Disability confidential. Informing. Empowering. Agitating.
Life After Paralysis is a blog that represents a variety of paralysis community members. It is a place for open conversation about the issues and the interests of people living with paralysis, their family, friends, caregivers, and the professionals that serve them.
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The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
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I discovered the Rolling Diva, Bethany Hoppe through our mutual friend, Teal Sherer. (I love that I have smart engaged friends.
Bethany's new project,"Pennhurst: The Divas Will Rise," immediately caught my attention. As an advocate with an interest in the history of disability I recognized that notorious name.
While I often complain about PWD being invisible in society, once upon a time we truly were missing from our communities. There was a time, not very long ago, when people with disabilities were routinely institutionalized. Some of these facilities were clean and humane (well, humane-ish --for institutions) while others were nightmares of overcrowding, filth and abuse. Eugenics (forced sterilization) was common practice in most institutions with female patients routinely subjected to tubal ligations without their knowledge or consent. The last forced sterilization in the US happened in Oregon in 1981.
I find it difficult to even write about the philosophy of the time, warehouses of people left forgotten, voiceless, isolated and without hope of advocacy. These were the conditions at the birth of the Independent Living movement. Ed Roberts began his fight in 1962. Pennhurst was finally shuttered in 1987.
The Pennhurst State School was one of the most notorious institutions housing PWD. Originally called Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded & Epileptic this facility almost immediately outgrew its intended capacity. Now, the buildings and their shameful past rot away, largely forgotten. It is, however, a history that our community must never allow to be forgotten.
So, when Teal forwarded a link to Bethany's project I was immediately intrigued. I had an opportunity to have a conversation with Bethany and I've posted it below. This is a new format for us. I hope you like it.
In our video conversation, I promised links. Bethany's blog
is so snarky-funny. I hope you check it out.
And of course, her Kickstarter
is a MUST VIEW! This project sends chills through me.You can follow her project on Facebook.
Do check out the photo essay of Bethany's visit to Pennhurst. And on her YouTube channel (RollingDivaLifestyle) is a much longer version of her visit to Pennhurst.
Last, here are some of the images we discuss in our conversation. These will continue to haunt me for some time.
Image 1 Discarded braces decay on the floor Image 2 Evidence of common children's toys
Image 3 Grave markers with numbers. no names Image 4 Kickstarter cover art
© 2013 Jennifer Longdon |
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