Americans with disabilities have always been on the front lines of the fight for civil rights and progressive causes, from education and health care to employment, transportation, and other issues. Leaders such as Fannie Lou Hamer, Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN), and others have all brought a connection to disability into broader movement work. Yet stigma still plays a powerful role in isolating disability in its own silo.
While concepts such as self-care and flexibility in paid leave are often discussed as cutting edge proposals, they have existed as cultural norms across the various disability rights movements for decades. Ongoing pushes for community-based mental health care have demonstrated the ability of people with mental health conditions to contribute to society and live with dignity. And most recently, ADAPT protesters’ actions to save the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid have reignited discussions on the value of civil disobedience at a time when lives are truly on the line.
In an age in which President Donald Trump and his conservative allies have operated a virtual whack-a-mole game rotating attacks on marginalized communities, much can be garnered in the way of promising practices, solidarity, and perseverance in the work of the disability rights movement.
Please join the Center for American Progress for a discussion about what progressives can learn from the disability rights movement—and how it can strengthen the work of its sibling movements.
Rebecca Vallas, Managing Director for the Poverty to Prosperity Program, Center for American Progress
Bruce Darling, Organizer, ADAPT
Neal Carter, Founder, Nu View Consulting
Mia Ives-Rublee, Founder and Coordinator, Women’s March on Washington Disability Caucus
Katherine Perez, Co-Founder, National Coalition for Latinx with Disabilities
Rebecca Cokley, Senior Fellow for Disability Policy, Center for American Progress