Monday, April 17, 2017

4/29 #CripTheVote chat: First 100 Days

Graphic with a light green background. In black text: #CripTheVote Twitter Chat 100 Days in Office, April 29, 2017, 7 pm Eastern, Guest hosts @serenevannoy @AditiJuneja3 @RebelWheelsNYC, cripthevote.blogspot.com
Graphic with a light green background. In black text: #CripTheVote Twitter Chat 100 Days in Office, April 29, 2017, 7 pm Eastern, Guest hosts @serenevannoy @AditiJuneja3 @RebelWheelsNYC, cripthevote.blogspot.com
The co-partners of #CripTheVote, Gregg Beratan, Andrew Pulrang, and Alice Wong, invite you to reflect on the first hundred days of the current Presidential Administration. Joining us as guest hosts are Aditi Juneja, Co-Creator of the Resistance Manual and Co-Host of Self Care Sundays podcast, Serene Vannoy, Disability Rights Team Lead of the Resistance Manual, and Michele Kaplan, activist and creator of the What Is Ableism outreach project.


Please note this chat will be 75 minutes long instead of 1 hour.


How to Participate

Follow @GreggBeratan @AndrewPulrang @DisVisibility @AditiJuneja3 @serenevannoy @resistmanual @RebelWheelsNYC on Twitter
When it’s time, search #CripTheVote on Twitter for the series of live tweets under the ‘Latest’ tab for the full conversation.
If you don’t use Twitter, you can follow along in real time here: http://twubs.com/CripTheVote
If you might be overwhelmed by the volume of tweets and only want to see the chat’s questions so you can respond to them, check @DisVisibility’s account. Each question will tweeted 5-6 minutes apart.
Check out this explanation of how to participate in a Twitter chat by Ruti Regan: https://storify.com/RutiRegan/examplechat
Check out this captioned ASL explanation of how to participate in a chat by @behearddc
https://www.facebook.com/HEARDDC/videos/1181213075257528/
Introductory Tweets and Questions for 4/29 Chat

Welcome to the #CripTheVote chat looking back at the first 100 days of the current Presidential Administration.
We are pleased to have guest hosts @AditiJuneja3 @serenevannoy of the @resistmanual with us today!
Please remember to use the #CripTheVote hashtag when you tweet. FYI: today’s chat will be 75 min long.
If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #CripTheVote”
Q1 Check in: How are you feeling right now as we reach the 100-day mark in the current Administration? #CripTheVote
Q2 What have you learned in the last 100 days that changed or surprised you? #CripTheVote
Q3 What are your thoughts about the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act?  #CripTheVote
Q4 With the newest addition to the Supreme Court, Justice Neil Grosuch, how will this impact disability-related cases? #CripTheVote
Q5 On education & students w/ disabilities, what changes if any have you seen from @usedgov and Secretary Betsy Devos?  #CripTheVote
Q6 What concerns do you have w/ @TheJusticeDept in protecting & serving marginalized communities? #policing #CivilRights #CripTheVote
There have been a number of Executive Orders signed by the President in the last 100 days: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/executive-orders #CripTheVote
Q7 How have these Executive Orders impacted you & the communities you are a part of? #CripTheVote
Q8 What are some other actions by the current Administration that adversely impacted the disability community & other groups? #CripTheVote
.@resistmanual is an open-source platform w/ info on a number of issues w/ tools on how to resist https://www.resistancemanual.org #CripTheVote
Q9 What are some ways you've taken action or got involved with your community? What's your advice for other disabled ppl? #CripTheVote

Q10 How do you balance being up to date w/ all that’s happening and self care? #CripTheVote
Q11 What do you want to see in the disability community when it comes to organizing, resisting & being in solidarity w/ others? #CripTheVote
This concludes the #CripTheVote chat on the 1st 100 days. Thank you to our guest hosts @serenevannoy @AditiJuneja3 & @RebelWheelsNYC!
Please keep the convo going & join us 5/28 for our #CripTheVote chat on media coverage of disabled people
A Storify of this #CripTheVote chat will be up shortly. Thanks again!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

4/2 Twitter Chat: Disabled People in Public Service


Image description: graphic with a bright yellow background with black text that reads "#CripTheVote Twitter Chat Disabled People and Public Service, April 02, 2017, 9 pm Eastern, Guest hosts: @sblahov @RebeccaCokley, cripthevote.blogspot.com"
Image description: graphic with a bright yellow background with black text that reads "#CripTheVote Twitter Chat Disabled People and Public Service, April 02, 2017, 9 pm Eastern, Guest hosts: @sblahov @RebeccaCokley, cripthevote.blogspot.com"
Since #CripTheVote began more than a year ago our discussions have repeatedly come back to the need for disabled people in public service. The co-partners of #CripTheVote, Andrew Pulrang, Gregg Beratan, and Alice Wong, and guest hosts Rebecca Cokley and Sarah Blahovec will discuss the many of the issues surrounding disabled people and public service.

