A Brief Look at the Intersection of Women’s History, Black History, and Disability

The International Women's Day logo - Be bold for change

International Women’s Day 2017: #BeBoldForChange https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

 

 

International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month: In the US and most countries around the world, women with disabilities have faced multiple hardships in the form of reduced access and sometimes outright discrimination in education, housing, and employment – both as women and as people with a disability. In addition, women of color often face a third challenge. A blog writer took a look back on 14 remarkable women of color of the past who have made powerful differences for the present and the future.

As February was Black History Month and March is Women’s History Month, we’ll examine the intersection of the two through the lens of disability. Many notable African American women made lasting contributions despite their disabilities. It is important, however, to “see the person, not the disability.” The late Australian comedienne and disability advocate coined the term inspiration porn in protest that people with disabilities should be objects of inspiration to make non-disabled people feel good.

Social worker and disability advocate Vilissa Thompson in her excellent blog “Ramp Your Voice” has compiled a list of important works and other resources of these individuals.

 

Harriet Tubman black woman disabled disability

Harriet Tubman (1822–1913)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harriet Tubman (1822–1913), abolitionist known for her work on the Underground Railroad, suffered epileptic seizures. Because of her short stature, she was seen among slave owners as disabled, a low risk of escape.

 

 

Fannie Lou Hamer (1917–1977), Civil Rights Activist black woman disabled with a disability from polio

Fannie Lou Hamer (1917–1977), Civil Rights Activist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fannie Lou Hamer (1917–1977), was a civil rights activist who suffered physical disabilities from childhood polio.

 

 

Maya Angelou (1928–2014), laureate poet

Maya Angelou (1928–2014), was laureate poet and wrote a series of memoirs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maya Angelou (1928–2014), laureate poet, found a voice in her memoirs and poetry. As a child, she developed selective mutism after a sexual assault.

 

 

Wilma Rudolph (1940–1994) track Olympian with physical disability

Wilma Rudolph (1940–1994), track and field Olympian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wilma Rudolph (1940–1994) overcame childhood paralysis from the polio virus to become a track and field Olympian, the fastest woman in the world.

Honorable mention goes to Johnnie Lacy (1937-2010), an African American woman who from her wheelchair tirelessly advocated for the disability community. She has been recognized by the United African-Asian Abilities Club and the Temple University Disability Studies newspaper. (No copyright free photo of Ms. Lacy is available.)

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Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending February 10, 2017

waterloo-village-19th-century-mansion

This majestic 19th-century mansion can be seen at Waterloo Village, Stanhope, NJ (Sussex County). It has fallen on hard times, but remains protected until the time comes it can be restored to is former glory, a day that will come. Photo: Daniel L. Berek

At Advancing Opportunities, we excel in providing residential and respite services to people of with all disabilities, along with advocacy and education services for parents and guardians and assistive technology support. As a leader in the field, we are pleased to share our experience, knowledge, and expertise with the disability community through our social media outlets: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. In our Disability and Ability Highlights of the Week column, we will select the best of what we found and shared and present them. Please click on the titles with embedded links to find the full article.

Please stop by our website, http://advopps.org/, and find out all we have to offer. In addition, we are specialists in the area of assistive technology and offer a huge array of services; the Assistive Technology Center is New Jersey’s premier source of information and equipment.

 

 

Advancing Opportunities job announcement of the week:

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We’re hiring! Advancing Opportunities has immediate openings for part-time Direct-Support and Family-Support Professionals in residential care programs throughout New Jersey.

  • Wednesday, February 15: Family Support Center of NJ, 322 Rte. 46 W., Ste. 290. Parsippany, NJ 07054
  • Thursday, February 16: Phillipsburg Free Public Library, 200 Broubalow Way, Phillipsburg, NJ 08865

You can also visit us online, at: http://advopps.org/careers/

 

Disability in the news (mostly in New Jersey, the population we serve):

New Jersey State Senate bill S-2489 expands the definition of disability, enabling more veterans injured in service to use public transportation at discounted rates.

