Friday, October 26, 2018

Young Adult with Disabilities to Healthcare Justice Activist: A Narrative and a Plea to Vote

Black and white photo of a white woman wearing glasses, looking upward and smiling, holding two Muppet-like dolls
Photo by Nate Gowdy
This essay is part of a partnership between #CripTheVote and Rooted In Rights. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

===============

My Early Interest In Politics
By Leslie A. Zukor

My first memories of being interested in politics were in eighth grade, when we learned about political theory. I remember being fascinated about how democracy could morph into authoritarianism. By the time I had completed one semester of high school, I had perused political philosophy. Plato was a personal favorite, and I found myself gravitating toward conservative ideas - especially on matters like abortion and other cultural issues. During my sophomore, junior, and senior years, I volunteered on political campaigns, from the state legislature to the US Congress, and even ventured to Washington, DC for a couple of educational programs.

However, it wasn’t until I identified as a disabled person that my worldview began to crystallize. For most of high school, political issues were mere abstractions. I grew up in a wealthy suburb of Seattle, so my food, shelter, and college education were not in question. Before I was an adult with diagnosed disabilities, I had little awareness of healthcare, the economy, and our social safety net. In short, living in wealthy suburbia culminated in privilege, as well as obliviousness to the political and economic realities so many people face.

The Onset of Disability and My Political Consciousness

While I was taking summer courses in between my freshman and sophomore years of college, everything changed. Attending Wellesley, I had hoped to major in Classical Studies and Philosophy, and to do graduate work in either politics or history. From my nineteen-year-old vantage point, my life’s story would inevitably culminate in a PhD and a job somewhere in academia. However, driven by stress, biological factors, and ill-advised medication given by my neurologist, I suffered a breakdown, which culminated in mood dysregulation, panic disorder, and PTSD. During my three-and-a-half-week hospitalization, I started seeing the first signs of what would become nearly a decade and a half of disability.

Only a few weeks after my hospitalization, my family received its first bills for my medical care back in Boston. I quickly learned that I was lucky that my Dad had taken out a policy for me through Wellesley that had covered mental health, because our Washington State-based Regence insurance didn’t afford the same protections. As a result, my family and I averted a $30,000+ hospital bill. No longer was the issue of healthcare merely an abstraction; no longer were prescription drug costs something that only my elders had to face. Now, as a person whose disabilities required medication for the rest of her life, issues I once took for granted were now a matter of life vs. death, poverty vs. sustenance. As my family paid more and more for my medical bills, totalling well over $400,000 in fourteen years, I came to the realization that affordable, accessible healthcare was a preeminent disability right.

Involving Myself in Electoral and Single-Issue Politics

My healthcare justice activism was ultimately motivated by the cementing of my identity as a disabled American. In 2014, I was officially approved for Social Security Disability. Seeing how much Medicare and low income subsidies I personally qualified for under Part D benefited my life, I actively advocated for the policy for all Americans. Thus, it should come as no surprise that I spent the better part of a year volunteering for Bernie Sanders’s Presidential campaign, being a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Convention, and serving as First Vice Chair of the Washington State Democrats Disabilities Issues Caucus. In all of my activism, some of which garnered press coverage, I emphasized the importance of single-payer healthcare for people with disabling, chronic health conditions, like myself.

Although the primaries ended in a loss for my candidate, my personal journey in politics was just beginning. Inspired by the state’s caucus system and my own involvement in the electoral process, I delved full-speed ahead into the healthcare justice movement. In October of 2016, I joined Health Care For All - WA, where I now sit on the Political Action Committee. I also volunteered for a year as Steering Committee President, Events Committee Chair, and served a stint on the Board of Directors for Whole Washington, a well-intentioned, but poorly executed Washington State initiative campaign, to ensure healthcare for every man, woman, and child - regardless of ability or disability.

Setting my Sights on Single Payer

The pinnacle of my political involvement came in January of 2018, when I testified before our state legislature’s health committee on Senate Bill 5701, which would have established a single-payer system in Washington State. Although I had only a minute to speak, I emphasized the bill’s positive impact on disabled people struggling to find insurance, and also recounted my personal story - one that included a private insurer’s chiding my family and me on a recorded line to go to the hospital, in lieu of covering my psychiatric medications on an outpatient basis.