How to Participate

Follow @GreggBeratan @AndrewPulrang @DisVisibility @RebeccaCokley @sblahov on Twitter
When it’s time, search #CripTheVote on Twitter for the series of live tweets under the ‘Latest’ tab for the full conversation.
If you don’t use Twitter, you can follow along in real time here: http://twubs.com/CripTheVote
If you might be overwhelmed by the volume of tweets and only want to see the chat’s questions so you can respond to them, check @DisVisibility’s account. Each question will tweeted 6-8 minutes apart.
Check out this explanation of how to participate in a Twitter chat by Ruti Regan: https://storify.com/RutiRegan/examplechat
Check out this captioned ASL explanation of how to participate in a chat by @behearddc
https://www.facebook.com/HEARDDC/videos/1181213075257528/

Articles that may be of interest

Blahovec, Sarah. (February 1, 2017). Someone Should Help Disabled People Run for Office. NOS Magazine.

LaCorte, Rachel. (January 7, 2017). Washington Set to Swear in 1st Blind Lieutenant Governor. Associated Press.

Wade, Carrie. (January 23, 2017). 10 More Disabled Women Who Are Making Political Noise. Auto straddle.

Wong, Alice. (October 17, 2016). #CripTheVote Interview: Thida Cornes for Mountain View City Council.

Introductory Tweets and Questions for 4/2 Chat
Welcome to the #CripTheVote chat on disabled people in public service! Let’s do this!

This is the 5th #CripTheVote chat of 2017. We also have a new blog with updates and events: http://cripthevote.blogspot.com/p/upcoming-cripthevote-events_12.html   
Please remember to use the #CripTheVote hashtag when you tweet.
If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #CripTheVote”
Q1 Why is it important to have disabled people involved in public service? #CripTheVote
The top policy rec in our survey last year was more disabled people to govt & policy-making positions http://svy.mk/1UbDWju #CripTheVote
Q2 What forms of public service are out there for people to be a part of? #CripTheVote
Q3 How can we as a community support & encourage more disabled people to get involved in public service? #CripTheVote
Q4 What are the barriers preventing people from various forms of service? Are there ways of circumventing/bypassing them? #CripTheVote
Q5 Is it important that disabled people run for office? Why? #CripTheVote
Q6 What perspectives/knowledges/skills do disabled people bring to public service that nondisabled people don’t? #CripTheVote
For our next 2 questions, we’ll switch formats so you ask our guest hosts some questions about public service #CripTheVote
Q7 What Qs do you have @RebeccaCokley who is a lifelong disability activist has worked in fed govt in various capacities? #CripTheVote
Q8 What Qs do you have for @Sblahov, a disabled activist trying to encourage disabled people to run for office?  #CripTheVote
This concludes the #CripTheVote chat on disabled people in public service. Many thanks to our guest hosts @RebeccaCokley & @Sblahov!!
Please keep the convo going & join us 4/29 for our #CripTheVote chat about the 1st 100 days of the current administration w/ @serenevannoy

Sunday, March 19, 2017

#CripTheVote Chat on the GOP Healthcare Plan and the Disability Community - DATE CHANGE

#CripTheVote Twitter Chat - GOP Healthcare Plan and the Disability Community - March 21, 2017 - Guest hosts: @ADAPTerBruce and @JustStimming - cripthevote.blogspot.com

#CripTheVote Twitter Chat
GOP Healthcare Plan and the Disability Community

NOTE … DATE HAS BEEN CHANGED

*** Tuesday, March 21, 7 PM EST ***

We have decided to reschedule this chat for a couple of days earlier, to give people a little more time to take post-chat action before the next major step in this process, a House of Representatives vote on Thursday.

The co-partners of #CripTheVote, Gregg Beratan, Andrew Pulrang, and Alice Wong, invite you to the 17th Twitter chat focusing on the proposed Republican Health Care bill, The American Health Care Act (AHCA). What should you know about this bill? How will it impact people with disabilities? What can you do express your views? 