Vaccine exemptions for children are on the rise in New Jersey. A newspaper examines why. This poses a public health threat and does disservice to the autism community.

 

For parents of a child with a disability (parenting):

Article in The Atlantic: Problems with accessibility to autism services in many small towns.

 

Special Education:

The key role of strong relationships in early intervention

 

Advocacy and self-advocacy:

“Virtual march” makes Women’s March more accessible to people with disabilities.

Depathologizing Asperger’s & autism: It’s a normal and healthy neurological orientation.

 

Assistive technology:

“The Future of Assistive Technology Is Hear”

 

College for students with a disability:

How colleges are supporting students with autism

Thanks to programs of accommodation and inclusion, more and more students with learning and intellectual disabilities are going to college.

 

 

Informative, positive, noteworthy (or all three!):

For a quadruple amputee, an outlook changed in a very positive way.

In honor of both Black History Month (February) and International Women’s Day (March 8), here are some remarkable African American women who made history, despite the disabilities they happened to have.

Medical news – research:

Medicaid waivers help parents of children with autism stay in the workforce.

A pediatrician outlines the science behind MMR vaccines and explains why the anti-vaccine people are winning their debate, despite the lack of connection to autism and the grave public health risks involved.

 

Animals and animal therapy:

A beloved service dog named Jason has turned life around for Teresa Brown and her family.

Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending January 13, 2017

At Advancing Opportunities, we excel in providing residential and respite services to people of with all disabilities, along with advocacy and education services for parents and guardians and assistive technology support. As a leader in the field, we are pleased to share our experience, knowledge, and expertise with the disability community through our social media outlets: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. In our Disability and Ability Highlights of the Week column, we will select the best of what we found and shared and present them. Please click on the titles with embedded links to find the full article.

sad-soggy-farm-wagon

A sad, soggy farm wagon sits at Bergen County Zoo, Van Saun Park, Paramus, NJ. However, sunny days are just around the corner. Photo: Daniel L. Berek

Please stop by our website, http://advopps.org/, and find out all we have to offer. In addition, we are specialists in the area of assistive technology and offer a huge array of services; the Assistive Technology Center is New Jersey’s premier source of information and equipment.

 

 

Advancing Opportunities job announcement of the week:

 

Advancing Opportunities has immediate openings for part-time Direct Support Professionals in residential care programs throughout New Jersey.

 

Candidates will be providing direct care to men and women with disabilities in residential support programs and group home settings. This entails includes supervision and/or assistance with personal care, daily living activities, recreational pursuits, transportation, medical appointments, or any other needs the individuals may have.

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In January, we will be holding job fairs, each day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., as follows:

  • Wednesday, January 18: 322 Rte. 46 W., Ste. 290, Parsippany, NJ

 

If this location or time is not convenient, please visit: http://advopps.org/directcare_openings

 

 
 

Disability in the news (mostly in New Jersey, the population we serve):

Charlie’s Law, a New Jersey bill legislating rights for service dogs, is closer to becoming law.

The state of New Jersey has committed additional funds to autism medical homes at three Garden State hospitals.

Schools for students with special needs express concern over New Jersey Department of Education funding restrictions.

 

 
 

For parents of a child with a disability (parenting, special needs):

Unable to afford a separate apartment for their adopted son with Down syndrome and autism, a couple builds an accessory room to give him a degree of independence.

The latest edition of Zoom Autism magazine is now online… and it’s free!

 

 

Special Education:

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture announces $540,000 in funds to support current and prospective farmers with disabilities.
 

The importance of play takes on additional meaning for very young students with autism.

 

 

Advocacy and self-advocacy:

Three well-known disability advocacy organizations file a friend of the court brief in support of stronger requirements under IDEA. (Please see “Civil Rights,” below.”)

  

 

Assistive technology:

Here are some video clips of assistive technology tools from the recent Consumer Electronics Show.

 

 
 

Employment for people with disabilities:

As state governments mobilize, people with disabilities see gains in employment.
 

