Disability Gratitude: 2017 Year in Review

The year rang in with a thunderclap of transitions. It rained ignorance and poured ineptitude. Many of us begged the question how the hell did this happen? But we knew there were too few of us to stop it. So we huddled under the umbrellas of our communities and began bracing ourselves for the onslaught of things to come. Over many months we braved the elements of repeated threats and attempts to thwart our quality of life and peace of mind.

Whether it came in the form of healthcare, education, housing, tax “reform” no matter the topic, many bills crafted were woefully-misinformed and more than likely sans comprehensive consultation from populations that might be most negatively-impacted. Oh but there was push back, fierce push back. Huddles yield strategy and action, proving disabled folks will certainly not go gently into that good night.

Not quite sure of the selection process for top posts but from where I sit it seemed akin to Tiddlywinks sans color and depth beyond nodding heads “yes” and being in “alignment” otherwise there was a firing. There was a lot of talking, finger-pointing, soap-boxing but no real meaningful conversations that pushed policies forward on much of anything. Handshakes came with fox-in-the-hen-house smiles and integrity seemed to need a search party.

There were soundbites and bright lights but still no glow from persons who should know something about roles and offices they hold. We’ve been kept in the dark on many matters, thrown distractions, and the few we’re kept abreast of the “facts” were alternative. Things that were questioned were quickly hushed and disputed no real closure and resolution.

So I’m stopping there because we’ve reached the top of the year and the giving and gratitude season is in full swing. Let me count my gains and blessings, throw some tinsel and bestow upon you my wrapped presence since it’s rather chilly here in New England.

Ho, ho, ho, here we go…..

Sharing some quick gratitude reflections, I was honored to take part in panels that discussed disability and art, interviews on disabled parenting and advocacy sharing my experience and perspective. I was awarded The Mary Lou Maloney Award for my work in disability rights activism, crafted more articles that highlighted areas of focus and aspects of this disability sleigh ride no matter the season and even through snow and ice…ha, who am I kidding, my slay is limited to indoors in inclement weather, pounding keys, and preferably atop my comfy bed sitting cross-legged sipping a warm beverage.

There was a very cool and chic “Fashion Accessibility Project” and runway show where I modeled a customized creation, what…a…thrill. Oh and there was that Janet Jackson concert where I kept wondering was I really in the same building shaking my “Rhythm Nation” right along with this showstoppah, whaaat. Truly an “Escapade” for sure, floated home, the following week, and nearly all November.

Lastly, between the flicker of bright lights and holiday hymns here are some worthy orgs/projects that you may want to consider granting a donation, signal boost, and/or just learn more about. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just possible suggestions to direct support…..

HEARD: “Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf (HEARD), is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that promotes equal access to legal system for individuals who are deaf and for people with disabilities.”

Harriet Tubman Collective: “A Collective of Black Deaf & Black Disabled organizers, community builders, activists, dreamers, lovers striving for radical inclusion and collective liberation”

Deaf Poets Society: “an online journal of deaf and disabled literature & art”

Kriphop Nation: “to educate the music, media industries and general public about the talents, history, rights and marketability of Hip-Hop artists and other musicians with disabilities.”

Ramp Your Voice: “A self-advocacy and empowerment movement for people with disabilities”

Disability Visibility Project: “An online partnership that is dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability media and culture.”

The Icarus Project: “The Icarus Project is a support network and education project by and for people who experience the world in ways that are often diagnosed as mental illness.”

Autism Womens Network: “to provide effective supports to Autistic women and girls of all ages through a sense of community, advocacy and resources.”

Our Space Our Place: “to Prepare blind youth for their future as productive and successful adults by promoting their self confidence, determination and social and independent living skills through activities which support self exploration, social integration and the investigation of college and career opportunities.”

POOR magazine: “a poor people led/indigenous people led non-profit, grassroots, arts organization dedicated to providing revolutionary media access, arts, education and solutions from youth, adults and elders in poverty across Pachamama.”

And me, especially if you appreciate my work and find value, any amount you are comfortable forwarding helps, and of course support may come in just sending love, well-wishes, signal boosts, etc…humbly and heart-felt acceptance. Thanks in advance!

***********

Now off to skip giddy and gawk from indoors at season’s first snowfall. A momentary reprieve from thoughts of girding myself and guarding my pockets to the extent I’m able for the coming year. *Happy Holidaze!!*

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