Oakland, CA - “I already disinfected the door handle, so come on in!” Yomi Wrong says. A rambunctious puppy eagerly eyes us through the gate. “Shiloh can’t wait to see you.” As a healthcare compliance manager, Wrong is used to being out in the world—from going into her office to taking the dog for long strolls around Lake Chabot. All that changed when she began sheltering in place to lower her chances of contracting COVID-19. “I’ve lost so much human connection,’’ Wrong says. “My sister lives in Alameda, but I haven’t seen her in over a month because she is immunocompromised. The two of you are the people I most consistently see.” My friend Katie Loncke and I have been stopping by Wrong’s home every other day for the past three weeks as volunteers for a mutual aid project launched by the Disability Justice Culture Club (DJCC), a collective of five disabled and neurodivergent queer people of color in Oakland.
People with Disabilities
Since the major aim of capitalists is to see that maximum production can be extracted from labor, exploitation of workers becomes a key factor. Ordinary workers, thus, face constant harassment, humiliation, misery and burden of work. Disabled, in addition, face alienation and abuse both from the employers as well as society. The Merriam Webster Dictionary offers two definitions of disability. They are ‘ a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements,senses, or activities’ and ‘ a disadvantage or handicap imposed by law’. These two definitions seem at odds with each other and almost two different terms are being defined. In an effort to clear such controversy, a British organization, Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS) which was founded in 1970s put forward another perspective on disability.
When Eric J. Wilkins was pulled over by the Chicago police in the spring of 2002, he was on edge. His older brother was sitting in prison at the time, a victim of Jon Burge-era police torture. And Wilkins, himself, says the police had roughed him up after he had been shot in the back and leg, just three years prior. The officers who pulled his car over in 2002 told him to get out. Wilkins asked them if he could get his wheelchair from the backseat. The officers, Wilkins says, told him there was no need. And then they picked him up like a baby.
Responding to Iashea Cross’s cry, “Are you ready to take action?,” on August 31 members of Chicago ADAPT and the Alliance for Community Services, and personal assistants from SEIU Healthcare Illinois, kicked off Labor Day weekend by blocking two streets at the State of Illinois Building in downtown Chicago. Demonstrators held the intersection, disrupting early holiday traffic, for 20 minutes, and ended the action just before the police began to make arrests.
By Michael McFall in The St. Louis Tribune - Cathy Garber still gets emotional when she remembers how badly she wanted to leave her nursing home. Garber had just finished her master's degree in social work at the University of Utah in 2011 when she needed major surgery. When the procedure was over, her physicians decided she wasn't healing fast enough and put her in a nursing home. But she didn't want to be there. She wanted to be in her own home. "I had to be there for six months. I missed Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day," Garber said to a crowd of about 150 at the Utah State Capitol, protesting Sunday what they said is Utah's lack of home and community-based services for people with disabilities. That deficiency forces people to move into nursing homes and other institutions, according to the Americans Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT) organization, which organized Sunday's rally.