Working WITH not FOR

Prepositions make all the difference. At disABILITY LINK we work with and not for the consumer. Independent Living Philosophy is about taking charge and working with your peers to be in control of your life.  I noticed that I kept having to politely correct people’s pronouns while at the Moral Monday Medicaid expansion rally on Monday. There was a great atmosphere: a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the shared cause we were united under. The problem is that I kept hearing people coming up to me and my coworkers and say: “we’re doing this for you!” And some of the signs had language that wasn’t really empowering for people with disabilities. On the surface this may look  bad, but deep down it’s a great opportunity to educate people who may not have necessarily have worked with people with disabilities before and show them that we are in this fight together.

I love these “teachable moments.” Moral Monday is a fairly new movement in Atlanta and they’ve had a couple of stumbles while working with the disability community, but I feel that we are on a good path for making sure that future meetings and events are going to be accessible, inclusive and informative. This recent event was a success, we have a fantastic turnout, we even had the support of State Senator Vincent Fort, who chose to get arrested with nine other individuals attempting to deliver a letter to Nathan Deal. While speaking with people about Medicaid expansion we were able to share information about ADAPT, a great organization that frequently uses civil disobedience to draw attention to issues and force change.  Some were surprised to learn about ADAPT, but all were interested in learning more and we might even get a few new ADAPTers out of it. Our Independent Living Specialist, Margo, handed out a lot of stickers from a Medicaid rally that were worn with pride. I look forward to working with the Moral Monday organizers to share a message of change that is also empowering for everyone involved.

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People with disabilities have the right to be independent, make decisions for themselves, have access to their community and to achieved goals in life like any other individual. disABILITY LINK is committed to promoting the rights of ALL people with disabilities.
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