a ‘disability march’ is helping make the invisible visible
Tomorrow's Women's March on Washington is already expected to be the biggest gathering of disabled people in U.S. history.
Enough people are planning to attend the Women's March on Washington tomorrow that even able-bodied participants will experience mobility issues. So what about disabled people — who had their hopes raised by Hillary Clinton's radical push for disability rights then dashed by the victory of a man who mercilessly mocked them — who want to send a message to the new administration?
Thanks to the internet, these citizens don't have to be left out. Disability March is an online movement allowing people with physical limitations and chronic illnesses to participate in tomorrow's event without actually being in DC, and potentially putting their health at greater risk. The virtual march is being coordinated by a small group of writers and activists — including Sonya Huber, Sarah Einstein, Andrea Scarpino — most of whom identify as disabled.
"We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country," say the founders. "We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear. In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore."
Those who want to participate virtually are invited to email (or link to) a photo, along with a short bio and a statement about why they are joining the march. The submissions will then be displayed online for everyone to see. Including, hopefully, the new president, who has pledged to put millions of lives at risk by repealing the Affordable Care Act. So it's not just the (currently) able-bodied who stand to benefit from the virtual march.
The initiative doesn't mean you won't see any disabled people in Washington tomorrow. The Women's March is forecast to be the largest gathering of people with disabilities in U.S. history — with at least 45,000 of them planning to show up. All the more reason to look out for your neighbors.
Text Hannah Ongley