Saturday, June 21, 2008


In describing the previous serendipitous account at DCTV and Arlene's Grocery, I neglected to focus on how it felt being in a space in which the majority of the people were either wheel-chair mobile or with limited mobility. Of course, my physical mobility didn't preclude me from having a mental/developmental disability and therefore holding membership in this activist community. Perhaps folks sussed me up and determined that I must have represented an invisible disability.

Is there greater stigma attached to mental disability than to a physical one?

Within the Disabilities Movement is there a social hierarchy based on members' abilities or access to services?

I felt for a moment how much I take for granted in terms of access. There are so many spaces around NYC, including most of the subway stops, that are not wheel chair accessible. Even entering the bar, which had a ground level entrance, wheel-chair bound patrons had to negotiate and maneuver through a narrow door frame to enter the performance area.

One of the subplots of the film Heavy Load is about the rights of People with Disabilities. Their "Stay Up Late" campaign gave greater meaning to the band's purpose and the film, drawing attention to the fact that many of their fans couldn't stay out beyond 7 or 9pm because of home health aides' shifts, a lack of public transportation, or inflexible institutional rules prohibiting People with Disabilities from being out past a certain hour.

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