You may remember that this past July, Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on behalf of the Obama administration. The disability rights treaty is a comprehensive promise made by nations across the world progressively promoting the human rights of people with disabilities.
The convention is revolutionary. Last year, on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ACLU Disability Rights Fellow James Felakos wrote that the convention describes disability not as “an individual’s condition but rather as the flawed interaction between that impaired condition and society’s lack of adaptation to it, departs radically from conventional thought and is a core concept of the Convention.”
And understanding language was only part of it. It seemed to me that everyone other than me was moving along to the pattern of music that I couldn’t detect. And that every time I tried to insert myself into the pattern, no matter how hard I tried the music turned dissonant and terrible and pushed me out again. So I would never have guessed that my ability to turn written into spoken words, or my general ability to find and memorize and analyze the world through patterns, had been impressive enough for a five-year-old to earn me a high score on a test that people believed all sorts of ridiculous things about. (Meanwhile the people who tested me thought those abilities meant so much that they would disregard my receptive language scores and all other scores that didn’t make sense to them. My guess is that my being white and middle-class also helped them forget.). I still remember the test and the manner in which I worked out the answers. I literally didn’t know the meaning of the word “test”. But my answers were apparently impressive for a five-year-old (not so much for a fifteen or twenty-two-year-old, but that’s another story.)
activists friends and i talk a lot about balance and energy. about how to work the system and how to do what we love (organize, create) but come to think about it, no, not everyone faces that problem. people who grow up as translators and bridge builders—folks who live in multiple communities, folks who had some privilege and were favored in some way by the system, mixed folks— are the ones who travel back and forth never knowing where they fit, what safe space looks like, when to switch up tongues. people say that both the reformist and the radical has to exist but no one feels the obligation to be both, to carry everything, like we do.
our communities fought so hard to be at the table, how could we not respect that & politely say no thank you to sitting there?…honestly our communities that we are working with don’t have the privilege for us to disengage, they need the resources, the funding, the connections that come w/ sitting at the table. (especially with disability and the daily things we need being so tied up in government). …we could spend a month with all our energy going to trying to fund something ourselves or we could use the dominant culture language skills we have to spend a day writing a grant application. …or these folks aren’t members of our communities but could be amazing allies if we put some time into it.
The impact of the legislation on Medicare beneficiaries has been a pervasive theme in the first week of Senate debate, which is scheduled to continue through the weekend.
Home care shows, in microcosm, a conundrum at the heart of the health care debate. Lawmakers have decided that most of the money to cover the uninsured should come from the health care system itself. This raises the question: Can health care providers reduce costs without slashing services?