Friday, March 15, 2013

Where Advocacy Falls Short

I have been posting articles from public sources highlighting the continued and URGENT need for disability rights advocacy.  Unfortunately,  a group effort is not always possible, especially for the  minority populations.
An African American woman was recently told by the Pennsylvania Disability Rights Network  that her case was being rejected because she was black!   It has been my experience that lack of appropriate licensing, broad based professional experience, and exposure to best practices among professional colleagues limit the acquiring of levels of expertise required to deliver appropriate services.   Too often advocacy is inappropriately seen as asking for  favors or “preferential treatment.”  This biased view has been recently articulated to me by several transit administrators who believe offering favors is an acceptable substitute for adhering to federal statutes.   I encourage those with disabilities  make a it clear that that consistent adherence to what the law provides is much more acceptable than  ”favors”.  I have learned that they are actually covert manipulations  and a price of ignoring fair treatment is expected.  KNOW YOUR RIGHTS and respectfully request compliance with the law.  This is especially important for those of us with socially stigmatized disabilities.   Many have not had the experience of growing up feeling comfortable in public.  I hope you will be encouraged by my example.  I will answer any questions in response to this post
I conclude this post by recommending that a journal be kept of specific violations or acts of discrimination.  Just write down or tell some one date, time and what happened.  It makes a difference should you decide to file a formal complaint.  I hope to live in a country where this is not necessary,  however, we're not there yet!

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