By Jordan Sibayan
All Are One…
That was the theme for our day.
In the grand scheme of the world, every aspect of our lives are intertwined…where we are from…our personal histories… the color of our skin…the language we speak…our disabilities. They intertwine in our interactions with others…locally..nationally…and globally. We must all remember this.
FEMA got a visit to ensure that we hold them accountable for displaced disabled Americans impacted by natural disasters. The latest devastating storms that have ravished the southern states have impacted and destroyed the homes and lives of countless families. In the mist a better effort is needed to ensure access and transport to shelters…access to Attendant care…and an adequate rehabilitation program emphasized in ensuring the continued integrated independent living after the storm passes.
Home is where a lot of things start. We hope that our home is our own salvation…our paradise…ours to design and dream. Many cannot find their own paradises since there is still a serious lack of housing that is accessible…affordable…and safe. Housing in real communities not tied to services or programs. At our stop at HUD we talked about the struggle to find housing that meets our housing platform requirements.
We took our March to the Navy Memorial…our veterans and decorated heroes that serve our country. They deserve to live in the land they fought to defend…in their own homes and communities. Some come back though and end up institutionalized because of disabilities they gained in combat. They deserve a life better than that. We were reminded that Disability Rights are Veterans Rights. I think often of my brother Justin…cousin Gavin and his wife Stephanie. They all served and I am so proud of their service. My cousin was injured in a roadside IED…and ended up diagnosed with a TBI as well as injuries to his legs. He plays soccer for the Special Olympics. He fought for his family to live in freedom…and so we give back as a group including many disabled vets. Recognizing their struggle and how it is connected..and one of many aspects of life.
As we continued we ended up at the sacred grounds…of which many DC belongs to lands that was taken and stolen from the indigenous peoples that lived before. We made our way to the National African American Museum of History and Culture. It was there we heard the names of many of our ADAPT members and allies whom we have lost along our long journey. They fought to have rights not only as disabled Americans…and as African Americans and people of color in America. We honor the sacrifice and the good work of our ancestors on the land and the memory of powerful people in our movement who have contributed to the movement and betterment of our country.
We found ourselves on the move again. Arriving at the DC office of the US Customs and Border Protection. They have been a part of horrible acts at the border to separate immigrants from their families. We heard stories of those seeking a better life in our countries…life sustaining and saving services…as well as fleeing countries that may not have access to home and community based services…either due to laws…lack of human rights or disability rights…or any number of reasons. Regardless…no one should be caged like an animal and no one should be locked up because their disabilities are too hard to handle. That is not how we should be treating any human being. This happens in our country at institutions. It is a human rights issue and the practice against disabled citizens of the world should be denounced.
We finally went to the house of the head of the administration. The White House. The Trump Administration has been known to make decisions that would impact many people and many aspects of our lives… including people with disabilities in America and across the globe. We called upon them to do better…do no harm…ensure our right to independence…community…and freedom. For us…all of us.
American has been looked on as a beacon to the world…the world is looking to us. Because all are one.