Friday, January 27, 2017

Ableism and virtual activism

For the last three weeks I have spent most of my time in front of the computer, curled up on the couch or in bed with a stack of dirty tissues on one side, and a glass of water on the other. Because of my sickness I have not been able to take to the streets with my fellow feminists and water protectors, and it has given me a strange sense of impostor syndrome that I normally only feel in the academic world.

But then I read this article about the disability march - a group of people from all over the continent and the world, despite physical or mental limitations, engage in the political practices of the majority from their homes.

I am critical of social media for many reasons - but for its capacity to allow people who can otherwise not get involved in politics to raise their voices, it is invaluable. (that said, access to the internet and social media is limited based on economics, geography, etc., but that is a conversation, perhaps, for another day).

There are many reasons that someone may not be able to physically be present at polling stations, marches, rallies, and protests. I keep hearing from my politically active friends: "shut up and vote"; "get off your ass and do something"; "so, where were you on the 21st?!" and so forth. This ableist attitude is harmful to a movement that seeks to overcome the American administration headed by President Cheeto Birdbrain who thinks it is appropriate to mock a disabled reporter (you all remember this, don't you?!)

Today there is a rally against Line 10 here in Hamilton - our Canadian PM is approving the destruction of indigenous land, and threatening the health and safety of our water. I will not be able to attend. But I am here, writing this post to say that though I - and many others - may not be physically present, our voices are being raised. We are writing letters to our MPs, we are calling their offices, we are signing petitions, we are sending money and supplies to water protectors, we are fighting alongside you, even though you cannot see us. I will eventually be able to leave my home and physically join in, but many others will not. Don't be an ableist by insulting the absent. Call on able bodied (and able minded) people to be present, and empower those who cannot to do what they can, to get involved in their own way.

Here are some resources for those who can't get out there, but are protesting the hell out of our leaders' injustices in whatever way they can: : A guide to safely existing and organizing in the virtual world : An article in the huff by a disabled activist with some very helpful tips on how to get involved : A legal guide for disabled activists (particularly those able bodied enough to be physically present - ie. what to do if you are arrested etc.) : Amnesty International's guide to effective e-activism

Please let me know if there are any great resources you think others should know about!

Happy Friday,


No comments:

Post a Comment