Reflections

An Inauguration Day Letter to My Fellow Disabled Citizens

In recent posts, I have been writing a lot to the able-bodied community in the hopes that they may see what we see. If this election has been any indication, they, in large part, do not. So, I write this letter to my peers and friends.

Today is hard. It is very difficult when you feel as though your efforts are in vain because of the man who will be taking the stage today, but I want to commend you. This election, we made our voices as loud as we could possibly be. With the guidance of Alice Wong, Andrew Pulrang and Gregg Beratan, we propelled disability issues to the national stage and made people take notice. That is not to go un-celebrated. With the words and wisdom of Vilissa Thompson and the Harriet Tubman Collective, we brought our activism into the age of intersectionality.

It is easy to think that our work is done and that we’ve lost this battle, but we are needed now more than ever. We cannot lose momentum. We need to fight for our rights to live, to be seen and to exist alongside the able bodied. It is time for us to no longer ask for a chair at the table, but pull it out, wheel up, and lock our brakes. That place is ours. It is time for us not to let fear and anxiety rule us, but to find ways to work in spite of it—however difficult that may be. It is time for us to not beg or ask permission to be heard, but to shout as loud as we can. Because when we recognize that my voice matters and your voice matters, we become a chorus that cannot be ignored.

I realize, completely, that this is much easier said than done. Resources will be scarce and many of us will be fighting just to stay breathing, but this community—this body of souls—has already saved lives within it. It is both our gift and duty. We must not abandon it in fear but embrace it as we have one another. Take the time today to affirm one another, to bask in one another’s existence. For today, and the next four years, we will need one another.

Much Love,

Imani

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