We are thrilled to have guest hosts Bruce Darling of the Center for Disability Rights and Julia Bascom of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network join and share the latest information with us.

We are also in the process of collecting Medicaid stories from the disability community. Details here: http://cripthevote.blogspot.com/2017/03/call-for-your-medicaidstories.html

Additional articles on the AHCA

Sarah Kliff, March 13, 2017, Vox.com

Rebecca Vallas, Katherine Gallagher Robbins, and Jackie Odum, March 8, 2017, Center for American Progress.

Disability Rights Education Defense Fund, March 15, 2017.

Storify of our October 9, 2016 chat on health care policy.

How to Participate


When it’s time, search #CripTheVote on Twitter for the series of live tweets under the ‘Latest’ tab for the full conversation.

If you don’t use Twitter, you can follow along in real time here: http://twubs.com/CripTheVote

If you might be overwhelmed by the volume of tweets and only want to see the chat’s questions so you can respond to them, check @DisVisibility’s account. Each question will be tweeted 5-6 minutes apart.

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a Twitter chat by Ruti Regan: https://storify.com/RutiRegan/examplechat

Check out this captioned ASL explanation of how to participate in a chat by @behearddc

Introductory Tweets and Questions for 3/23 Chat

Welcome to the #CripTheVote chat on the #AHCA w/ guest hosts @ADAPTerBruce @JustStimming. Please remember to use the hashtag when you tweet.

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #CripTheVote

Please note throughout this chat: #ACA = Affordable Care Act and the new bill is the #AHCA = American Health Care Act #CripTheVote

Q1: What health care services are most important to you? #CripTheVote

Q2: If you are uninsured or if you have insufficient health insurance, what are the main barriers you face accessing services? #CripTheVote

Q3: What would happen if you lost your health insurance … short term, long term? Be specific. #CripTheVote

Q4: What are some core provisions and services disabled people should require from any healthcare bill? #CripTheVote

Q5: What are the specific elements of the #AHCA are you most concerned about? Why? #CripTheVote

Q6: How will multiply-marginalized disabled people be disproportionately impacted by the #AHCA? #CripTheVote

Q7: Is there a realistic pathway for preserving the disability-related services & protections of the #ACA? If so, what? #CripTheVote

Q8: What strategies should we pursue with Republican and Democratic Members of Congress? #CripTheVote

Q9: How can we fully explain to people outside of the disability community the importance of healthcare in our lives? #CripTheVote

Q10: What’s one thing we should all do tomorrow to express our views about healthcare and the #AHCA specifically? #CripTheVote

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Call for Your #MedicaidStories!

Image description: Graphic with white background and black text that reads: "#CripTheVote Call for Your #MedicaidStories http://bit.ly/2mQQDoW" On the upper left-corner of the image is a graphic of a stethoscope in gray, pink, and black. On the upper right-corner of the image is a graphic of a pink heart with a heart beat sign across it. On the lower-left corner of the image is a graphic of two band-aids crossed like an X in pink and dark pink. On the lower right-corner are graphics of 3 identical prescription bottles in gray, blue, and black with a pink plus sign in the center of each.
Stories are powerful ways to illustrate the relationship between the individual, policies, and practices. They give examples of real-life consequences to changes in programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. The personal IS political.

The co-partners of #CripTheVote invite you to share your Medicaid Stories. Your stories will be featured in blog posts and other social media content as part of our our activism to save and defend Medicaid.

Share your #MedicaidStories by clicking here on this link.

Also, please join us for our 3/21 Twitter chat at 7 pm ET: GOP Healthcare Plan and The Disability Community, with guest hosts Bruce Darling and Julia Bascom.

THANK YOU!!!

Gregg Beratan, Andrew Pulrang, and Alice Wong
Co-Partners, #CripTheVote

[Header image description: graphic with white background and black text that reads: "#CripTheVote Call for Your #MedicaidStories http://bit.ly2mQQDoW. On the upper left-corner of the image is a graphic of a stethoscope in gray, pink, and black. On the upper right-corner of the image is a graphic of a pink heart with a heart beat sign across it. On the lower-left corner of the image is a graphic of two band-aids crossed like an X in pink and dark pink. On the lower right-corner are graphics of 3 identical prescription bottles in gray, blue, and black with a pink plus sign in the center of each].