Equally powerful, I elucidated the harrowing reality that the only reason I was alive was because my parents could afford to pay for the best doctors and most cutting-edge treatments when I was a young adult, without which I may well have succumbed to suicide. I was later told that the friendly overflow crowd gave me thunderous applause in the hall. This chance to offer my voice and experience as a disabled person in service of actual policy was transformative for me, and inspires my efforts to continue advocating for the crucial disability right of ensuring quality, affordable healthcare for all.

Voting and Values

With our next national election coming up quickly, I have had plenty of time to reflect on my political journey - from being raised by a liberal mom and a center-left dad, to becoming a young conservative, to ultimately arriving at progressivism in my late twenties. I realize that with different formative experiences, my beliefs and values would have been far different. Thus, even though advocating for a healthcare system abolishing private insurance companies culminates in my voting for left-leaning politicians, another person with a disability might see the same issue from a polar opposite perspective. As someone who values freedom of conscience, I would urge everyone to be true to his or her value system when voting - regardless of how the media frames the issues, regardless of how one’s family has voted in the past, and regardless of how one has cast ballots in earlier years. In short, I haven’t always voted for the same party or the same issues, and I see nothing wrong with changes in worldview as one evolves as a person and member of society.

As it stands, on November 6, 33 Senate seats, all 435 Congressional races, and a myriad of other local and national issues will be decided via the American electoral process. While I will be cheering for healthcare justice advocate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and voting for Berniecrat Sarah Smith in Washington’s ninth Congressional District, I urge you to take the advice of the Father of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Justin Dart, as you do your own research on which candidates and issues reflect and further your values. “Vote,” he said, “as if your life depends on it. Because it does.”

Each time we cast a ballot, we make a statement about how we believe our government and a just society should function, and about which candidates are the best to carry out these ideological commitments. It is all of our jobs as people with disabilities to ensure that government both reflects and acts upon our concerns, however diverse they may be. This election season, exercise your right to vote, urge your friends and family members to do the same, and may the candidates and initiatives best for disability issues prevail.

Leslie A. Zukor is a disability rights activist, who serves as First Vice Chair of the Washington State Democrats Disabilities Issues Caucus, and is the Secretary of the Washington State Political Items Collectors. She also is a member of Health Care For All - WA, and serves on its Political Action Committee. Holding a bachelor of arts in Anthropology from Reed College, Leslie transferred from Wellesley College and went to school in Oregon part-time for five years, before she earned her degree. Her interests include political history, photography, and collecting liberal, progressive, and Leftist political memorabilia. You may follow her on her personal Facebook page @facebook.com/lazukor.

11 comments:

  1. CONTACT DR PERFECT TODAY VIA EMAIL solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com AND GET YOUR BROKEN MARRIAGE RESTORED BACK WITHIN 24 HOURS

    Hello everyone am Lucas Martinez from USA, after 15 years of marriage, me and my wife were living happily together we loved each other so much and I Loved my family they were my top priority, until one morning me and my wife had a little argument which I know every couples do have because there are no perfect couples in this world after the argument I went to work when I came home I couldn't find my wife and our kids she also packed her bags and that of the kids and left I tried calling her but I couldn't reach her I went to her friend's house but they couldn't tell me where to find her, I was frustrated I didn't know what to do I started drinking alcohol every day and night I stopped going to work it was a difficult thing for me because she and my kids means everything to me it's was like part of my body left me I couldn't function well, one day I was browsing on the Internet when I saw a testimony of someone testifying of a man called Dr Perfect and how he brought back his wife within 24 hours I didn't think twice about it I messaged him and told him everything that happened between me and my wife and he said he find my problem very easy for him to solve he also told me to trust him that my wife will come back and I told him I trust him and he asked for some information which I gave him, 24 hours later my wife came back home with the kids I was so surprised to see her it was like a dream to me she started crying and apologizing to me I told her it's okay I forgive her that am happy she is back we are now living happily together. If you are heart broken because your wife or husband left you email this powerful love spell caster called Dr Perfect via email

    solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com

    You can also message him on WhatsApp +(1)256-251-3614

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CONTACT DR PERFECT TODAY VIA EMAIL solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com AND GET YOUR BROKEN MARRIAGE RESTORED BACK WITHIN 24 HOURS

