What a strange time it is to be an American right now. I am writing this while working from home, my computer live feed tuned into updates on not only the COVID situation, but of the protests and riots related to the George Floyd case. This entire week has been full of images of pain, and anguish, death, destruction and the like. It is also the first week of June, so we are beginning PRIDE month here in the USA for the LGBTQ+ community here. Overall the many overlapping hot topics right now make me feel like, I just.. wish there was more I could do.
I wish there was more I could do to help people of color, who deal with the systemic racism in our country, and who habitually are abused by police officers around our nation. I wish there was more I could do as a person with privilege as not only someone with white skin, but someone who is also CIS, and in a hetero-normative relationship with my life partner. I did not choose any of those things but I do passively benefit from them. I do not have to worry about being in public with my partner, and showing who I love to the general public, I do not have to worry about Police brutality when I get pulled over for a speeding ticket, or a traffic offense, I do not have to worry about being able to access buildings and essential places as I do not have to use a mobility device or have medical needs that keep me from easily accessing public spaces.
I also benefit from being an able bodied person, and our country’s views on both disabilities and immunocompromised citizens have become QUITE apparent since COVID restrictions have come into effect. I have heard from a majority of people since we began quarantine that, its “only” the elderly and disabled that are at risk. Its “only” people with pre-existing conditions. Well your “only” is my everything. Since having my child I have been wracked with the hard facts that this country does not care about disabled people, or at least as not as much as they should. I live in a state and country where my child can be refused at daycares, certain schools, camps and the like because of his medical differences, He can be refused care from physicians who “Don’t want to deal with it,” or “find his care too challenging.” While Corbin’s mobility is still ambiguous I know many kiddos with his diagnosis who do not have access to parks, playgrounds, public buildings, and many other countless areas, events and restaurants because they are not accessible by wheelchair. I live in a country where I was counseled to abort my baby because he would not be “perfect,” he would have certain physical challenges that would make him “inconvenient” to the system and therefore… what? not a person? Not worth it? Why do we not change our lifestyles and accesibility to help those in need, instead of treating those who are less privileged like THEY are the problem
My son is not the problem. Disabled people are not the problem
African Americans are not the problem
The Queer community is not the problem
They are PEOPLE. They are humans, with unique stories and lives and needs, and they deserve the same rights and access, and benefits, that ANYONE else deserves.
My son deserves safe spaces to learn and grow and connect with his peers without feeling like a burden
Black Americans deserve to feel safe around first responders, and in their own communities living their lives. They should not live in fear, especially not of people sworn to protect them.
LGBTQ+ citizens deserve to love whoever they want, to have their families and live with the same protections as straight couples. They deserve to adopt children, and not be discriminated against should they decide to start families.
Since becoming a special needs mom, I have had to advocate for my son, for things that most other people take for granted. People should not have to advocate full time for things that are basic human rights. It has opened my eyes to some things that I was ignorant to in the past. I was not maliciously ableist, there were just many things I just.. didn’t know! I didn’t know certain things as an able bodied person who did not have any disabled people in my inner circle. That has changed. I learn new things every day. It is OKAY To admit, that you have new information on a topic and now have a new perspective.
That happened to me. I implore you to read, and to educate yourself on the perspective of people who are disenfranchised, and less privileged than yourself. Listen to your peers, listen to their stories.
If you are reading this, I am listening
I love you