.  But to many members of the Committee, the issue is much bigger than personality issues.  Often deep and significant issues are brushed under the carpet by ascribing the larger politic to mere issues of personality, and yet even personalities can’t be divorced from the greater political and social constructs in which they operate.

It would appear that most of the Committee does not agree with this small but cohesive group of activists, but their behavior is impacting the overall work of the Committee and the ability of other activists, including myself,  to continue to contribute to the struggle for universal human rights and social justice.

After years of frustration with the impediments of disability, not only of the disability itself, but the constant  bigoted attitudes and humiliations I encounter daily, I started a blog titled “in bed with frida kahlo,” in homage to a wonderful artist, activist and fellow gimp woman.  On that blog I will be chronicling the more significant posts and communications in the dialogue occurring within the Human Rights Committee.  Regardless of where one falls on this issue, what will follow on the pages of my blog, in documenting the discussion from all of its facets, is a significant contribution to a greater understanding of the marginalization of people with disabilities, the underlying expectations of people with disabilities, especially women,  and the manifestation of disability discrimination.

I will be changing the names of many of the committee members.  a reflection of my belief that writers must be careful when telling anyone else’s story.  Michael Novick, Andy Griggs, Steve Seal and Linda Baughn have all been wonderfully supportive and with their permission,  I will be publishing their contributions to this dialogue with full attribution.

On the issue of governance, the UTLA constitution has not been updated in some time, so that along with other protective classes, the rights of the disabled are not guaranteed within the UTLA constitution.  This must be changed and updated.  It must also be explicit UTLA policy that no UTLA event ever be held in locations that are not accessible and that ridiculing the meager attempts of disabled activists for minor accommodations should be resoundingly condemned.

It is my belief that the emails alone document a campaign of disability and sexual discrimination and harassment and that a hostile working environment exists in which it is becoming increasingly more and more impossible for me to participate fully.   Also I hope that this issue can be addressed in house, and that governmental agencies that protect the rights of the disabled, along with all other classes, will not need to be involved in this process, but I am resolved to assert my rights, and the rights of all disabled people for full inclusion in this organization, free from ridicule and harassment.

I Will be posting a little bit each day, so as not to overwhelm my regular readers.  The entire dialogue, up to this point should be posted within a week.

To visit my blog, go to:

https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/

To see the articles and posts specific to this issue, including the introduction which i posted yesterday morning,  and andy griggs’ description of events at the retreat, go to:

https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/category/utla-human-rights-committee/page/4/

Thank you,

Peace with justice,

Emma Rosenthal

 

NOTE:  No one in UTLA leadership responded to this letter.

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One response to “Letter to UTLA leadership regarding the situation within the Human Rights Committee

  1. Pingback: UPDATED BLOG ENTRIES: Anatomy of a Blacklist « In Bed With Frida Kahlo

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