Monday, March 6, 2017

#CripTheVote Twitter Chat: Protecting The ADA

#CripTheVote Twitter Chat Protecting the ADA March 12, 2017, 7 pm Eastern cripthevote.blogspot.com

#CripTheVote Twitter Chat
Protecting the ADA
Sunday, March 12, 2017, 7 pm EST/ 4 pm Pacific

In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast.” This is particularly true with the current administration and changes in policies and programs that seem to happen on a daily basis.

Join the co-partners of #CripTheVote, Gregg Beratan, Andrew Pulrang, and Alice Wong, in a conversation on the importance of protecting the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the proposed changes to this law that may impact people with disabilities.

This chat will be focused on the strengths and weaknesses of the ADA, the misconceptions of it, and a look at a bill introduced earlier this year, H.R. 620: ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017. This is a bill “To amend the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to promote compliance through education, to clarify the requirements for demand letters, to provide for a notice and cure period before the commencement of a private civil action, and for other purposes.”

How to Participate

Follow @GreggBeratan @AndrewPulrang  @DisVisibility on Twitter.

When it’s time, search #CripTheVote on Twitter for the series of live tweets under the ‘Latest’ tab for the full conversation.

If you don’t use Twitter, you can follow along in real time here: http://twubs.com/CripTheVote

If you might be overwhelmed by the volume of tweets and only want to see the chat’s questions so you can respond to them, check @DisVisibility’s account. Each question will be tweeted 5-6 minutes apart.

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a Twitter chat by Ruti Regan: https://storify.com/RutiRegan/examplechat

Check out this captioned ASL explanation of how to participate in a chat by @behearddc
https://www.facebook.com/HEARDDC/videos/1181213075257528/

Introductory Tweets and Questions for 3/12 Chat

Welcome to the #CripTheVote chat on protecting the #ADA! Please remember  to use the hashtag when you tweet.

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #CripTheVote

Q1 Based on your experiences, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the Americans with Disabilities Act? #CripTheVote

H.R. 620: ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 is a bill introduced in Jan 2017: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr620 #CripTheVote

H.R. 620 seeks to amend the #ADA to ‘promote compliance through education’ & among other measures to delay civil actions. #CripTheVote

Proponents of this bill say that the amendment is intended to curtail ‘nuisance’ or ‘serial’ lawsuits. #CripTheVote

These issue have been around for a long time, but a recent 60 Minutes segment summarizes the claims. #CripTheVote http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-americans-with-disabilities-act-lawsuits-anderson-cooper/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7d&linkId=31955379

Blog post by @LFlegal w/ quotes from @IngridTischer regarding the “60 Minutes” story. http://www.lflegal.com/2016/12/60-minutes/ #CripTheVote

Also, “An Open Letter Opposing Ableism in ABA Section on Litigation Programming” https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdGCeu9knUilZcW2k7H_IMyYnRP1P2YQWvM-QlwVV-fRu_61w/viewform #CripTheVote

Q2 How would the disability community be affected by notification & waiting periods before being able to file a lawsuit? #CripTheVote

Q3 Have you ever filed an official ADA complaint or lawsuit? If so, what can you share about the experience? #CripTheVote

Q4 How often do you encounter violations of the ADA and what are the most common violations you experience? #CripTheVote

Q5 When you encountered access barriers & other #ADA violations in the past, how did you respond? Did you get a resolution? #CripTheVote

Q6 Please share any examples in your local community of lawsuits that resulted in ADA compliance & improved access. #CripTheVote

Q7 If there are some people using the ADA only to make money, what could we do about it without weakening the ADA? #CripTheVote

Q8 How much of a practical impediment would it be to require negotiation first before filing lawsuits? #CripTheVote

Q9 No law is perfect, but why is it important to protect the ADA in its current form?  #CripTheVote

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Change of Plan for the Next #CripTheVote Chat

#CripTheVote Twitter Chat Protecting the ADA March 12, 2017 7 PM eastern - cripthevote.blogspot.com
It looks like an "ADA notification bill" has been re-introduced in Congress, and the risk of it passing is probably greater now than ever before. We have decided to postpone our March 12th chat on "Disabled People in Public Service," and instead host a discussion on "Defending the ADA." The date and time will be the same ... Sunday, March 12, at 7 PM Eastern, but the topic will be different. The public service chat will be held at some later date.

