During the primaries, and with the general election fast approaching, political candidates are appealing to many groups. However, there has been increasing concern about whether people running for office are considering the needs of the nation’s largest minority: people with disabilities. Three disability advocates, Alice Wong, Andrew Pulrang, and Gregg Beratan have launched a campaign to address this shortcoming: Crip the Vote. These disability advocates are the forces behind DisabilityVisibility and Disability Thinking. The first is “a nonpartisan campaign to engage both voters and politicians in a productive discussion about disability issues in the United States, with the hope that disability takes on greater prominence within the American political landscape.” DisabilityVisibility started as an extension of the StoryCorps project, to give a voice to people with a meaningful life story that might not otherwise be heard or told. The latter is a blog on various disability issues. It offers a one-stop reference to learn how to register to vote and the positions of the candidates, so they can make an informed choice. Moreover, people with disabilities are urged to question and petition the candidates on issues affecting them. The Rev Up Campaign is coordinating a National Disability Registration Week, July 11-15. And, most important, this advocacy work must continue beyond the election, as Congress is responsible for enacting laws that protect the rights of people with a disability.
A Word About That Word: “Crip”
The casual observer may question the use of the word crip. After all, it is a shortened version of the derogatory term cripple. The organizers of the Sex and Disability Conference, held November 2015, reclaimed the word as an inclusive term to represent people with all disabilities.