Civil rights and accessibility:

The EEOC issues affirmative action regulations regarding people with disabilities.

Supreme Court case: What is the level of educational benefit that school districts must confer on children with disabilities to provide them with the free appropriate public education guaranteed by IDEA? The preview was published the previous week.

Less than one-quarter of the countries in the world have a constitution prohibiting discrimination and enshrining equal rights for people with disabilities.

 

 
 

Informative, positive, noteworthy (or all three!):

Send in the clowns. In Tsfat (Safed), Israel, there are “medical clowns,” and they are helping children with autism.

Thank you to everyone who complimented us on our review of Everyday Aspergers. In case you missed it, here it is.

 

 
 

People with a disability in the community (disability rights and acceptance; inclusion): 

“When Children with #Autism Grow Up” – an oldie but goodie

 

 

 

Disability awareness and appreciation:

A new book, Walk in My Shoes, tells in 27 stories how deaf-blind people (Usher syndrome) meet the challenges of life.

Well-documented blog piece: “What Is Neurodiversity?” Does neurodiversity exclude people with severe disabilities?

From last year but still very relevant: People with mental illness are breaking the stigmas and coming out in public, with the help of social media.

 

 
 

Medical news – research:

For millions of women, the pill holds excellent benefits. However, for many women with depression or other mental illness, certain varieties have troubling side-effects.

A mutation that prevents some amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, from entering the brain may lead to autism.

Patterns of activity in certain brain regions may predict how well a child with autism will respond to a behavioral therapy.

Meta-analysis: “Autism and Visual Impairment: A Review of the Literature

Researchers have identified a new biomarker that could assist in treatments for symptoms of autism.

 

 
 

Animals and animal therapy:

Service dogs: how man’s best friend became man’s best medicine

 

A New Disability Advocate: The Ford Foundation

dude-with-ipad

Mature aged man with a disability operating touchscreen computer

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation makes a public effort to include people with disabilities.  He explained his organization’s initiative on the foundation’s blog in an open letter, titled Ignorance Is the Enemy: On the Power of Our Privelege and the Privilege of Our Power.   He cited the efforts of James Baldwin in the 1960s and 1970s and the Black Lives Matter movement of today as important forces in “confronting power, privilege, and ignorance.”  By privilege, Mr. Walker speaks of unearned advantages or preferential treatment one group holds over another.  And ignorance, he says, is such a ferocious enemy because of its conspiratorial silence.  As an African American gay man, Mr. Walker pledged his organization would focus on combating inequality.  At that time, leading disability advocates took Mr. Walker to task for overlooking a major constituency:  people with disabilities.  In this open letter, he acknowledges his error of omission with candor and has pledged to rectify it.  In his powerful and honest letter, he cites specific instances in which people of disabilities have faced all kinds of discrimination; in this context, he pledges to move “from ignorance to enlightenment.”

Carol Glazer, of the National Institute on Disability, was one of the first disability advocates to speak out in praise of Mr. Walker, in her blog post, “Ford Foundation’s Remarkable Mea Culpa Will Provide Greater Opportunities for People with Disabilities.”  The piece was published by Huffpost Business Mr. Walker, she says, has shown a profound leadership that should guide other philanthropic organizations.

Dr. Catherine Kudlick, of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, an important academic advocacy organization, acknowledged this important development but added that while it is an important start, more needs to be done.   She has three suggestions, which we quote:

  • Know that the best way to help people with disabilities is to find ways for disabled people to help you.  That means, says Dr. Kudlick, embracing the philosophy of “Nothing about us without us!”
  • Ask what it means to cure disability.   While alleviating physical or emotional suffering is important, says Dr. Kudlick, all too often the talk of a cure entails – even unintentionally – denying the disability rather than changing people’s attitudes.  Moreover, she says, it does not have to be an either/or.
  • Learn our history.  Doing so offers critical insight into important issues, such as discrimination.

Having said that, Dr. Kudlick is very pleased and optimistic about this development.  As an advocacy organization, so is the Advancing Opportunities team.