I CAN’T BE PART OF A MOVEMENT IF I CAN’T GET MY WHEEL IN THE DOOR

Today I reached my final straw with the L.A. Left.  After a bitter fb page exchange, and a nasty set of emails from a woman I never met before, I posted the following statement on my fb wall.  The offending fb exchange that precipitated this, follows, but, because at this point it doesn’t matter, i’ve obscured the identity of the offenders with fictitious initials and obscured the actual event.  It is important to know that the person identified as J.H (not his real initials) has been part of an ongoing dialogue on the issue of dis-ability inclusion, within the L.A. BDS movement. J.H.  just this week scheduled a meeting in an inaccessible venue, and apologized only to post this event a few days later.  Also affiliated with the BDS movement in L.A. was another event scheduled for this weekend, both failed to address this issue. This other event’s organizers, having had a difficult, but what I thought and what I acknowledged at the time, productive exchange, decided not only to have an inaccessible event, but to invite both other members of my household and not me.    To fight against separation while maintaining the privilege to separate, is an outrage. No wonder these offended egos go on the attack.

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Emma Rosenthal: I CAN’T BE PART OF A MOVEMENT IF I CAN’T GET MY WHEEL IN THE DOOR, When almost every inquiry and assertion is brutally attacked. when “security” at a (yesterday’s) demonstration knocks over pwds in “revolutionary” zeal to chase out a racist. when pithy promises of future access are broken and replaced with hollow excuses and bitter resentment, there’s no way i can be available to the struggle. i’m gonna do the next few scheduled readings, then i’m gonna disappear forever. if that’s good news, well then we know which side you’re on. if that’s bad news, please don’t patronize me with platitudes or admonitions. instead, step up on this issue and demand that there be at least a few safe spaces for activists with dis-abilities within the movement. refuse to participate in events that don’t include. work with andy, if he decides to continue with this, to develop a community protocol and to create community resources. do the same deep reading on this issue of community inclusion as a dedicated activist must do on all issues. there is no excuse. this isn’t a separate issue or a another cause, while you focus on what is “really” important. we are everyone– we are lgbti, we are women in hijab, we are people of color, we are (usually unemployed or wageless) workers, we are students, we are women, we are indigenous. there is no community you can build and still exclude us! i’ve asked other radical pwds what they’ve done. they tell me they just gave up on the left, too. it can’t just be my issue. how can we build a community of social justice based on a foundation (and up a flight of stairs) of exclusion?

the outrageous attacks, bitter stares, sabotage, character assassination, sexism, blacklisting, hate speech, ridicule, the bizarre nexus of dis-ability and gender expectations that demand passive placating, the lies, the jokes, the double standards, the false promises that the next event will address this crucial issue…

i’m done! i’m really really done!

https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/guide-to-accessible-event-planning/

please don’t respond to this post. i will be closing down this fb page in a few days, or paring it down to a few close friends, and pursuing a much more private life. i will continue my blogs, so people i am not so close to, you can find me there. this has been overwhelming painful. if you haven’t read it already, please check out the anatomy of a blacklist, and i also recommend the rest of the “in bed with frida kahlo” blog for greater dis-ability awareness.

https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/anatomy-of-a-blacklist-a-thread-on-two-blogs/

i will be posting the most recent series of events to the blog, obscuring the names of the offenders. they can post their pithy justifications on my blog if they want to stand publicly by their words. special thanks to michael novick and my andy, for one more time, coming to my rescue.

andy posted:

With the exception of a handful of people, what Emma says above is true–we have faced attacks, rejection, blacklisting, ignoring offers to assist and work together, loss of jobs…

each time it occurs the harder it is to keep up the struggle! WE need a cadre of people to join in this dialogue, to participate in planning and cooperative work to educate and support all of us – because a space or event accessible to PWDs is better for all of the community!

https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/call-out-on-dis-ability-access-in-the-left/

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=361031147521&id=1081303180&ref=mf

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The Final Straw (the event announced on fb and the ensuing thread of comments):

J.H. Hey folks, 

J.H. and the ____________ are inviting you to the next fabulous party by the ______________ on June 5th. It’s a fundraiser supporting folks traveling to Detroit in June to do movement work at the Allied Media Conference, the U.S. Social Forum, and the Jewish anti-apartheid gathering. The majority …

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J.H. Hey all, really hope folks can make it out to this fundraiser.