      Hello everyone am Lucas Martinez from USA, after 15 years of marriage, me and my wife were living happily together we loved each other so much and I Loved my family they were my top priority, until one morning me and my wife had a little argument which I know every couples do have because there are no perfect couples in this world after the argument I went to work when I came home I couldn't find my wife and our kids she also packed her bags and that of the kids and left I tried calling her but I couldn't reach her I went to her friend's house but they couldn't tell me where to find her, I was frustrated I didn't know what to do I started drinking alcohol every day and night I stopped going to work it was a difficult thing for me because she and my kids means everything to me it's was like part of my body left me I couldn't function well, one day I was browsing on the Internet when I saw a testimony of someone testifying of a man called Dr Perfect and how he brought back his wife within 24 hours I didn't think twice about it I messaged him and told him everything that happened between me and my wife and he said he find my problem very easy for him to solve he also told me to trust him that my wife will come back and I told him I trust him and he asked for some information which I gave him, 24 hours later my wife came back home with the kids I was so surprised to see her it was like a dream to me she started crying and apologizing to me I told her it's okay I forgive her that am happy she is back we are now living happily together. If you are heart broken because your wife or husband left you email this powerful love spell caster called Dr Perfect via email

      solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com

      You can also message him on WhatsApp +(1)256-251-3614




      CONTACT DR PERFECT TODAY VIA EMAIL solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com AND GET YOUR BROKEN MARRIAGE RESTORED BACK WITHIN 24 HOURS

      Hello everyone am Lucas Martinez from USA, after 15 years of marriage, me and my wife were living happily together we loved each other so much and I Loved my family they were my top priority, until one morning me and my wife had a little argument which I know every couples do have because there are no perfect couples in this world after the argument I went to work when I came home I couldn't find my wife and our kids she also packed her bags and that of the kids and left I tried calling her but I couldn't reach her I went to her friend's house but they couldn't tell me where to find her, I was frustrated I didn't know what to do I started drinking alcohol every day and night I stopped going to work it was a difficult thing for me because she and my kids means everything to me it's was like part of my body left me I couldn't function well, one day I was browsing on the Internet when I saw a testimony of someone testifying of a man called Dr Perfect and how he brought back his wife within 24 hours I didn't think twice about it I messaged him and told him everything that happened between me and my wife and he said he find my problem very easy for him to solve he also told me to trust him that my wife will come back and I told him I trust him and he asked for some information which I gave him, 24 hours later my wife came back home with the kids I was so surprised to see her it was like a dream to me she started crying and apologizing to me I told her it's okay I forgive her that am happy she is back we are now living happily together. If you are heart broken because your wife or husband left you email this powerful love spell caster called Dr Perfect via email

      solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com

      You can also message him on WhatsApp +(1)256-251-3614



















































































































      Delete
    2. CONTACT DR PERFECT TODAY VIA EMAIL solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com AND GET YOUR BROKEN MARRIAGE RESTORED BACK WITHIN 24 HOURS

      Hello everyone am Lucas Martinez from USA, after 15 years of marriage, me and my wife were living happily together we loved each other so much and I Loved my family they were my top priority, until one morning me and my wife had a little argument which I know every couples do have because there are no perfect couples in this world after the argument I went to work when I came home I couldn't find my wife and our kids she also packed her bags and that of the kids and left I tried calling her but I couldn't reach her I went to her friend's house but they couldn't tell me where to find her, I was frustrated I didn't know what to do I started drinking alcohol every day and night I stopped going to work it was a difficult thing for me because she and my kids means everything to me it's was like part of my body left me I couldn't function well, one day I was browsing on the Internet when I saw a testimony of someone testifying of a man called Dr Perfect and how he brought back his wife within 24 hours I didn't think twice about it I messaged him and told him everything that happened between me and my wife and he said he find my problem very easy for him to solve he also told me to trust him that my wife will come back and I told him I trust him and he asked for some information which I gave him, 24 hours later my wife came back home with the kids I was so surprised to see her it was like a dream to me she started crying and apologizing to me I told her it's okay I forgive her that am happy she is back we are now living happily together. If you are heart broken because your wife or husband left you email this powerful love spell caster called Dr Perfect via email

      solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com

      You can also message him on WhatsApp +(1)256-251-3614




      CONTACT DR PERFECT TODAY VIA EMAIL solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com AND GET YOUR BROKEN MARRIAGE RESTORED BACK WITHIN 24 HOURS

