by Mark Van Streefkerk
Blind or visually impaired (BVI) people navigate a world built for sighted people everyday, but how often do sighted people truly see these individuals or understand their experiences? The audio play Flying Blind! offers a candid look at life for BVI people, with plenty of insights for sighted folks to take note of. Produced by South Seattle-based Anything is Possible Theatre Company (AIP) and written by and with the blind and low-vision community, the play is a series of audio scenes, sounds, original songs, and music that together illustrate some situations BVI people encounter — situations that can be frustrating, misunderstood, or even comical.
“Please don’t tell me that I’m an inspiration just for getting out the door today. / Can you see that the main obstacle is not what I can’t see, but a society that’s not set up for people like me?” asks the opening song in Flying Blind!
“Our society is not set up for people who have blind or low vision — or any kind of disability really,” said Kathleen Tracy, composer and music director for Flying Blind! “[BVI] people are amazingly resourceful and can totally live their lives [in spite of] impediments, some of which are hilarious and some of which are infuriating.”
Continue reading ‘Flying Blind!’ Shares the Everyday Experiences of Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals
by Kamna Shastri
How do you navigate a support system for people with disabilities when you don’t know English? The compounding circumstances of having a disability, or caring for a loved one with a disability, while also struggling to master an American standard of English creates a unique need for multicultural families. As it is, the reams of paperwork, bureaucracy, and agencies that make up the maze of social services are already convoluted even if one knows English and has few barriers to access.
Open Doors for Multicultural Families (ODMF) has been dedicated to filling this service gap through a cultural brokerage model and systems-change approach. The organization was founded in 2009 by Ginger Kwan, whose vision was to see all “culturally and linguistically diverse individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities and their families thrive in an inclusive society of their own design.” Since its founding, ODMF has helped connect over a thousand individuals and families with tailored support and language access. Kwan now serves as the organization’s executive director.
Continue reading It Takes a Village: The Multicultural Care Network of ODMF
by Laszlo Jajczay
Disability Rights Washington, a nonprofit that protects the rights of people with disabilities, noticed a trend in the media industry that disturbed them. There weren’t any stories told about people in the disability community and the structural inequities in education, jobs, and other aspects of their lives.
“We weren’t seeing disability well represented in any kind of media, and the thought was that with the equity of social media, we could produce our own media by and for folks with disabilities,” said creative director Allexa Laycock.
So Disability Rights Washington created the media advocacy project Rooted in Rights to fill the gap in coverage.
Continue reading Rooted in Rights Aims to Create Inclusive Space for Individuals With Disabilities
by Chamidae Ford
On a Tuesday evening, people from all over the world gathered in a virtual room to watch a discussion on the new anthology, Disability Visibility: First-Person stories from the Twenty-First Century.
Hosted by the Seattle Public Library, the discussion featured Alice Wong, a disabled activist, media maker and founder of the Disability Visibility Project. She was joined by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Elsa Sjunneson, both disabled writers with work featured in the anthology.
Continue reading Disabled Writers Get Powerful, Political, and Personal at SPL Virtual Event for New Anthology ‘Disability Visibility’
by Carolyn Bick
King County Metro bus operator Sam Smith is worried about job security. Already, he said, Metro had to cut 200 part-time driver jobs in August, as a cost-saving measure, due to the economic fallout of the current novel coronavirus pandemic. In September, Metro reduced bus service by 15%. If Proposition 1 — which would continue a portion of public transit funding for the next five years — doesn’t pass, Smith thinks his job is likely on the chopping block. He also worries about the effect a lack of funding will have on the wider public.
“Cuts in transit right now are counter-productive. Routes that run in heavily populated areas such as the A Line, E Line, and the 7 which serves South Seattle are packed at capacity,” Smith said in an emailed statement to the Emerald.
In an effort to prevent these cuts, the Transit Riders Union (TRU) will be holding a Day of Action on Oct. 6, which is meant to frame public transportation as a mutual aid effort and make the case for voters to pass Proposition 1 in November. The TRU will also join national transit riders unions across the country that day in calling for the United States Congress to pass the HEROES Act, which includes $32 billion in emergency transit funds.
Continue reading TRU to Hold Day of Action to Bolster Support for Crucial Public Transit Ballot Measure
by ChrisTiana ObeySumner
Almost three years ago, I began my first business as a social equity consultant. I had been an advocate and community organizer for years before, fighting for intersectional disability issues. Recently, someone asked me what the most common question I received was. I shared that it was often a rambling thought containing three main questions: (1) “Can you help me understand the difference between Diversity, Equity and Inclusion(DEI); (2) Will it help us/me better figure out how to ensure I’m being equitable and inclusive in my business/advocacy/life; (3) What does equity and inclusion really mean anyway?” Continue reading Equity is the Engine: The “Pimp my Ride” Parable