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J.H. oh yeah, its this Saturday night. We’ll have a keg.

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Emma Rosenthal is this event dis-ability accessible and affirmative?

https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/guide-to-accessible-event-planning/

i recommend the following advisory (pending the necessary actions and planning to back it up), for all events. In the invitation you mention that the event  is queer affirmative. dis-ability affirmative, takes more planning because the discrimination is ubiquitous in building structures and attitudes, even among human rights activists.

“this event is wheelchair accessible and dis-ability affirmative. if you need additional accommodations please contact us 72 hours prior to the event.”

(and then be ready to provide sign language interpretation and other accommodations as needed.)

if it is not accessible, it would also be appropriate to say so, saving pwds (people with disabilities) the necessity of having to call to ask if we are welcome or wanted at an event. (can you imagine any other marginalized group having to call to say, for example,”i’m (insert your prime identity here). is it possible for me to attend your event?)

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J.H. No, unfortunately. The main area for the party, the backyard, is but the bathroom is in the house which has 3 stairs up to it. And to be clear, I’m the organizer of the event, no ill will should be directed at INCITE! because of this, I’m raising money for them, its not an INCITE! organized event, I just got the go ahead to do it from them.

Don’t know what to do. There is no staff for this event as described in the link. Since its just me, I don’t think that I could be making sure everything is good with the party and play the role of accessibility coordinator legitimately. I certainly could not afford to pay a ASL interpreter to be there, having no idea how much we’re going to make.

The link seems to be talking about events supported by an organization with money and staff. Is there a suggestion for how to handle something like this that’s very small scale and done with very little money if you don’t have a hookup with an accessible space? Originally I was going to have folks over to my house  which is much less accessible (60 stairs from the street). In the future, do you think that if there is no ability to have an event like this be accessible, that it would be better not to do it at all or to do it and apologize in the announcement that do to financial constraints the event is not going to be accessible?

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Emma Rosenthal well, take out disability, and ask yourself, would it be okay to have an event that (especially if most events) excluded women, people of color, immigrants lgbti? what makes this exclusion or the difficulties it entails to build bridges, acceptable? in planning events, we (andy and i)  have decided not to have inaccessible events, and we find ways to make them accessible. it’s just something that has to be done.

do you feel so immune to injury that you cannot see yourself part of this group someday? do you think that your contributions would have such limited value after becoming a fallen activist, that you would passively and silently accept a diminished role and the constant exclusion of the movement you spent a lifetime building? do you think we can build a movement when an entire sector of our society is treated as disposable and unessential? do you expect people of a marginalized group, when presented with the obstacles to our participation to simply say, to questions that you raise “yes i understand. i won’t participate in the struggle. i’ll stay home. i won’t make noise?”

would you ask this of any other marginalized group?

you note that the event is queer affirmative. if the only location of an event were a church that, aside from homophobia had a “good” politic, provided free space, and there was no other space, would it be acceptable to assert that the event, this event, given the shortage of funds, just this one time, not to be repeated until the next time, be not so gay friendly– “please dress accordingly and in the gender you were originally assigned by god as determined by our host.”

it is one thing to be unaware– but once there is awareness, excuses are simply that!

andy and i have put a call out to the left to find collective ways to contend with the “unique” issues presented in breaking down the (literal) barriers of exclusion, and with a few exceptions, have been met with the same (white) liberal guilt ridden excuses as any other emerging movement, followed by hostile resentment that we continue to assert the right of people with dis-abilities to be fully included in ANY AND ALL movements for social justice.

