Brooklyn, NY–I felt extremely empowered at the March 15th Rally against the 6% budget cuts, yet at the same time I’m profoundly sad, a little frightened and very worried that we live in a society and a culture that can shun and throw away disabled people like my brother Stephen, the poor, the working class, yet celebrate the rich, wealthy and moronic celebrities. How is it that in America, my country that I love and served in the Military (U.S. Army) to protect, has become a place where the poor and disabled have to fight for the basic dignities of life, whereas the Koch Brothers, Mayor Bloomberg, Rockefellers, Bushes, Rupert Murdoch, and the 1% are automatically entitled to not only the basics but even the small luxuries that should be available to all Americans? Disability rights and activism is also part of the Gospel of Inclusion. We refuse to go back to the days when developmentally and physically disabled children and adults were hidden away in attics or cast into torture chamber institutions never to be seen or heard from. Let’s view disability in a different light as being differently abled, not less than but a person with unique and special abilities.
It’s a crying shame the way we’ve devalued people with disabilities! We should have an allegiance to our most vulnerable populations, especially the disabled. It’s scary to see things moving backwards. I don’t want to see my brother Stephen warehoused in some institution. Willowbrook was a living nightmare for developmentally disabled people and a true disgrace. However each of us has to stand up and fight. I, Stephen and four van loads of his fellow residents went up to Albany on Tuesday in all that pouring rain to face off our elected officials. I’m doing my part to make sure the disabled are not cast aside like garbage on the trash heap. We need more alternative voices. We all must speak up. The rally more than proved that for me. We must not be lulled into apathy and compliancy by fear or the right wing media. We need to return to the civil disobedience of Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Rosa Parks.
One of my girlfriends from the Bronx informed me that I made the 11pm Channel 7 Eyewitness news and on the local Bronx Cable station. I believe that God hears the cries of his children especially the disabled and he will turn Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s heart towards us and restore the 6% budget cuts. Faith without works is dead. We have to make our government accountable to our most vulnerable citizens and for all Americans. Protest. March. Advocate. Be an Activist. Indifference equals death to our basic rights and freedoms. Be the solution and make it so!
-Deborah Ann Palmer-