On January 21, 2017, Virtual march helped people with disabilities join the Women’s March on Washington. This online march was put together by a small ad-hoc group of writers and organizers including Sonya Huber, Sarah Einstein, Andrea Scarpino, and others. For that purpose, the special website was created. Today we are recollecting the most interesting stories, grok why and how to start your own Disability March. 

That Saturday, one of the largest social justice movements of this decade – the Women’s March on Washington took place in Washington D.C. to address the rights of women, minorities, the LGBTQ community, people living with disabilities and more. While it’s important that people with disabilities are included in all aspects of the political process, rallies and marches often lack accessibility – prohibiting those living with disabilities, be it a physical disability or invisible illness, from attending.

 

What’s Disability March?

The Disability March was created for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses who could not actually march in Saturday’s main event. People submitted their names and motivations for protesting against the new administration. Today the platform is a digital archive in time for the global protests. They began posting on December 21 with their first marcher, Karrie Higgins. Their first major contingent marched Jan. 20. As of 7 pm on Jan. 21, there were 1,654 entries published, and thousands more the team could not process. By Jan. 29, The DisabilitiesMarch had posted the final total of 3,014 marchers.

How Does It Work?

The website is still evolving in response to marchers’ needs. The team posts news of the upcoming event, where activists with disabilities might want to be involved. For example, one month later, they’ve posted the Action for Feb. 2017: Save Medicaid and ACA! sheet with the instruction of how to become an advocate and how to address and explain to the government why the ACA and Medicaid have been important to your well-being or that of your disabled or senior family members.

Despite The DisabilityMarch is not even an organization, so it can not permanently and fully supervise such activity, it’s already a legendary e-library of stories, useful information (like lists of Organisations for activists and volunteers) and a great inspirator.

Why Is It Important?

As I began reading posts on several social media platforms about making plans for the march, I began feeling invisible. When I thought about it I realized, once again, something was missing, – wrote an activist Cathy Chester in her article about Women’s March in Washinton in her blog on The Mighty.

What do you need to do aDisability Contingent online:

  • A Blog
  • 20-30 volunteers
  • Or you can create a self-hosted site that allows you to accept entries via a form that automates the process (that we’ll finally much easier, especially if you expect lots of people to post).

The DisabilityMarch was created because it was indispensable to give people with disabilities a chance to state their rights for medical care, but in fact, such a platform should be a part of every protest, shouldn’t it? People with disabilities are much more than just disabled. In my life I am or have been, a/n academic, administrative assistant, babysitter, baker, biologist, cancer survivor, cook, daughter, dishwasher, editor, friend, niece, patient, photographer, poet, teacher, tutor, veterinary assistant, volunteer, welder, wife.I’m glad to pay forward all the help I have received over the years, and participating in my community gives me a sense of purpose, – writes an activist Heidi Lasher-Oakes. 

Next time starting a March, think about people who can not actually march but have the same spirit as you do. They want to make sure their voices are heard.

 

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