we have also offered our home, which we have gone to great effort and expense to make accessible beyond our own needs, in the interest of visitability (that my friend, comrades, fallen activists with dis-abilities could visit!) and as a means of community organizing. no one to date has, while providing excuses and excuses, taken us up on this offer either.

our repeated demands and sincere offers are greeted with rolled eyes, hollow excuses, future promises, hostile indifference, ridicule, blacklisting.(and the occasional feel good story about some hero gimp who never complains, provides freak show entertainment and either pity or inspiration for pwods-people without dis-abilities.– that seems to be our only role in society.)

i have asked other radical gimps what they have done. they tell me they just gave up. they limit their activism to writing, board meetings if they can get asked to serve. it’s just too painful, and the l.a. left just doesn’t care. (in fact we are more often targets of ridicule!)

i suppose one of these days i too will learn my place and fade into the background. though i doubt it. i’ve spent too much of my life fighting for human rights.

Emma Rosenthal we have also offered to provide consultations on access, and to be a resource to the community free of charge (which is the expectation of cripples, that we work for free!) we do accept tax deductible donations, but don’t require it. we are more interested in developing systems of mutual aid and sustainability.

with few exceptions, we have not been taken up on this offer either, but instead get the same excuses, if it is a garden party for one person, or organizations with the resources like cair or answer — our participation has no value and our inclusion costs too much!

the nazis called us useless mouths

Emma Rosenthal btw, you start the invitation “hey all” ? ALL? do you get how marginalizing that is when ALL isn’t YOU? when you know, day in day out, it isn’t you? when you have to plan every outing, pre-call every event and humbly ask, opening oneself up for more rejection “am i included in a way that is not dehumanizing and insulting?”

or as fallen comrade S Brian Willson, put it, on another thread i posted where i asked “Could the newly dis-abled 70+ wounded activists of the Freedom Flotilla, attend your next event?”

” Excellent reminder. I face this challenge all the time when I attend events or activities that advertise themselves as “open to the public” or “all welcome.” Where is the ramp, where are railings on steps for those who can walk but need extra boost, where are the accessible bathrooms? I remind event organizers that “open to the public” is not honest if there is no handicapped access unless they describe a warning that the venue is not handicapped accessible.”

J.Q. wow, no offense… since i dont know you… but don’t you think a personal email would be better suited for your criticisms? Sincerely ,J.Q. “poor queer woman of color who isnt dehumanized or insulted by this event!””

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Emma Rosenthal: yes you’re right. issues of social justice should always be handled with discretion and decorum.

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J.H. Do not call me or my ideas white Emma. It’s unacceptable. I’m Chicano, light-skinned, of mixed European and Western Hemisphere indigenous blood and you need to step back and recognize your own white privilege before you attack me in that way. And regardless no excuses were given. I clarified that the event was organized by myself and so whatever problems there were with the event were my responsibility, I explained the realities of the situation and asked questions about how to better operate in the future. Your vicious personal attacks do not help anyone to hear the important issues you raise.

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Michael Novick I didn’t hear Emma calling you “white” (a word she used once, parenthetically talking about a general response by the LA left and liberals to the issue of accessibility), and certainly not making a “vicious personal attack.”

I grappled with issues of accessibility for many years because my mother-in-law was paralyzed and needed a wheel chair as a result of a stroke, and I can tell you that it makes you excruciatingly aware of the generalized lack of accessibility throughout this society. I work in a 10-story high rise school downtown and it took five+ years of hassling to get a chair lift installed at the front entrance; but in a blackout, people have to be carried down flights and flights.

Emma is (thankfully) relentless in calling these issues to people’s attention. In the SF Bay Area there used to be a lot more collective awareness and action about these issues, and blind, limbless, paralyzed and other disabled people were a lot more visible and provided a lot more leadership around the left as a result. We all need to be asking ourselves why signing for the deaf, childcare, disabled access, and a lot of other “new world is possible” collective self-realization type of behavior and inclusiveness is not more common at ‘movement’ activities in L.A.