      Hello everyone am Lucas Martinez from USA, after 15 years of marriage, me and my wife were living happily together we loved each other so much and I Loved my family they were my top priority, until one morning me and my wife had a little argument which I know every couples do have because there are no perfect couples in this world after the argument I went to work when I came home I couldn't find my wife and our kids she also packed her bags and that of the kids and left I tried calling her but I couldn't reach her I went to her friend's house but they couldn't tell me where to find her, I was frustrated I didn't know what to do I started drinking alcohol every day and night I stopped going to work it was a difficult thing for me because she and my kids means everything to me it's was like part of my body left me I couldn't function well, one day I was browsing on the Internet when I saw a testimony of someone testifying of a man called Dr Perfect and how he brought back his wife within 24 hours I didn't think twice about it I messaged him and told him everything that happened between me and my wife and he said he find my problem very easy for him to solve he also told me to trust him that my wife will come back and I told him I trust him and he asked for some information which I gave him, 24 hours later my wife came back home with the kids I was so surprised to see her it was like a dream to me she started crying and apologizing to me I told her it's okay I forgive her that am happy she is back we are now living happily together. If you are heart broken because your wife or husband left you email this powerful love spell caster called Dr Perfect via email

      solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com

      You can also message him on WhatsApp +(1)256-251-3614

















































































































































































      Delete
    3. My name is David Richardson from USA I want to share a testimony of how Dr Perfect herbal mixture cream saved me from shame and disgrace, my penis was a big problem to me as the size was really so embarrassing and I was also having weak erection problem. I can't make love to my wife and my penis was just too small, a full grown man like me having 3 inches penis and to worsen it I don't last long in sex I can't even last four minutes it was really a big shame to me. My wife was really tired of me because my sex life was very poor, she never enjoyed sex, I was always thinking and searching for solutions everywhere until when I saw a testimony of how Dr Perfect herbal mixture cream have been helping people regarding their sex life, so I decided to give him a try and to my greatest surprise in less than one week of taking the herbs my penis grow to 10 inches I couldn't believe my eyes and as I speak now my penis is now 10 inches long and I don't have weak erection anymore. I can make love to my wife longer in bed. And my marriage is now stable my wife is now enjoy me very well in bed. All thanks to Dr Perfect for enlarging my penis he indeed save my marriage. You can contact him at solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com or you can add him up on WhatsApp +1(256) 251 3614. He also specializes in the following things
      Herpes virus
      Cancer
      Hsv
      Chronic venous disease
      and others

      Delete
  2. My name is David Richardson from USA I want to share a testimony of how Dr Perfect herbal mixture cream saved me from shame and disgrace, my penis was a big problem to me as the size was really so embarrassing and I was also having weak erection problem. I can't make love to my wife and my penis was just too small, a full grown man like me having 3 inches penis and to worsen it I don't last long in sex I can't even last four minutes it was really a big shame to me. My wife was really tired of me because my sex life was very poor, she never enjoyed sex, I was always thinking and searching for solutions everywhere until when I saw a testimony of how Dr Perfect herbal mixture cream have been helping people regarding their sex life, so I decided to give him a try and to my greatest surprise in less than one week of taking the herbs my penis grow to 10 inches I couldn't believe my eyes and as I speak now my penis is now 10 inches long and I don't have weak erection anymore. I can make love to my wife longer in bed. And my marriage is now stable my wife is now enjoy me very well in bed. All thanks to Dr Perfect for enlarging my penis he indeed save my marriage. You can contact him at solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com or you can add him up on WhatsApp +1(256) 251 3614. He also specializes in the following things
    Herpes virus
    Cancer
    Hsv
    Chronic venous disease
    and others

