I just received this gorgeous statement from the National Disability Leadership Alliance on Solidarity and the 2016 Presidential Election. It’s a model of how to maintain an explicitly non-partisan position (required by many of these orgs’ tax status) while standing for principle. The NDLA is, “a national cross-disability coalition led by national organizations run by people with disabilities with identifiable grassroots constituencies around the country.”
Here’s the statement:
Following a truly historic election, we find ourselves facing an unknown future. Despite a great deal of speculation, we know very little about President Elect Trump’s intentions toward our community. What we do know is that the important issues that concerned us prior to the election are still there. In the coming months, there will be many attempts to dissect this election. There will also be efforts made to work with the Republican White House and Congress. What we cannot do is abandon our core values including recognition of the diverse and intersectional nature of our community. Doing so would divide and weaken us.
The Disability community has grown stronger this election cycle. We are better organized; we have built thicker networks with strong alliances. Social media campaigns like #RevUp & #CripTheVote have mobilized many who have not traditionally participated in disability activism/advocacy. We have done all of this by embracing our diversity and by working with other justice movements, not against them. While some might be tempted, it would be reckless to take a path of chasing power at the expense of the erasure of so many in our community. We cannot go back to that all too recent past in which we thoroughly ignored and excluded the voices of disabled people who belong to multiple communities. Disabled people of color and Disabled LGBTQIA people are not tangential parts of our community; they are us.
Disabled people live in every corner of our society and for our work to have any meaning it must represent all of our interests. There is no victory in clawing for a smaller piece of a diminishing pie. We must continue to fight for the constitutional and civil rights of ALL disabled people. Beyond that, we must fight for justice for all. We cannot for one second forget that our diversity is our strength, and unity is essential to our cause.
This is a model for how to maintain one’s non-partisan position and yet focus attention on the most vulnerable. Kudos to the NDLA leadership.