I say this in a spirit of self-criticism. If my mother-in-law were still alive, we would not be living where we are (in an apartment up a flight and half of narrow stairs from front or back). We did get some sidewalk cuts and handicapped parking spots added in the vicinity recently. We all should know that in this regard, as in every other, it will take conscious struggle, demands, and also self-determined action on our own parts, to make the necessary changes.

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Andy Griggs J.H.–there is no place in Emma’s reply where she calls you or your ideas “white!” To assert that is unfair.

And she did not attack you! You asked a question, and she responded. She responded to each of your questions in detail. She explained what happens whenever we assert the need for access. She gave examples of how to proceed in the future, including calling out for assistance in planning. Until it becomes part of the dialogue in event planning on the left, Pwds will continue to be excluded.

The bottom line is that it is not ok to hold an event that is inaccessible to any group or individual!

And it is not ok to ask when it is “acceptable” to discriminate by holding an inaccessible event – ask yourself how you would respond to that question, if you felt excluded.

We will continue to vehemently assert these rights and demands with the same commitment and determination that we bring to support of Palestinians, indigenous peoples, women, people of color, LGBT!

Simultaneously I received the following email and had the following exchange:

(a quick google search reveals that “P.Q.” is one of the feminists behind a publication i’ve been published in, called “LoudMouth”– a title chosen to counter the assertion that women are supposed to be tempered, well mannered and soft spoken.– something, if you read to the end, apparently does not apply to women with dis-abilities.  –i have found a strange nexus between gender expectations and dis-ability.  this demand that i act like a demure child and not the militant activist i have been my whole life! revised 6/9/2010)

P.Q I think you are missing the point.

Should the event be accessible? Yes! Of course/Claro…

Should he have listed that it was when it wasn’t? NO! Pero…you shaming him online for the event doesn’t sit comfortably with me either!

For example, you could have asked him if it was accessible…if he said no, why not ask if he could make it accessible or help make him make it accessible?

It certainly is a problem with grassroots/diy fundraising….no doubt.

We had fundraising for AMC in a house last year as well….

But it is totally different to compare the struggles of these two movements….for you to bring up immigrant women?!

Sorry, but I do not agree!

They are two struggles that certainly walk (sic) side by side especially when they are intertwined either by spaces/geography/bodies themselves but there is also such a thing as having respect for the differences that these two struggles engage. I may be documented but I take offense to you likening these two together.

That you should honor if you feel that you are really interested in having respectful dialogue. My struggles as poor qwoc are not the same at all. So if you wanna talk about decorum and the very privilege to speak online in the middle of the day….we can start there!

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Emma Rosenthal

how patronizing to say i am missing the point. i have studied the point, lived the point, fought for the point. what are the struggles of the qwoc with dis-abilities? why should this issue be sidelines and not subjected to open discussion? why replace a hierarchy of exclusion with a hierarchy of exclusion?

and

if you had read what i wrote, instead of responding with the same outrageous excuses i have heard used for the exclusions of q. w. o, and c, for years (and as an outspoken ally, been summarily upbraided for having done so) you would see that we have offered

1. venue

2. resource

3. consulting and support.

all my protestation is so that more people can be included in building a movement. we have spoke to J.H. more discreetly a number of times, offering all of the above. this is hardly a new issue to those who know me and include me as their (fb) “friends.”

there is no struggle without all of us.

simple!

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P.Q. but are you really wanting to say that you were not being patronizing as well?

i too, have studied the point….i too have lived the point….and i certainly do not underestimate that you also have….

i am NOT saying that one isn’t a struggle. i am saying though that they are two different struggles indeed.

again there are many complex struggles in which people find themselves in various positions. i think that mia mingus for example has written really amazing things about this. and it is not a sideline when she addresses this topic…at all…

if you want an open discussion, why not suggest it for this event? why not another event? l.a could certainly use it as im sure many places can.

my point is that if you are going to point the finger at J.H. alone…that just seems ludicrous.

and i actually did read what you wrote. which is why i found it to be offensive as well. again, likening struggles as though they are exactly the same. they are not.

be an outspoken ally all you want….its not living in our shoes….we dont live in yours either…. and yes, it requires more convo and more communication, certainly.

