Showing posts with label Disability Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disability Rights. Show all posts

July 4, 2015

L@@king The Other Way

So recovering from surgery and with my cane in hand the last number of weeks, I've had a chance to see the worst and best of people. 

Especially on the Metro, I've had people who quite simply refused to let me sit down--can you say look the other way or ignorance is bliss?

One guy the other day saw me holding on to the overhead rail with one hand and the cane in the other, he looked me in the eye, and then looked back down again to work on whatever notes he was writing...certainly more important. 

And even early on a couple of times (this was when it was still hard to really stand up for long) when I asked for one of the special access seats from completely healthy people sitting there, I usually got the stone cold kvetchy faces like "You talking to me?"

At other times, waiting to get on the Metro, I've had people rush in front of me, try to push me aside, or even nearly trample me when they felt I just wasn't moving my limp leg fast enough. 

I think this has been particularly disheartening especially when I see this behavior coming from people of different faiths who were clearly observant at least in other ways...uh, don't we answer to an even higher authority?

When some empathic folks at work recently asked me, how people were treating me on the Metro (yes, they know how it is!), I said feeling frustrated one day that the only difference between DC and NY is that in NY there was probably a greater chance of someone trying to actually push me (G-d forbid) in front of an oncoming train--yeah, at times it seriously felt that way. 

I will say that thank G-d not everyone is such a you know what!

Although truly it's been the exception and not the rule, there have been some very nice people that did offer me a seat, let me go first, or didn't rush me on/off the moving escalator. 

One lady in particular was extraordinarily wonderful, and when I was crossing a very wide two-way street with lots of cars and the light was getting ready to change, she walked by my side--literally shielding me from the oncoming traffic, and she said "Don't worry, they won't hit both of us!"

I remember learning in yeshiva some very basics of human decency...get up before the aged, remove an obstacle from before a blind person, and to take off a heavy burden from even your enemy's stumbling animal.

I think these and other lessons in school and at home sensitized me to people's pain and suffering and where possible to try and help--not that I am a saint, I'm not, but at least I feel my conscience talks to me.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 24, 2015

Disability Stories and Resources

Just wanted to share this great site called Disability Blog where people tell about their experiences of being disabled and how they have overcome the odds. 

It is hosted by Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.


And it is the official blog of Disability.gov where there is lots of information on "disability programs and services." 


The blog site promotes the "full inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce and communities nationwide."


Disability Blog posts guest bloggers on various topics and I read some of the recent posts and they were very good, including:


- Disability rights activism

- Small business loans and mentoring support with SCORE for a veteran with disability
- Resources and support from the Amputtee Coalition for a child that was hurt in a lawn mowing accident
- A courageous description of how someone lives with syndactyly (fused fingers).
- Options for workplace accommodations at the Job Accommodation Network

As someone myself who has had two total hip replacements, I encourage people to get their personal stories out there to increase disability awareness, rights, and resources and support to help them.


I used to dream about retiring one day and running along the boardwalk and ocean every morning in Florida, but I know that will not happen for me anymore (so thank G-d for swimming). 


Disabilities can happen to anyone. 


We all need to be sensitive to what it's like to be different and have unique challenges, and to try and help anyone who does.  ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Abhijit Bhaduri)

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January 10, 2014

Disability Rights - To Life Or Death

I read today in the Wall Street Journal an editorial by Joni Eareckson Tada--which I couldn't have disagreed with more. 

Let me start by saying that I have the greatest respect for Ms. Tada who is herself a quadriplegic and has overcome unbelievable challenges to become a huge successful author, radio show host, and advocate for disabled people. 


Yet in the editorial, she rails against those with disabilities that choose death over life and the laws that would enable this. 


She says, "first it was assisted suicide," and now it's unlawful birth suits after a child was born with severe disabilities that could have been genetically screened for, and an upcoming Belgium law that may "legalize euthanasia for children with incurable diseases--who, with the support of their parents or guardians, ask to die."


Ms. Tada calls these out as some sort of incredible "double standards" vis a vis the "freedom and dignity that the ADA [Americans With Disabilities Act] championed"--she says that "instead of helping the disabled live full lives, new laws seek to help them die."


While I appreciate her sentiments, I cannot agree with them--not everyone is Ms. Tada who decided she wanted to live and was able and fortunate to do what she has done.


This is a free country and people deserve the right to decide for themselves, making an informed and a well-thought out decision and with their loved ones, if they are too young, old, or otherwise unable to make the decision anymore for themselves. 


Having seen the ravages of disability, especially with my own mother, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease and other ailments, I cannot believe that anyone would try to force life on someone who has endless pain and suffering and wishes only for their final peace. 


Ms Tada asks, "What type of society do we want?"  She goes on claiming that "if we are seeking a good society then we do well to defend the rights of the helpless-not nullify their rights," yet this is exactly what Tada is advocating by seeking to nullify their right to end their suffering. 


If it amazing that people will "put down" a sick dying animal to relieve it of it's suffering when it is beyond cure, but we don't show the same mercy to fellow human beings when they are in the clutches of death and torment.


There is most certainly a time when it is enough pain, enough disability, when there is no more hope, and the most decent human thing we can do is free the person from their intolerable suffering.


Life is a wonderful thing if it can be lived, but if it is a living hell, then we should be merciful and let people go to their final resting place without the anguish that only they can ever really understand.


(Source Photo: here with attribution to GizM ()17)

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