A Matter of Survival

It took me far longer than I’d like to admit to begin to understand the importance of Intersectional activism. It’s something I’m still actively working on incorporating in all aspects of my disability justice work. But it’s something I should have been practicing from the beginning.

Early on in my activism I would often make false or exaggerated parallels between the issues faced by myself and others in the disabled community and those experienced by other marginalized and multiply marginalized groups. It took me a long time to fully understand, even in my position as a disabled person, my whiteness affords me a privilege not shared by Black, Indigenous and other disabled people of color. From that understanding I have begun to unlearn so much of what I thought I understood about Ableism.

I am beyond grateful to the members of the disabled community, my peers, my elders, my ancestors, who have been part of my education. Their knowledge and wisdom is invaluable to me. I can only hope my actions and the work I do honors them.

Speaking of the work, so much hangs in the balance right now. Not only for the disabled community, but every marginalized and multiply marginalized group. Every minority in this country is imperiled. The current administration has done so much harm to the country as a whole, but in particular to those of us living in the margins of society. We have a chance to stem the flow and begin to undo some of the damage, but we cannot do it alone.

For too long marginalized communities have relied on ourselves and each other to survive. But that may no longer be enough. We need the support of the majority if any of us have a hope of removing the current administration.

The work won’t stop after the election though. There are so many structural barriers that, if you’re a person of relative privilege, you likely aren’t even aware of. There are barriers to education, employment, housing, health care, the list is extensive. But just as they were built, they can be broken down. It’s going to require a concerted effort, but it can be done. And it should be done. Regardless of the cause you’re fighting for, survival is a human right.

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