?

was your consulting free?

my apologies….but it is not that simple….

i wish for it to be….but it is not….

this struggle is clearly in the ways that ideas around issues of race/class/ableism or all considered….

paz

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Emma Rosenthal

as for the privilege of being on line in the middle of the day, i gained this privilege like so many people with disabilities as a result of acquiring this non-conforming body, finding that despite extensive skill and education, like most pwds, i am apparently unemployable unless i make work for myself and find meager ways to market it.

other people who have internet access during the day are 1. people on break, dedicated to social struggle, 2. the unemployed our wageless workers, like myself. 3. people who work at night, on weekends, and at inconvenient hours.

hardly privilege.

i remember when gender, race lgb (no one was even talking about t or i) was considered bourgeois distractions from the movement, the movement being the class struggle, and being told that these issues would be addressed after the revolution.

we were also told to be discreet and less selfish and self indulgent.

if you don’t experience these exclusions in the movement like i experience the daily exclusion of dis-ability access and affirmation, then thank your elders. we fought that fight with the same vigor. When you do experience these exclusions, give me a holler, if i can get my wheel in the door, you’ll have one more ally.

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P.Q. well….i have the privilege of being online during the day because i have been unemployed/underemployed for what seems like ever….

despite an education that has only seemed to amount to cultural assimilation so cheers to us both for being in these bodies!

thanks for the list emma! as you see above, im no stranger to this….talk about checking your patronizing….wow.

wrong again….

i experience exclusion all the time….

and im not certain if you think im a lil girl….but that seems to be typical behavior from my so called “allies”

thanks again!

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Emma Rosenthal we seem to have posted at the same time, in response to your most recent post, how outrageous, again read what i wrote to J.H.  we are hardly singling him out. what a waste that would be (and an abuse!)

to repeat!!!!! we have called for dialogue, we have attempted to meet with people, we have offered free consultation, resources, meetings, venue.

you claim you read what i wrote, given this question “was your consulting free? ” indicates you did not!!!!

because i clearly addressed that.

we would be willing to meet with anyone on this issue and we have told J.H.  we also raise this issue EVERYWHERE!!!!

an invitation went out “to all” and i asked if that included a sector of society that it apparently did not. (given recent convos with J.H. it would have been an unfortunate error to have easily assumed that it did). that’s an outrage, especially since we have had this discussion.

J.H. chose to answer that question on his wall, and i answered in the same venue.

we’re all grownups here!

your outrage is really out of line and misplaced.

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P.Q.

sounds like you need to redirect your strategy then….or engage it in a different way…if you are raising this issue everywhere, where comes the time when you are not just on defense? its a common issue in every movement i understand…

but lastly you have stated again that its an outrage to you that this has happened and then state again that my outrage is out of line…huh?

misplaced? because you would prefer that someone doesn’t check you or the way you addressed this?

right….we are grownups….sigh

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Emma Rosenthal

You state: “sounds like you need to redirect your strategy then….or engage it in a different way…if you are raising this issue everywhere, where comes the time when you are not just on defense? its a common issue in every movement i understand.”

ho hum where have we heard that before!?!?

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17 responses to “I CAN’T BE PART OF A MOVEMENT IF I CAN’T GET MY WHEEL IN THE DOOR

  1. This type of defensiveness and refusal to accept criticism is what keep people from getting active, frankly. If they don’t see us in the left doing what we say, when we talk about peace and unity, why would they join us?

    The funniest thing about their defense is that they’re basically telling Emma, “get over yourself”, but they can’t get over themselves and admit they might just be committing an error (and asking for money to do it).

    Emma IS over herself, because she can still access many places that aren’t accessible, yet still advocates for those that might not be.

