Who’s up for it?
My blog is entitled “disabledandemployed” intentionally. When I began this effort two years ago, I wanted to inform and inspire the disabled community in terms of the value people with disabilities offer the business sector. Well, life has an insistent pattern of putting up obstacles to one’s intentions, and I haven’t maintained the blog very consistently.
Let’s not talk about “disability.”
Let’s talk about “equity.” “Leadership.” “Representation.” And so many other things that comprise the job of a United States Senator.
When I think of a senator, I think of my boyhood as the son of a national Capitol Hill correspondent. I was incredibly fortunate enough to have inside access: I attended a few congressional hearings, I sat in the press galleries above the Senate and House floors, I shook hands with Senators and Representatives. I watched, with the awe and reverence of a boy, government in action.
So, as an adult, perhaps I hold our leaders even more accountable for their actions. And their actions this week – regarding the Senate vote Tuesday on the “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” – are petty, cold, and even irresponsible.
Honestly, I’m not going to say it better than the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. John Kerry: “This is one of the saddest days I’ve seen in almost 28 years in the Senate and it needs to be a wakeup call about a broken institution that’s letting down the American people, We need to fix this place because what happens and doesn’t happen here affects millions of lives. Today the dysfunction hurt veterans and the disabled and that’s unacceptable.”
But here’s what I am going to say (not more eloquently, but more strongly, than Sen. Kerry):
Prove it, Senator – show that it’s unacceptable. This is no time for lip service, because the momentum, the structure, the political tide indicates that a vote on this treaty will be re-introduced in the next legislative session. Don’t back off now. You, and other leaders, are in power – and you must speak truth to power: “… What happens and doesn’t happen here affects millions of lives.” This isn’t about pointing fingers or assigning blame. It is time to do what’s right, it is time to lead, it is time to represent the under-represented.
This is not a set back, America – this is an opportunity.
What can we – as constituents, as citizens – do to help?
– Call your senator and express your support for the treaty
With so many negative aspects to focus on, I’m going to focus on a positive one: access. You have a job to do – vote. Make it your passion to make it possible for others to be able to vote also …
I hope everyone has enjoyed a wonderful October – National Disability Employment Awareness month. Last year, I was far more attuned to the cause than this month. But life is significantly different for me at this time.
One of the most important facets of American democracy is our right to vote. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to live in a state (Oregon) with vote-by-mail opportunity. Our ballots have arrived – I have voted early. I want to acknowledge the effort and the citizenship of my fellow voters everywhere, and I would like to encourage you to help make it possible for everyone to vote. Offer a disabled neighbor a ride to the polls; help make your polling place accessible; do whatever it takes – and whatever you can – to make a difference.
Here’s a video to watch:
I have not interacted with Disability Arts and Culture Project previously, but I have admired their commitment – to the community, and to their growth – for about a year. They are important to me because of their mission of inclusivity and social justice. Here, in their own words, is an introduction:
“Founded in 2005, DACP is a Portland-based nonprofit that focuses on providing inclusive performance opportunities and promoting social justice through the arts. Whether you’ve been with DACP for years or are just getting involved — please share with us what you think about intersections of identities, race, and disability, how DACP should grow, and how you’d like to be involved!”
I think ever since I was a teenager, I have been drawn to the underdog, the under-represented, the up and comer … DACP is an important, emerging entity that is going to make an impact – locally and beyond. I hope you’ll choose to facilitate their growth by sharing your thoughts in their 2012 community survey.
I’m a little late with this one – at least for people on the East Coast who have had to manage their lives through especially oppressive heat, plus an especially violent storm. And maybe late, too, for those in the middle of the country who are suffering from the worst drought in 50 years.
But it’s an opportunity for those of us in the Pacific Northwest to express gratitude for mild temperatures and one of the wettest spring seasons on record. So, here’s a resource for those combating the summertime blues: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/extremeheat/medical.html