Understanding Disabilities and the Intersection of Race in Society/Community (Session 3E)
Main Topic: Flourishing, Well-being, and Social-Emotional Learning
Session Type: Talk Story
2020 brought many hidden realities to our attention worldwide:
- the pandemic with over a million deaths
- an awakening to the disparities in healthcare for persons of color, disabilities, low income and the elderly,
- the murder of George Floyd by police went viral, shinning a light on modern day “lynching” of African Americans by those hired to “Serve and Protect” in the United States as well as other countries.
MassADAPT’s presentation in 2021 will focus on these major issues and how we can build a bridge of understanding that we are all a part of one race, the HUMAN RACE, bringing back empathy and respect of your fellow mankind. Thus, striving to empower people with disabilities, encourages them to be self-advocates by raising the public’s awareness of their life experiences. We will be addressing the fact that most of the individuals “Lynched” in the United States by police have had some type of disability, allowing further discrimination against innocent people of color.
In addition, we also seek to address the impact of intersectionality in our activities by recognizing that racism and other forms of oppression exist within the disability community as well as in the broader society. Thus, we acknowledge that the struggles against all of these forms of oppression are linked. Furthermore, the problems MassADAPT works to solve, including the affordable housing crisis and the imprisonment of people with disabilities in nursing homes, disproportionately impact low-income people and people of color. These and other disadvantaged groups often do not have the financial resources, family support, and ability to navigate bureaucracies that often come with racial and class privilege. All of our work, as described above, is uniquely dedicated to strengthening the position of people with disabilities in our society. However, disability does not discriminate. It crosses all racial, ethnic, religious, and social groups. Since disability touches every community, the work we do is also unique in its capacity to have a positive impact on many other marginalized groups.
We are still developing the actual presentation and will have it structured for the time slot allocated. Note: MassADAPT is also developing a Disability Education Program and a series of lectures on these topics to be given at Universities, Colleges and High Schools in Massachusetts.
- Gain a better understanding that persons with disabilities (PWDs) are just like everyone else except a PWD may need to do things differently but with the same goal of living and working in the world..
- Become aware that PWDs in different cultures want, need, and have the right to be included in all aspects of life.
- Predictably, just as there are societal prejudices against PWDs, there are also prejudices amongst PWDs across the different disabilities and their intersections with race and culture.
- Learn that no matter what your disability/ability may be, your and all PWD’s opinions, thoughts, and suggestions matter and should be included within your organization, educational scenario, and community’s policies and projects.
- Discuss ways to build bridges of empathy and respect towards all people, disabled or able-bodied, with the goal of total inclusion.
Keywords: Disability, Race, Intersection
Ms. Rhoda GibsonMassADAPT - Co-Founder
Rhoda Gibson, a Co-Founder of MassADAPT, the Massachusetts chapter of National ADAPT. The Massachusetts chapter started in 2013. MassADAPT is working on both state and national priorities, including advocating for progressive changes in health care, housing and transportation. Rhoda is driven by her passion and is outraged by how persons with disabilities are treated Through MassADAPT, Rhoda is committed to developing a “Disability Educational Series” to promote understanding and tolerance of all disabilities and hopefully take the program nationwide.
Dr. Harriotte Hurie Ranvig
Harriotte Hurie Ranvig has been blind since age 14. A mother, a grandmother, a musician, a Ph. D. in ethnomusicology and North Indian vocal music, and a fluent speaker of Hindi and German, she is a social activist with National ADAPT and her local chapter, MassADAPT, which she co-founded with Rhoda Gibson in 2013. Her own disability and her experience working with multiply-disabled children inform her lifelong choices of disability advocacy and social action in parallel with her professional music teaching and performance life. She seeks to uncover the meanings and social conflicts arising from our different disabilities, cultures, and race.