Dangerous Compassions

everyday disability justice

everyday disability justice

Hello, how are you doing?  I’ve been speaking up about everyday disability justice.  What are the best ways to bring more everyday disability justice to the world?  How can we change culture to help us all treat each other more equitably?

The experiences Ming and I are having in our travel and search for home make me realize–wow, I was very cooped up in Las Vegas.  I interacted with the people we lived in community with at Bartlett.  It was my joy to say hello to those people, listen to their needs, and cook some delicious foods for them.  To my knowledge, they saw us as valid people.

Getting outside of our home zone to explore and seek a new place, we’ve felt misunderstood and encountered painful rejection.  Both of us have experience in community, a great attitude, kind hearts, skills, willingness, maturity, and much to share.  We don’t abuse drugs or each other.  We don’t have any pets, don’t smoke or drink, and are mostly friendly.  The misunderstandings and rejections seem due to our disabilities and my fatness.

how we could do better as a culture

It’s too bad for us personally, but it’s heartbreaking to consider the huge scale that this is happening..  Tons of disabled and fat people are encountering the same pain and lack of resources like we are.  Saneism, ableism, and sizeism are life wreckers.

Considering how we could do better as a culture, what about giving honest feedback?  If you don’t know you’re doing wrong, it’s hard to improve.  I wrote this letter to the company that led the seaweed harvesting class Ming and I attended.

Not saying a letter will solve all the problems.  But telling the truth about our experiences is a step in the right direction.  When we have the truth, at least we know what we’re working with.

Would you consider sharing a letter like this with a company that doesn’t meet your access needs?  Consider it open source.  Please use any part of it, to write your own letter to a company that could do better.

everyday disability justice

Dear company:

I was asked to review the seaweed harvesting class that my spouse Ming and I attended toward the end of August. We had a great time, and we have some feedback that might be helpful to you in the future, working with many kinds of people.

I have an issue with my joints where they’re hypermobile, and walking on uneven surfaces like tidepools is difficult for me. I have to take it slow and rest often. That means it was hard for me to keep up with the group, and I missed out on some of the info shared.

I was there to harvest seaweed, but I was mostly there to learn about seaweed in person, which is so much better than learning from a book, website, or video. So I was sorry to miss some of the info.

Also my spouse doesn’t hear so well, especially with background noise, so he missed some of the info too.

The class was still worthwhile to us, and I don’t mean to overly complain. For the next people, it might be helpful to make sure everyone can hear the info. For example, my spouse heard something about anti-cancer properties of a certain seaweed, and I was too far back to hear any of that.

Many people are disabled, elderly, pregnant, or otherwise might have different needs and a different pace. I would love to live in a world where everyone is upfront about that, and we can all get our access needs met.

Asking at the beginning of a class if anyone has a need that the group should know about might help. You could provide example needs, like if someone has difficulty with uneven surfaces, hard of hearing, or trouble seeing. Then the group could work together to make sure the needs are met.

Thank you for considering these thoughts. Your project is wonderful, and I hope a lot of people are able to learn about seaweed from you.

Good wishes,

Caring Disabledperson

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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