OPINION | It’s Disability Awareness Month — so don’t forget us

October is Disability Awareness Month. Over your lifetime and mine, most of us will face hardship. Sometimes unexpected. One day you can wake up without an eye, or an arm or no leg.

Through hardship, and strength many of us react differently to our loss. Some cry out loud. Some cry to ourselves. But every disabled person I know keeps going forward. We count our blessings and we move forward. Through our disability we see the world through a different lens.

There are many kind folks. On behalf of disabled people everywhere, I would like to thank those who have patience with us. I’d like to thank all of those who held a door, or showed kindness in this rush-rush world. Persons with disabilities live in the same world you do, but most of us do not have the same opportunities.

Technology has helped many of us who are disabled. Automobiles will soon be driverless. Many cars have auto-braking and other advanced safety options. Most of us can use the voice technology on our phone. But today, I’d like to highlight an ap on your phone. “Be My Eyes’, has almost 500,000 people who participate as partially sighted folk, – but there are 6,000,0000 million volunteers who are available at a click of your phone to help you read a label, point you in the right direction, or choose a new shirt color. If you need help just download ‘Be My Eyes” and enter a world of goodness where volunteers answer the phone and a kind soul will help you.

There are also many people, most people, who look right through disabled folks. Some look past you, or down on you. So many self-centered people in this world who don’t bother to take a breath and show some understanding. Most people don’t even have the patience to try to recognize the hardships of others.

Disabled people face implicit, systemic discrimination. Much has been written to illustrate this, but it bears repeating, particularly because discrimination is rarely obvious, either because it forms part of the fabric of our institutions or because it is rooted in misconception and fear.

It may seem self-evident that disabled people face prejudice, but many non-disabled people do not understand the scale of the negative attitudes towards disability. Some difference wouldn’t be surprising – disabled people have to live with this prejudice every day, whereas non-disabled people may only ever know about it second-hand.

Those with disabilities live all year round with their struggle. This Disability Awareness Month, reach out to your neighbor. A small act of kindness and respect, a listening ear can do wonders for those who live all year round facing obstacles that some of you can never imagine. But one day that act of kindness might come back to you.

This Disability Awareness Month I would like to honor the late Michael Arrigo. There are few souls on this planet that had a light inside that would shine through his blindness and disabilities. Michael Arrigo was an inspiration to me and to many others. Rest in Peace Michael Arrigo, the rest of us will carry on to bring equal access and bring down the walls of discrimination against those with disabilities.

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Tab
Tab
1 month ago

Thank you for speaking on this subject. They give more to alcoholics and drug addicts the. To people who are in need through no fault of their own.

Insidious Appearances
Insidious Appearances
1 month ago

The City of West Hollywood continues to engage in insidious Such & Such Awareness Months , Meaningless Self Serving Awards, and policies that “give the appearance of” but fail to deliver good governance.

JohnRyan
JohnRyan
1 month ago

The City Council needs some education and empathy; to vote Disability Awareness Month AND extend the e-bikes and scooters for 6 months is absurdly contradictory. Those things are a menace to everyone, but particularly disabled folks who cannot see or remove them from their path. BAN DOCKLESS BIKES AND SCOOTERS for the sake of the disabled community. PS, thanks for the BE MY EYES reference, I will check it out!

Practices for the least fortunate
Practices for the least fortunate
1 month ago
Reply to  JohnRyan

Banning the Dockless Bikes would be the greatest gesture in favor of the disabled community that is more than a gesture. A city should be advocating practices amenable to the least fortunate in the entire community.

Tad
Tad
1 month ago

And how many disabled are tripping over those broken and raised up stone surfaces around the street trees? And the deep holes and high edges in the sidewalks? I’m mildly disabled and even with that have to watch every step to not trip over the “landmines” in the sidewalk (yes, and the scooters laying around).

Practices for the least Fortunate
Practices for the least Fortunate
1 month ago
Reply to  Tad

I agree. We need Safe Sidewalks City Wide for all residents. That means removal or repair of all hazards. Simplest way for city to avoid law suits as well.

Tad
Tad
1 month ago

Don’t hold your breath. The sidewalks have long been filled with hazards and city informed. Nothing happens. They have great insurance and legal departments. Of course no one will go through a claim or lawsuit but just deal with the injuries.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tad
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