    ReplyDelete
  3. My name is David Richardson from USA I want to share a testimony of how Dr Perfect herbal mixture cream saved me from shame and disgrace, my penis was a big problem to me as the size was really so embarrassing and I was also having weak erection problem. I can't make love to my wife and my penis was just too small, a full grown man like me having 3 inches penis and to worsen it I don't last long in sex I can't even last four minutes it was really a big shame to me. My wife was really tired of me because my sex life was very poor, she never enjoyed sex, I was always thinking and searching for solutions everywhere until when I saw a testimony of how Dr Perfect herbal mixture cream have been helping people regarding their sex life, so I decided to give him a try and to my greatest surprise in less than one week of taking the herbs my penis grow to 10 inches I couldn't believe my eyes and as I speak now my penis is now 10 inches long and I don't have weak erection anymore. I can make love to my wife longer in bed. And my marriage is now stable my wife is now enjoy me very well in bed. All thanks to Dr Perfect for enlarging my penis he indeed save my marriage. You can contact him at solutiontoallproblems1@gmail.com or you can add him up on WhatsApp +1(256) 251 3614. He also specializes in the following things
    Herpes virus
    Cancer
    Hsv
    Chronic venous disease
    and others

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really want to read more your posts. They are so useful that I can use them to solve issues. I hope you will upload articles frequently. I like them very much. They are pieces of advice for me. gogy games , abcya3.net , motox3m3 for kids

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello everyone i Am williams pater and i am from USA i am here to give my testimony about an herbal doctor called Dr,olu I was heartbroken because i had very small penis,not nice to satisfy a woman, i have been in so many relationship, but cut off because of my situation, i have used so many product which doctors prescribe for me, but could not offer me the help i searched for. i saw some few comments on the internet about this specialist called Dr,OLU and decided to email him on his email i saw on the internet,(drolusolutionhome@gmail.com ) so I decided to give his herbal product a try. i emailed him and he got back to me, he gave me some comforting words with his herbal product for Penis Enlargement, Within three weeks of me use it, i began to feel the enlargement, " and now it just 4 weeks of using his products my penis is about 8 inches longer, and i had to settle thing out with my ex girlfriend , i was surprised when she said that she is satisfied with my performance in bed and i now have a large penis.thanks to DR OLU for is herbal product. you can also reach him with emsil drolusolutionhome@gmail.com though is..number WHATASPP him today on this number [ +2348140654426 ]

    ReplyDelete
  6. I’m indeed very happy for the great help that Dr Agege rendered to me, I am here to give my testimony about a doctor who helped me in my life. I and my husband was infected with HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS last 4 years ago, we went to many hospitals for cure but there was no solution, on till one faithful day , we saw a blog whereby Dr Agege cured a woman who also had herpes affection,we (Me and My HUSBAND) decided to contact him which we did, he asked us to buy some items, unfailingly we sent him the money he will need in buying the items required , He caste the spell and sent me some herbs. He asked me to go for check-up after 7 days of casting the spell, Luckily for me we were tested herpes negative, now I believe all these Testimonies about him on the internet, he is truly a great man, if you are going through the same problem and you need help you can contact the great Herbalist via email dragegeherbalhome@gmail.com or call or whatApps +2348110560429. he can also cure HIV

    ReplyDelete
  7. I’m indeed very happy for the great help that Dr Agege rendered to me, I am here to give my testimony about a doctor who helped me in my life. I and my husband was infected with HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS last 4 years ago, we went to many hospitals for cure but there was no solution, on till one faithful day , we saw a blog whereby Dr Agege cured a woman who also had herpes affection,we (Me and My HUSBAND) decided to contact him which we did, he asked us to buy some items, unfailingly we sent him the money he will need in buying the items required , He caste the spell and sent me some herbs. He asked me to go for check-up after 7 days of casting the spell, Luckily for me we were tested herpes negative, now I believe all these Testimonies about him on the internet, he is truly a great man, if you are going through the same problem and you need help you can contact the great Herbalist via email dragegeherbalhome@gmail.com or call or whatApps +2348110560429. he can also cure HIV

    ReplyDelete