House of Representatives bill H.R. 620: ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, (click the link to see details of the bill), would require a waiting period and documented efforts at resolution for Americans with Disabilities Act complaints before private lawsuits could be filed. If you experienced an ADA violation, you would not be able to sue until you first contacted the business owner to try and resolve the problem, and waited a certain amount of time to let them fix the problem, before being allowed to sue. The most often cited reason for this is instances of disabled individuals and their lawyers filing dozens of ADA lawsuits against businesses, supposedly completely by surprise, and supposedly to make money off out of court settlements. That's the story anyway.

Obviously, there's another side or two to this narrative, and in the next few days we will post some questions that will structure our chat. Stay tuned, but in the meantime, change your calendars accordingly!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Voting Rights in Georgia

Below is a message from a voting rights lawyer in Atlanta looking for eligible voters with disabilities who are willing to share their thoughts on the accessibility of Georgia's absentee ballot system.
Are you an eligible Georgia voter?  My name is Bryan Sells, and I'm an attorney in Atlanta who specializes in voting rights. I believe that Georgia's absentee ballot system may be inaccessible for voters with certain disabilities, and I'd like to hear from people who might be affected.  
Georgia law does not currently offer any accommodations for disabled voters who want to vote by absentee ballot, but there are new technologies that might be able to help.  
If you have a disability that would prevent you from marking an absentee ballot without assistance *and* you use assistive technology, like screen-reading software, that might enable you to mark an online ballot with your computer, I want to hear from you.  It's OK if you haven't actually voted by absentee ballot in the past.  This is about having the equal right to vote in future elections.
Anyone interested in talking with me about their experiences can reach me by phone at 404-480-4212 or by email at <bryan@bryansellslaw.com>.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Feb. 6, 2017 Twitter Chat: Disability Identity & Activism

Storify of last night's blockbuster chat that had #CripTheVote "trending" on Twitter for awhile. The next chat will be February 12, on Disabled People in Public Service. Stay tuned for more details when we get closer to the date.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

#CripTheVote Activism Stories: Advice for First-Timers

A few weeks ago, we posted a survey asking people to talk about what disability activism and identity mean to them, and how they came to be involved. Here are some selected quotes from answers we received on how to help people new to activism. Join us for our next #CripTheVote chat on Disability Identity and Activism, Monday, February 6, at 7:00 PM EST.

If you are uncomfortable with activism …

"Take whatever steps you are comfortable taking. Time and experience will help you take more steps."

-- Di Steiner @DM_dimntd

"If you can't get comfortable getting a little uncomfortable, the person you wish to change won't either. CripTheVote creates a community where we can find comfort in one another, grow our ideas and grow our political power."

-- Liz Jackson @elizejackson

"I'm still starting out myself...It seems scary at first and like it will be hard but when you get responses and people see what you are doing and you know you are educating others and helping people everything is worth it."

-- Ev

"When I started I had an image of what activism looked like, and I castigated myself for failing to meet that expectation. I found myself at my most effective when I played toward my strengths, rather than trying to fit a pre-existing image of what I should be. I love synthesizing and disseminating information and ideas, especially engaging on a one-to-one basis, and that has formed the foundation of my activism. Activism is, by nature, not always easy, but it's important that the kind of work I do is, at least in part, something that comes naturally to me or that I am comfortable with. That forms a base of accomplishment upon which I can stack other kinds of action that stretch me in new and challenging ways, but prevents me from feeling like I'm constantly out of my depth."

-- Sam de Leve @ChaiKovsky

"Sometimes activism is about starting small and then building up to a level you feel comfortable with."

-- Anonymous

"Don't feel your view of issues or your activism have to completely conform to a certain set of beliefs, positions, or community norms. At the same time, be open to learning what the community's consensus beliefs, positions, and norms are. You can commit to what you are comfortable with and abstain from what you aren't. But as you gain experience try to stretch your thinking and possibly your work to encompass more areas that you were previously uncomfortable with. Take care of yourself, keep your critical faculties sharpened in all situations, hold yourself to strong principles, be gentle to others, especially when they don't fully live up to your principles. Disability activism is important, but by itself it won't make you a great person or a terrible person ... so relax a little."

-- Andrew Pulrang @AndrewPulrang

"Everything is uncomfortable when you've not done it before. There is very little to be lost in putting your own voice out there, rather than letting others speak for you. You will invariably be more accurate than they are... everyone is comfortable with something - it is just a question of finding how you can use that to advance your cause or someone else's."

-- Tim Abbott @mhdtim

Before getting started ...