    It takes strength to accept critique, and humility to consider the ‘other’.

    If we wait for the other to become us (an accident, disease, old age??), then we’ll always be too late.

  2. I am ashamed reading this thread because we confront the same issue here in Chicago, and badly. The cost? The consequences? Here, those of us who are abled fail to connect with parallel projects like ADAPT in solidarity, and deny the larger movement the welcoming of these activists, tremendous internationalists like Rene David Luna, to shared struggle. Emma, this struggle is so crucial. Thank you for reminding me that every day as leftists, as activists, we should wake up living and breathing inclusion for all.

  3. filiavocis

    wow just reread the whole thread and qwoc has some serious projection going on…accusing u of being racist while justifying her own exclusionary ways…hmm. i share Rula’s interest in learning more about dis-ability issues and ways to ensure accesibility for all pwds.
    u’ve taught me so much and challenged all my fossilized assumptions of ability and privilege. i remember our first exchange when i told u i’d send good energy and maybe if u’d think positive u’d get out of bed that day. how wrongheaded and naive i was to discount the material facts of ur suffering. but u showed me, day after day, a fuller perception of the reality u and other pwds face…and with my deepening understanding has come a fierce committment to creating inclusion and accessibility throughout the human rights movement(s). u are so absolutely correct: there is no movement without all of us.
    thank u for ur enormous and costly contributions to the human rights of all people. thank u for being the brave voice of those that noone else will champion, those who need the most help. i’m sorry for all the attacks u’ve endured and the subsequent and lingering despair and alienation. know that u are never alone and that u are so very loved.
    don’t ever back down. i’m sorry that people, especially those in the movement for human rights can’t accept such integrity and strong precise articulation issuing from a pwd who also happens to have a vagina. i’m sorry that even the marginalized push u out on the very edge to make themselves feel cozy.
    keep shouting from that marginalia until they rewrite the whole damn book. we’re right there with u.
    in solidarity,
    s

  4. Emma, we support you in your cause and clearly understand acessibility is a right. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with you. Shalom!

  5. Andy Griggs

    I am still amazed by this exchange. After apologizing two days earlier for participating in the scheduling of an emergency response meeting at a home up of stairs, and the bathroom up another flight of stairs, we get this invitation which originally did not state anything about its accessibility. You can see what followed when we asked if the party site was accessible. We get the question back, “is it ever ok to discriminate. if you cannot afford to make accomodations?” Outrageous! Think about how you would feel if someone asked you if it was ok to exclude you from a gathering – because you are glbti, a woman, of any ethnicity or race or religion, etc.
    Then to accuse someone from the excluded class of racism – “you need to check your white privilege” after you have created the exclusionary event –
    again amazing! I hope others will join Emma and I in this dialogue and make some changes.

    Call out on dis-ability access in the left:
    https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/call-out-on-dis-ability-access-in-the-left/

    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=361031147521&id=1081303180&ref=mf

  6. Emma, you hit the nail on the head with “our participation has no value and our inclusion costs too much”. This is the exact message when disability access to an event is an afterthought.

    As for: “So if you wanna talk about decorum and the very privilege to speak online in the middle of the day….we can start there!” I’ve gotten that line before as well.

    In defense of paralyzed Medicare recipients, I feel compelled to clarify that organizing and debating politics on the Internet does not qualify as over-privilege. Please, hold your snottiness.

  7. Emma, the fight only gets stronger when more people are able to open their eyes and see the full picture. Thank you for sharing with us not only the full conversation (and might i add those people’s bullying and cowardly responses) but also showing us how to better organize events to include pwds.

  8. Thank you Emma for sharing all of your experiences. I apologize because you have to experience so many hostile moments as a result of the ignorant society we live in. I try to repost alot of your blogs and comments, even at times when I may not always in complete agreement with what you’re saying. Ultimately as conscious people our job is to spread knowledge on both sides of an issue, specially those that we THINK don’t affect us directly.

