Posted in disability civil rights

When Talking to or about People with Disabilities, Words Matter.


This photo is pretty self-explanatory – it’s a begger with his cap in his hand. But a lot of people don’t know that this is where the term, “handicap” came from. This is a big part of the reason why that term is now disfavored.

In addition, when you talk about a Black or Hispanic individual, you don’t usually mention their race first, if at all. This is why people with disabilities advocate for “people first” language. Rather than say, ”That’s a wheelchair-bound person,” why not say, “That’s a person in a wheelchair.” That way, you are identifying their humanity before mentioning their disability.

These may seem like unimportant issues, but it is our common discourse that helps mold the self-image of the people we are talking about. And for most of the people with disabilities that I know, they would like to be thought of first as who they are, not what they have. And that goes for me, too.

See the link below for more info.

http://adata.org/factsheet/ADANN-writing

Posted in Health insurance

Good on You, Julia Louis-Dreyfus!

One of the most appealing things about Julia Louis-Dreyfus is that she doesn’t mind looking vulnerable. It’s largely what has driven her popularity on “Seinfeld” and now on “Veep.” In both roles, she’s often caught off guard and she uses those moments to generate humor.

So when she found out that she had breast cancer a few weeks ago, she also used that moment – not to get laughs but to make the point that so many other people do not have health insurance to cover treatments for cancer and other serious diseases. Therefore, she said, it is imperative that universal health care become a reality in this country.

In other words, she did not dwell on her own situation but used it as a teachable moment for everyone. And she is in a position to get people to listen. So are you listening, President Trump? And have you thought about getting a new “Veep?”

Hang in there, Julia. We’re all pulling for you.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/28/entertainment/julia-louis-dreyfus-cancer/index.html

Posted in Health insurance

With his Executive Order gutting Obamacare, Trump Continues to Hurt the People who are the Most Vulnerable

So when he’s not demeaning grieving relatives of fallen solders, football players expressing their views or a senator suffering from brain cancer, President Trump still finds time to issue an executive order which, if implemented, could unilaterally dismantle the portions of Obamacare that were specifically designed to help low-income and sick people.

If the provisions in this order are implemented, it would mean that smaller insurance companies could band with large ones and potentially escape the safeguards guaranteed in Obamacare. It would also be the end of the subsidies regularly given to insurance companies to help low-income people maintain their health insurance. And it would mortally gut the recruitment programs that help people navigate their way through the confusing health insurance morass.

All this right before open enrollment begins on November 1. As someone said, making America sick again.

See the article below:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-executive-order-on-health-care-is-flat-out-disgusting

Posted in Government programs and services

Without Curb Cuts, People with Disabilities can be Stranded

Last summer,I had the opportunity to visit New York. While it was a great trip, one of the things I remember most is how scary it was to walk down the street with my cane.

This was partly because of the hoardes of people whipping past me – every one of whom seemed to have their eyes on their smart phones instead of where they were going. That added an element of danger to each excursion, but it was well worth it because…what was the alternative?

But the danger intensified when it came to crossing the street. Now I wasn’t just trying to avoid people, but I was trying to stay out of the way of cars – some of which were moving very fast and whose drivers did not seem very attentive.

While these risks cannot be completely eliminated, it sure helped when there were curb cuts. They made venturing out into the street a whole lot safer.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that curb cuts be installed on most newly-constructed or newly-altered sidewalks.
https://www.ada.gov/doj-fhwa-ta.htm

And the following recent New York Times piece discusses how trapped people can feel when those curb cuts do not exist.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/08/nyregion/new-york-city-sidewalks-disabled-curb-ramps.html

As the article indicates, sometimes curb cuts can make all the difference as to whether a person can leave their home. And since October is “National Disabled Employees Awareness Month,” let’s remember that none of that does much good if someone can’t even make it to work.

Helen Russon
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Posted in disability civil rights, Uncategorized

To Die or Not to Die – Response to David Fries’s New York Times Article

In Kenny Fries’s recent NYT column, he described how Hitler targeted people with disabilities as well as Jews for extermination. He was able to do this because he convinced his followers that these lives were not as valuable as others, and that the world would be better off without them.

But Mr. Fries did not stop at the Holocaust – he also wrote about how similar thinking caused the Supreme Court to allow involuntary sterilization of women considered “imbeciles” to keep them from “continuing their kind.” (See my 9/29/17 post)

Mr. Fries then went on to say that while Hitler was demonized and involuntary sterilization is now almost alway illegal, there is a certain kind of thinking that still lingers – the idea that it is socially and economically acceptable to prioritize certain kinds of lives over others. He also wrote that it is this kind of thinking that justifies the calls for cutting Medicaid and irrevocably worsening the lives of many people – especially the elderly, the poor and the disabled.

One of the people Mr. Fries referred to was the Rev. Susan Flanders. Ms. Flanders has since written a letter to the NYT, saying that she believes Mr. Fries inaccurately portrayed her views. “The issue here is whether people can have a quality of life that is meaningful and valuable to them” she wrote, ”…and I would never favor cutting short such a life.”

In the interest of being fair to both sides, I am attaching a copy of her letter below. But I would never try to represent that this issue is as simple as two opposing posts. After all, we are literally talking about life and death here.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/27/opinion/aid-in-dying-dementia.html

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