"...unless a person develops a sense of disability pride, they're probably not going to be very likely to fight for themselves and the community, because they might think "Oh, it's me that is the problem." "I want too much", when really it's the system."

-- michele @rebelwheelsnyc

"You start where you are. Do whatever brings freedom to closer to you. There are no rules. If someone tells you, "No, no, don't say that," feel free to say it louder."

-- Anonymous @georgesdryad

"What I would suggest is seek out disability rights groups, or an independent living center and ask how you can be involved in the disability community. It is important for persons with disabilities to learn our history, the problems we faced and still face today, try and get to know others with different disabilities other than your own. Just reach out. Try not to get overwhelmed. Learn the difficulties and problems facing the disabled community today and find the courage to say: "I don't like this, I want this to change!"

-- Anonymous

"Sharing your own experiences and not feeling ashamed is a start."

-- Suzanne

"I would start with self-reflection and reading/learning about power and privilege.  Then I would ask yourself "If I don't fight for myself and my community, then who will?" To me, the answer is clear."

-- Lisette @LisetteETorres3

"Perhaps start by being curious.  Seek connections.  Ask questions about basic things, or complicated ideas.  Read threads.  Ask which threads might be useful depending on your interest.  Realize that what seem to be small, everyday actions are actually resistance to the status quo.  That you can build on that.  Know that you are welcome!"

-- Linden Gue @DagbokDog

Examples of first steps …

"Start small. Talk with friends."

-- Blow Pop @blowpopsreviews

"Hook up with people who are active in advocacy and seek their support. You don't have to be the world's loudest and proudest, but with support you can even simply mail a senator or speaker to a store manager about an obstacle."

-- Mary Mactavish @Mactavish

"I started by learning, and talking about it with other people with disabilities. It might not seem like much, but it's a beginning. Often times, you may see others who are doing things and decide to get involved. That helps take some of the pressure off... You can be involved as an activist, but you may not feel comfortable organizing yet."

-- Christine M @ChrisDisability

"Finding local activist groups is important. If your city has an office of equity, make sure that disability rights are included in the discussion, as well as at the school district level."

-- Suzanne

"I began getting involved anonymously by joining support groups relating to my specific conditions through alias accounts on social media (I've found Tumblr to be an especially friendly community for 'spoonies'.) The support I found in those communities boosted my confidence and energized me to make more public displays of my solidarity with and support for disability rights. But one of the benefits of online activism is that you can take part in it anonymously if that's a more comfortable way for you to connect and get involved."

-- Amanda H

"As long as one can and feels comfortable participating in social media, that's an easy place to start. You can retweet other people's takes on Twitter if you feel they express it better than you would. You can participate in various disability-themed chats, which helps broaden perspectives in the disability community... I haven't gone to a disability-specific march yet, but one can always try to reach protest/march organizers ahead of the event date and ask them nicely what they've done to include disabled people. There might be time for them to make things more accessible and if not, now they know that you (and others) are out there and would like that. And as one gets more experienced/active, one can undoubtedly join in organizing, which would be one way of ensuring your experience as a disabled person is helping to form the event."

-- Megan Lynch @may_gun

"I suggest starting by looking for opportunities in the community. Talk to local organizations that deal with disabilities (retirement homes/senior centers, schools, child care/foster care groups, medical/physical therapy, shelters are just some examples). Once you find a group or cause it'll be easier to find something you'd like to do some activism, like raising money for a charity, circulating petitions for government, speaking at local school board meetings, whatever is relevant to you & the specific thing you want to do. It's a great thing & if you just put your mind to it & your heart in it, it is really worthwhile."

-- Anonymous

"People are afraid to speak out, and disabled people are so often objectified or spoken over/for that it's hard to cultivate and amplify our own voices. Accessible mediums -- for me, Twitter -- are crucial, as is creating a disability community that those with mobility issues can access.  The internet is a powerful tool.  It's where so many disabled people see others like themselves for the first time -- that is true for me.  It's our amplifier, our recruitment tool, our soapbox.  We can use it, and we must keep using it, all the while listening to disabled people as to how to make it as accessible as possible."

-- Aleksei Mirov @ai_valentin 

"participating on twitter has been really good for me in terms of becoming more comfortable with my limits in the real world sphere and being ok with the fact that i don't have to make a phone call if it will completely fuck up the rest of my day/week, or if i can't leave the house i don't have to go to a protest. i'm learning that sometimes staying alive at all is radical when the authorities don't want you to be alive."


