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While You’re Waiting For The Revolution

 

Ethan Ellis - Able Newspaper

BY ETHAN ELLIS
ADVOCATE

It’s been awhile. But turning 80 and a couple of bouts of pneumonia have not improved my disposition or the outlook for people with disabilities.
In fact, since I last assailed you, that outlook has become grimmer: state and federal funding for disability programs has been cut even more, fewer of us are working, more of us live in poverty, including an increasing number of kids with disabilities, and violence against us has increased. I won’t re-hash all the numbers. One should be enough – more than 80 percent of us are poor.

We’re not alone. Life for all socially devalued groups has gotten harder. Women, people of color, kids of all colors, all who are poor for any reason are worse off than before the Great Recession.

Since then, 95 percent of the recovery has gone to the top 10 percent. The six heirs of Walmart are worth more than the bottom 126 million of us. Meanwhile, the number of books, articles and films proving that we are no longer a democracy has skyrocketed.
What some of us only whispered a few years ago, is on every thinking person’s lips today – A revolution is coming! I don’t know when or how, but it’s the only way out of the mess we’re in.
So what do we do while we’re waiting? As people with disabilities, we need to be a part of the revolution to benefit from it. Since social change becomes easier the more you do it, we need to practice, practice, practice.

But, on what?

There’s an election coming this November. New laws will keep people of color, old people, people with disabilities from voting because they don’t have picture IDs. Old laws requiring polling places to be accessible haven’t been enforced so many of us won’t be able to vote either.

Don’t let that happen! Get a list of all the polling places in your county. Take pictures of the ones that aren’t accessible. Find assessable ones in those districts. Create a slide show of both.
Show it at a meeting of your county elected officials. Invite the press. Reserve a room in the building where you can show it to the press, in case the county officials won’t let you show it at their meeting. Take a reporter with you to an inaccessible polling place on Election Day.

Remember. Revolutions begin locally and spread globally. If you’re lucky, you might even start one. If not, you’ll at least be ready. See you there!

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