July 26, 2014 marked the 24th
anniversary of the ADA, I encountered many forms of celebrations, citations and congratulations on the bestowing of civil rights on people with disabilities in America. In my mind I imagined, I’m a visual cartoon thinker, a monarch touching a sword to both of my shoulders as I sat proudly fixed and unflinching in my wheelchair, he speaking the words ‘I grant thee civil right knighthood in the name of the kingdom, now go forth and frolic like all others’. Not. We are so not done yet, ah but I digress.
I’m being a bit silly here, but what I really want to get at is a blog and podcast
, separate from each other and yet nearly twins that today I enjoyed and concurrently was enlightened to the possible root of the frustration that I have felt at the lack of activism or even a sense of insult to their humanity over what still needs to be done for full inclusion, that I witness in todays’ youth with disabilities. I’m not pigeon holing all youth, it’s a feeling I have and it’s not just me seeing and feeling, this. It’s the nagging scratch of carelessness with the hard won rights I feel from this Generation ADA and their ‘taking for granted’ attitude.
Both spoke of growing up in a world where there was always an ADA, they know of no other way and how they have taken for granted (key words for my spinning wheels) the ease of a ramp or a door opener or curb cut, that these have always been here, it’s just the way it is. And that when refused access because of some physical obstacle or the attitude they are somewhat frustrated but not enough to fight back, they just move on with maybe a bit of lip service. I’m not acting the downer here, I get what they’re saying, the US is a bubble of inclusion ease compared to most countries and can be easily taken for granted.
But it got me thinking about my frustration with them, again. What I want to find is how can Generation ADA become inspired to fight, to act, again and again and never give up until everyone, not just the one billion people with disabilities worldwide but all seven billion people globally will be included, everywhere and at all times in all things that they want to participate in.
How do these young’uns catch the fire in the belly of injustice that they can't ignore? That visceral feeling of oppression I get when I experience the hand of ‘you stop here and everyone else go forward’ is held up to me. I feel left out and I flare, I act, I write, I call, I speak, I protest, I teach, I care and I almost forget to breathe until the wrong is right. I do so because I want to choose, all people want to choose what we want and not just learn to settle or take what is given.
What I do know about nurturing a spark is that experience is a critical piece of ownership, you know that responsibility thing, and the type of experience can make or break the next part, the caring about what happens, how it happens and whom it happens to. Sharing the experience with others gives power and drive to the happening.
At the age of 21 in 1975, I could not imagine living in such a feeling of unjust isolation after my spinal cord injury. I felt the slap of exclusion, continuously hard and fast, everywhere except from my family and friends who wouldn’t let leave. And than I found and joined my tribe fighting for their lives, too. It became our lives with purpose like life is suppose to be, to not just survive but thrive and contribute again and again.
So I've got a quest for the knights of Gen ADA, how about you join your energy to the people that are, right now, heading to Washington DC to march and rally for the US ratification of the CRPD on July 29th. How about you tweet #CRPD (I know you can get really creative on the web), send emails, make you tube videos, make phone calls to your Senators and get all your friends and families to do the same, over and over and over. Go to this website
and follow the directions, so easy peasey.
Much of the grassroots groundwork has been accomplished by Marca Bristo, Justin Dart, Wade Henderson, Rhonda Neuhaus, Judy Heumann, Pat Wright, David Morrissey, Senator Bob Dole, Senator Harkin, Senator McCain, the organizations USICD, ADAPT, NCIL, DREDF and thousands and thousands of people with and without disabilities, there are so many, I’m not doing right by them, but you get my drift, right? You have to show up, execute and lead on until the righteous fight is won.
Maybe the good fight for these Generation ADA kids is the global UN Disability Treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the CRPD. The global document that lays down the 411 of how, what and why of human rights for people with disabilities. The disabilities human rights document that the US has yet to ratify. The one that takes us out our bubble and into the remarkably blockaded world out there that people with disabilities live in.
Yes, maybe Generation ADAs Holy Grail is getting the countries of the world to ratify the CRPD, starting right here at home in the good old USA. Will Gen ADA answer the call, or will Gen ADA continue to believe they are riding a horse, as in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail
, when actually they are only banging two coconuts together? What say you Gen ADA, are you ready for your quest?
Blessings to All, see you on Capitol Hill, come one come all to play, in joy, Candace
© 2014 Candace Cable