-- kate @kavoogs

#CripTheVote Activism Stories: Definitions and Motivations

A few weeks ago, we posted a survey asking people to talk about what disability activism and identity mean to them, and how they came to be involved. Here are some selected quotes from answers we received on disability identity. Join us for our next #CripTheVote chat on Disability Identity and Activism, Monday, February 6, at 7:00 PM EST.

Defining activism and/or advocacy 

"I identify as advocate. I don't have much reason other than activism feels more like butting heads...and advocacy feels more like conversation, bringing people along..."

-- Liz Jackson @elizejackson

"I am an activist/advocate because I can't keep my mouth shut.  I want to draw people in toward understanding. My definition of activism is broad.  Any act that disrupts the status quo is activism.  Being disabled in public is an act of resistance.  Being genuine and unapologetic is an act of resistance.  Speaking truth on social media, in conversations, not accepting being an object of inspiration porn... staying alive and as well as possible is an act of defiance and resistance."

-- Linden Gue @DagbokDog

"I define activism as getting involved , educating people on disability issues and policy's especially ones that many people don't understand."

-- Lauren Norman @jrtgirl35

"What I define as activism is standing up for what you believe in and shouting at the top of your lungs against things you know is wrong. You must take a stand for your community, get mean if you must but I try not to. I believe that all persons with disabilities should unite together, not just stay in our own groups, to confront the problems we face today.”

-- Anonymous

"Activism, for me, is putting myself on the line as the image of who is being harmed.  It's owning being harmed and pushing back against it.  It's standing in solidarity with intersecting oppressions and insisting that either we get there together or none of us get there at all.  A free, just society is one in which everyone has their needs met without suffering or undue burden.  To be an activist is to work for that society, no matter the cost."

-- Aleksei Mirov @ai_valentin

"I am an Autistic self-advocate and activist. Advocacy I would define as more "working for ___" and activism as being advocacy with maybe being louder or more out there. Activism is to make people aware. Advocacy is for fighting or working towards something. It's hard to separate them into two different things..."

-- Ev

"Activism is using yourself to lift up other people's voices, advocacy is using your own voice to speak for others."

-- Tim Abbott @mhdtim

"To me, activism/advocacy is not always pointing things out the discriminatory things in culture, because that can be tiring and one can't be expected to do that all the time. So, I think it is also learning how to accept oneself in a culture (past, current, and hopefully not future) that teaches ableism is an acceptable thing and GOOD thing."

-- Anonymous

"For me, advocacy is fighting for my own rights and needs. Activism is fighting for the whole disability community's rights and needs."

-- Andrew Pulrang @AndrewPulrang

 "I don't call myself an activist or advocate. I just put my thoughts around disability on twitter and they seem to resonate with people. I don't know what being an activist entails so I'm loath to call myself one. If other people see my thoughts, opinions and activity as activism so be it."

-- Anonymous

"I define activism as any deliberate action, no matter how small, toward a more just existence for all people."

-- Flynn Germain @flynngermain

"Activism to me is challenging power, privilege, and oppression in all of its forms.”

-- Lisette @LisetteETorres3

"Activism is freedom. I can no longer quietly conform to a system that subordinates me."

-- Anonymous @georgesdryad

"i think there is a mainstream description of activist that i feel like i don't ID with, and i don't know how much of that is internalized ableism and how much of it is just not necessarily identifying with that. i think intellectually i want to argue that activism and advocacy aren't necessarily the mainstream definition i'm thinking of, particularly for spoonies who aren't always able to be present in the same way people traditionally view activists as. but i 'm struggling to internalize that on an emotional level."

-- kate @kavoogs

Motivation for being an activist or advocate

"I'm an activist because I have to be.  I go to a disability-hostile school.  I live in a disability-hostile world.  I learned to fight early from my Latinx immigrant father, and I've never met a challenge I couldn't take on.  I can't use my fists, so now I use my words.  14 years of higher ed and being multilingual gives me a rhetorical ferocity and fearlessness that overcomes my anxiety."

-- Aleksei Mirov @ai_valentin

"I want to do what I can to help people like me who may not have the same resources."

-- Anonymous

"I am definitely an activist (though I also advocate for myself.) I am an activist because there is a vat load of fuckery and oppression going on in this country (and world) and I know we can do better, so I fight for that."

-- Michele @rebelwheelsnyc

"I am an activist/advocate because I can't keep my mouth shut.  I want to draw people in toward understanding."

