I told myself that I wasn’t going to
rant write about this. I read it, learned, mulled it over last night. And woke up this morning still pissed off about it.
I am just so sick and tired of people with disabilities being overlooked and not mentioned. Ignored. Again. This time by the White House.
I knew about this Summit. It was one of those things that was on my radar, I meant to look closer and possibly nominate someone to go. Then, like many other things that hit my radar, it fell off. I forgot. Until yesterday when I saw an acquaintance post that she was going. Mind you, this isn’t sour grapes because I forgot to submit a nomination–I forget lots of things. But honestly, I went to the site to look for an email list or something, so that I could sign up and not miss it next year.
So, while I was there, on their website, I looked at what this “United State of Women” summit was going to include. Browsing the topics…education….health…..and absolutely zero mention of special education, disabilities or anything of the sort.
Mind you, they certainly are discussing some very valid topics–violence against women, pay inequity, things like that.
But I am just so.sick.and.tired.of.being.forgotten.
People with disabilities make up about 20% of the population. 20%. One-fifth. And no mention? I like Obama, I voted for him twice, campaigned for him once. But his term, as far as education and disabilities, has been incredibly disappointing. Our schools have basically disintegrated into little test factories. Education funding and special ed funding has declined, outcomes have not improved.
How do you ignore 20% of the women in this country and the struggles that they face? Only one candidate (Hillary) is even mentioning disabilities as part of her platform.
Restraints and seclusion are still perfectly legal in this country. Upwards of 65% of our prison population is functionally illiterate. 1 in 5 families struggles with mental illness. And if you are a woman with any of these issues—your chances of possibly being abused or a victim of a crime increases significantly.
But, hey, why should we talk about that at a summit where our tagline is “today we’ll change tomorrow.” Women with disabilities, here in America, need help TODAY.
What’s even more of a slap in the face is that there appears to be a significant focus on global issues. I get it, we are a first world country, and women here have it much better than other parts of the world. But let’s take care of our own first, because here in good old USA, many disabled women are treated like they are sub-human. Institutions still exist, and so do sheltered workshops. So we’re going to fight for fair wages globally, but it’s ok for a disabled woman in USA to make 50 cents an hour? Does that seem right to you?
I’ve often said that “when we raise the bar for one of us, we raise the bar for all of us.” This is a civil rights movement, and I have championed many other civil rights movements. But when is it going to be our turn? When is our government, and our citizens, going to look around and say, “Enough!” ? Because we have had enough. We can’t take any more.
My youngest son knows nothing else besides a black man being President. He knows nothing else besides men being able to marry men, and women marry women. Yet he has to sit by, and watch his older brother be discriminated against and not treated equally, over and over again. In many states, it is against the law for intellectually disabled people to marry. It’s ok to warehouse them and pay them a quarter an hour. It is perfect legal for a school to lock a disabled child in a closet.
When is it our turn?
Ok, rant over. I have to go to Special Olympics.
For the record, I reached out to the White House and the summit via email and Twitter, and have not heard back.