Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hoisted on Our Own Petards? Information Bulletin #387 (4/14) “The Civil Rights Summit: 1964 We Shall Overcome 2014” conference takes place at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas from 4/8 thru 4/10. Presidents Carter, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama will speak. Big shing dings. The Civil Rights topics include “Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement” and “LBJ and MLK Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream.” Pretty heady – no? But the focus is not only race. Other civil rights topics include: “Women: How High is the Glass Ceiling?”; “Gay Marriage: A Civil Right?”; “Pathway to the American Dream: Immigration Policy in the 21st Century;” and “Education: the Ultimate Civil Right.” No dispute with those groups and issues. Also, we should not forget “Sports: Leveling the Playing Field” and “Music and Social Consciousness.” No idea how they squeezed in. Is something missing? Waldo? Yes, NOTHING about disability. Let’s be clear. Disability is NOT considered a disability on civil rights par with race, gender, gay marriage, or immigration. Forget the ADA’s 25 anniversary in 2015. Will these Presidents attend? Will the LBJ Foundation arrange for Sports for the disabled – oh, fear not, the national TV networks will cover it. Unreal? Outrageous? Depressing? Maybe the organizers thought Austin is too far for Lex Frieden to travel from Houston. After all, Lex was at the ADA’s signing with the President in 1990, as was Justin Dart, another Texan. Probably too far for Bob Kafka and Stephanie Thomas, two leading ADAPT organizers, to drive across I-30 from the east side of Austin. That’s probably why no person with a disability was not invited to be a speaker. Is it really believable that the organizers of the LBJ Library did not think about disability? No way, since Texas ADAPT is in the face of the legislature and city officials all the time. The Texas press covers it. How about something simpler? In the organizers’ minds, disability is not a civil right worthy of being, and not in fact, on par with race, gender, immigration, or sexual orientation. Disability is not as important or powerful as the other civil rights. As depressing as those thoughts may be, why have our “national disability leaders” been so publicly quiet? Why haven’t they publicly demanded the same respect as people with disabilities and the disability movement gives other civil rights groups? Can you imagine how John Lewis, Julian Bond, Andrew Young would have publicly reacted if they were as dissed as disability leaders have been? Oh well, maybe a pat on the head is all we deserve. Hmmmmmmm. Power concedes nothing without a struggle. Where is the disability POWER? Steve Gold, The Disability Odyssey continues Back issues of other Information Bulletins posted after 10/2013 can be found only at http://stevegoldada.blogspot.com/ Information Bulletins before 10/13 are available online at http://www.stevegoldada.com with a searchable Archive at this site divided into different subjects. To contact Steve Gold directly, write to stevegoldada1@gmail.com or call 215-627-7100. Ext 227.

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