-- Linden Gue @DagbokDog

"I'm an activist and advocate. I admin forums for PWD and help promote Lyme literacy. I'm an activist because I ACT - by opposing measures and behaviors intended to hide us or keep us quiet or refuse the help we need. I'm an advocate because I teach and provide support myself and through forums."

- Besame @BesameChispa

"I have to use my voice. I've learned that my voice has power as a self advocate, and advocating for issues I care about is the next step. I typically see activists as people who are "out there" doing things, and not just using their voice through speech or writing - advocacy. I have been called an activist, and it initially made me uncomfortable - I typically see myself as more of an advocate... Willing to use my voice, but not likely to be out on the street demanding change. What I've realized is, I am becoming an activist. Wanting to take legislative action is something I see activists doing, and that's the direction I'm heading."

-- Christine M @ChrisDisability

"There was a time that I only focused on the rights of Autistic people, but after joining a group called YO! Disabled and Proud I got to meet other people with different disabilities. I realized we all face the same problems. I decided that rather than being an activist for just the Autistic Community, I decided to be an activist for the Disabled Community as a whole. I have made a lot of non-Autistic friends with different disabilities."

-- Anonymous

"I feel a responsibility to others who are suffering to leverage the resources, privileges and experiential knowledge I have gained to try to lessen their burden and empower future generations of disabled people, as was done for me. I've benefited tremendously by brave 'activists' whose activism took many different forms."

-- Amanda H

"When I became disabled I had to advocate for myself in order to do things I wanted to do (participate in athletics, dance, etc). I found that the best way to accomplish that was to effect systems change, which not only enabled me to do those things, but the people who come behind me as well."

-- Sam de Leve @ChaiKovsky

"I took up being an activist during my last few years in college. I noticed more and more as my classmates fervently fought for the rights of everyone, I got left behind. While my university championed having gender neutral bathrooms I still didn't have an accessible bathroom in the building on campus where I worked: and no one cared. I was excluded from discussions about minority, being told that I wasn't a real minority and that I didn't experience 'true' discrimination. And worse, when I recanted these situations to friends they agreed! I realized no one but me was going to stand up and say it was wrong and that I mattered too."

-- Kit @mathnskating

Examples of activism from your life

"I am a journalist by trade and activism came to me as a natural response to the UK government's attacks on disabled people's rights. Amplifying people's stories became a useful use of my skills."

-- Tim Abbott @mhdtim

"traumatic brain injury is known as the silent epidemic and i work everyday to bring awareness. Activism and advocacy is writing letters, emails, twitter, phone calls, lunches once a month at my house for other survivors, and using my connections to the media and others to create opportunities for others...to bring about awareness"

-- Anonymous

"I am interested in politics and policy anyway, and as a disabled person I feel these issues personally. I also feel I have insights into disability issues that not everyone can give."

-- Andrew Pulrang @AndrewPulrang

"I mostly engage in activism online through blogging/social media, fundraising/donating to causes I believe in, and sending emails to my reps. I like to think that even if all I accomplish is increasing visibility of disabilities due to mental health and chronic illness, that I've done at least something."

-- Anonymous

"I consider myself to be a scholar-activist. I fight for intersectional social justice, focusing mainly on the intersections of race, gender, and, now, disability. I am currently forming a national coalition for Latinxs with disabilities with colleagues from across the country."

-- Lisette @LisetteETorres3

"Additionally, for those people who have the need to create fiction, creating characters with marginalized identities can be a very beneficial thing, not just for oneself, but for others if you feel you are able to put your works out there safely. Representation is always a good thing. Our communities can always use more complex disabled protagonists. :3"

-- Anonymous

"I've been to protests, I've made calls and sent letters, I've turned up at city hall, but I've never done that *primarily* as a disabled person. I advocate strongly online, though. I also try to educate in person when things come up. Since I speak up about my disability and advocate for myself in school and volunteer positions, I suppose I'm raising the profile of people with invisible disabilities."

-- Megan Lynch @may_gun

"Activism and advocacy aren't limited to the conventional activities that come to mind (e.g., canvassing, lobbying representatives about legislation, signing petitions). The advocacy that was most instrumental in empowering me came from personal, informal blog posts I located online - powerfully candid accounts from a woman detailing her personal experiences with an embarrassing condition that I was suffering from, too. Her bravery inspired hundreds of others who were feeling ashamed and embarrassed to come forward and share their experiences and crowd-source their knowledge for the collective benefit of the group."


-- Amanda H