    Emma, stop trying to stop being active. it’s not in you. Stay strong. Keep moving forward even when you feel drained, exhausted & like you’re ready to go into a shell,your spirit is too strong & will break through that shell & you keep coming back stronger…♥ We need more people to speak out on the challenges of the dis-abled, how else will us pwod’s learn and stop being indifferent?

    I’m ignorant as a result of my own privilege, which is why so many times I too am guilty of the indifference demonstrated by pwod’s when I don’t agree with your approach or calling out. Although I’ve had my own challenges (at a physical level, and so many other levels) it is easy to forget and get caught up in my own reactionary tendencies at times when my ignorance gets the best and worst of my own fears. I also have to accept that when an issue is something I am passionate about, I too approach it head on, assertively, strong, outspoken and loud to make sure the world hears me and to try to get people to understand my point, even if more times than not people just criticize, attack and/or ignore me. So to sit here and attack or criticize your approach as so many of us do, at times, would lack self-criticism and be contradictory of my own character.

    I try to understand; therefore, support the consciousness you try to bring to us and since I’m still learning to be more sensitive and get the nerve to face many of my own fears and ignorance on this issue and so many more, the least I can do for now is help spread your words and experiences……….

    in solidarity

  9. Peace Emma, As one of Native American and European descent with disabled parents, please keep fighting the good fight, and ignore such detractors that would seemingly like to engage you in expending needless energy and distract you from your mission and vision. Your aim is true, as is Andy’s. Love…

  10. let me just say, i’ll never think of an event in the same way…keep doing what you’re doing emma. you’re really paving the path here. thank you for what you’re doing and for the services you’re offering to the community, much needed. i’m proud to have crossed paths with you. you have my support!

  11. Susan Pashkoff

    Emma, thank you for fighting this war, not only for all of us with disabilities, but for the whole left. It is as though people with disabilities are expected to be grateful that they offer us “participation” without offering us true inclusion by ensuring that we can actually be a true part of the movement.

    I cannot thank you enough for all you do to educate people on how to accommodate our special needs and for leading the fight for inclusion for all people.

    It seems to be too much to ask to have access to activities, access to the toilet during these activities (how can someone get up 3 flights of stairs to go to the loo if they are in a wheelchair or use crutches?), someone that can sign and places for disabled people to rest after they participate in a demo, etc. … why is this so damn hard for people to understand that we are part of the movement and want to participate just like all the abled-bodied members of the left?

  12. Stay strong Emma, these folks need to learn about inclusion. Its not a people’s movement unless it includes ALL people!

  13. It never ceases to amaze me how easily people can say things to others that they would recognise immediately as patronising bullshit if they were said to them. (Re: “Redirect your strategy”)

    I for one am very glad that you keep this issue front and centre. As someone who makes a point of staying informed on these sorts of issues, I’m rather chagrinned to say that most of what I know about it comes from reading your posts.

  14. “likening struggles as though they are exactly the same. they are not.”

    All struggles for social justice are equal…social justice is not a pick & choose philosophy. How can anybody involved in the justice movement claim otherwise? All-inclusiveness is the key to a better society.

  15. I am disgusted with whoever this person is who has belaboured you, Emma, and who seems blithely unaware of their blatant discrimination.

    More power to folks like you who attempt to cut through the lies and veils which are used to divide, marginalise and silence.

  16. Emma, Please don’t give up the fight based on some people’snegative response and e-mails. I think that you have gotten me so interested in this dis-abilty rights, that I would like to receive training in the matter. I know that I would never knowingly exclude any human being, and learning from you will mean that I will do my best to spread this education around so that less people feel like their presence is optional or unnecessary. You are one amazing teacher to all of us. You are strong, determined, and speak loudly for many who have no voice. If you quit, then who will represent them? Don’t think of those who persecute you, think instead of those who love and support you, who need you as a shining example for justice, equality and peace.

  17. Pingback: More Blacklisting Crap from the L.A. Liberal Left « ¡Cafe Intifada! -Uniting Art With Critical Consciousness

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