Disability rights must always have a seat at the social justice table.
Ihave been keeping up with the important work of the Women’s March on Washington since I heard the internet’s first rumblings about the event following the election of Donald Trump as president. I did not choose to get involved in planning, either nationally or locally, instead focusing on other forms of social justice activism, including writing, public speaking, podcasting, and calling legislators. But as January 21, the day of the march, neared, I started to contemplate attending — either in Washington, D.C. or New York City, one of several cities hosting its own event that day.
Concerned about accessibility, I visited the websites for the marches in both locations, relieved to see sections on each site dedicated to accessibility FAQs. I also felt reassured that some incredible disabled women I know are volunteering and organizing behind the scenes, and that several of my friends with disabilities will be joining marches around the country.
A few days later, I was excited, albeit slightly taken aback, when the official Women’s March account followed me on Twitter. (Okay, I had a dance party.)
Right after that, I was elated to see the account tweeting about #AbleBodiedPrivilege. I did a bit more searching, and was heartened by the direct mention of disability rights among the “Unity Principles” informing the Women’s March. So, it followed that I had high hopes for the inclusion of disabled women in the recently-released official platform of the Women’s March, which is directly linked on the “Unity Principles” page.
My heart sank when I read it.
The first time the word “disabilities” is mentioned, it shows zero recognition of disability as a social justice issue:
“We recognize that women of color carry the heaviest burden in the global and domestic economic landscape, particularly in the care economy. We further affirm that all care work — caring for the elderly…